How to Make Dried Fruit

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18-12-2020, 18:40
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Dried fruit is a good source of nutrients and is filled with vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in natural sugar. You can dry a wide variety of fruits, including grapes (sultanas, currants and raisins), apples (sliced), apricots, pears, peaches, figs, dates, plums (prunes) and bananas. Dried fruit is a great way to keep summer's harvest feeding you through the winter season and it won't take long for you to learn the art of drying fruit.

Selecting Fruits for Drying

  1. Select fruits that are suitable for drying. Not all fruits will dry well, so focus only on the ones known to produce excellent results when dried. These include:
    • Vine fruits such as grapes. Note that grapes produce different types of dried fruits: Zante currants come from from a tiny, seedless black grape; sultanas come from a sweet, seedless green/white grape; and raisins come from large, sweet grapes such as muscat.
    • Tree fruits such as stone fruit (apricots, peaches, plums, nectarines), mangoes, bananas, apples, figs, dates and pears.
  2. Choose ripe fruit. Make sure that the fruit you use is mature, firm, and ripe. Fruit that is damaged, unripe, or overripe will lack nutritional value, won't dry as well, and won't taste as good since the sugars aren't at their peak stage of development.

Preparing Fruits for Drying

  1. Wash the fruit. Rinse the fruit under cool, running water, scrubbing it gently with your fingers to remove any visible dirt or debris. Pat the fruit dry with a clean paper towel when finished.
    • For small vine fruits, like berries or grapes, you could place the fruit in a colander and rinse it that way.
  2. Cut larger fruit into into very thin slices. Most tree and bush fruits need to be cut into slices roughly ⁄8 to ⁄4 inch (0.3 to 0.6 cm) thin, but many small vine fruits (berries and grapes) can be left whole.
    • Grapes or berries with inner seeds might need be sliced in halves and de-seeded.
    • You should also trim away any stems or leaves at this time.
  3. Lay fruit on a parchment covered cooking sheet. The fruit slices should be in an even, single layer and should not touch each other.
    • If using a dehydrator, place the fruit on a dehydrator tray instead of using a parchment-lined cooking sheet.
    • If rack drying outdoors, place the fruit on your drying rack instead of using a cooking sheet.

Drying the Fruits

  1. Place tray of fruit in oven. Preheat the oven to its lowest setting (150-200 degrees F / 50 degrees C). You need only to dry the fruit, not to cook it. After the oven is fully preheated, place the cooking sheet of fruit inside.
  2. Dry for 4 to 8 hours. Depending on the type of fruit, the exact oven temperature, and the thickness of the slices, fruit can take anywhere from 4 to 8 hours to dry. Keep an eye on the fruit to make sure that it shrivels up without burning.
    • The drying process will take several hours by necessity; do not try to increase heat to speed up drying process, since doing so will burn the fruit and make it inedible.
  3. Remove from oven when fruit is sufficiently dehydrated. Fruit should be chewy, not crunchy or squishy.
  4. Enjoy now or store for later.

Storing and Using the Dried Fruits

  1. Store in an airtight container in a cool place. Stored in this manner, most dried fruits will last from 9 to 12 months. Packaged dried fruits should be consumed faster once opened, and may need to be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed bag, to prevent deterioration. This is especially so if the original dried fruits are still somewhat moist rather than completely dehydrated.
  2. Use dried fruits for cooking, baking and eating as they are. Some dried fruits can be rehydrated by stewing or soaking in warm water. This is typically done for such dried fruits as apples, apricots, peaches, prunes and pears. Dried mangoes and pawpaw can be rehydrated by leaving in cold water for an hour before using. Other dried fruits can be revived by soaking in alcohol, such as sultanas, currants and raisins, before using in traditional recipes such as dried fruit cake or pudding.

Tips

  • Before drying sliced apples or pears, soak them in acidic juice such as pineapple or lemon to keep the fruit from turning brown as it dries.
  • Commercial dehydrators are also available to purchase. Most will include simple instructions.
  • Sliced fruit can also be threaded on a clean cotton string and hung to dry in the sun. Knot thread between slices to keep slices separate. Tie fruit-filled thread horizontally between two upright posts or other convenient objects.
  • Peel and core the fruit (primarily apples) into chains.Hang them outside with a string through the core center.Let mother nature dry the fruit for a week or two.

Warnings

  • Fruit hung to dry may need protection from insects or other contaminants.

Things You'll Need

  • Firm fruit
  • Knife or slicer
  • Oven
  • Cooking Sheet
  • Baker's parchment
  • (sugar)
  • a cutting board
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