Making dehydrated fruit is one of the absolute easiest things to do, and it’s fun for everyone – from kids to adults like myself. Dried fruit is also a great snack and a top ingredient in most vegan energy bars. You can also use dehydrated fruits to put in homemade granola or on top of cooked oatmeal.
Here’s what you need to get started:
1. A Dehydrator
Technically, you can use your oven to dehydrate fruit, but using a dehydrator will save you so much time and make your fruits healthier since an oven depletes them of their natural enzymes. You can buy an expensive dehydrator if you want to make a variety of recipes such as pizza crust, kale chips, fruit and veggie chips, and even vegan jerky. Or, if you’re just looking to try out using a dehydrator, purchase a mid-level priced dehydrator, which all start around $30-$35. Pricier ones that are popular in the raw food world can run anywhere from $75-$250 so if you’re really into raw food, definitely splurge and buy one with at least six to eight trays.
If for some reason you don’t have a dehydrator or don’t want to buy one, you can use your oven and turn it to the lowest temperature possible. Just remember you’ll need to experiment with different drying times if you go this route to prevent burning or overcooking them.
2. Organic Fruit
It’s important to eat all organic foods as much as possible, but you should especially buy organic fruit if you’re going through the trouble of dehydrating it. Why waste time drying fruits coated in pesticides when you can buy the best fruit instead? Not to mention, organic fruits will taste better, even when dehydrated. You can also buy from a farmer’s market and purchase fruits when they’re in season to save even more money.
3. Wash and Dry Your Fruit
Since you’re going to be letting your fruits dehydrate for hours at a time, they need to be cleaned well and dried well to prevent them from spoiling or molding. All you need to do is prepare a mixture of one part vinegar to six parts water, then give your fruits a good wash, rinse them, and then dry them well. This will ensure your fruits are free from bacteria and they’ll dehydrate more efficiently.
4. Slice Them Evenly
Remember that you want your fruits to dry evenly, at the same times. If some slices of fruit are thicker than others, it’s going to make the drying process much more difficult since you’ll have to consistently check all of them to see which ones are done. To make things easy, cut your fruits in thin slices no bigger than 1/4 inch thick to 1/2 inch thick and make sure they’re somewhat all the same size.
5. Space Them Out Evenly
Once they’re sliced and ready to go, just lay your fruits on the dehydrator sheets and space them out evenly. They won’t dry well if they’re overlapping or stacked on top of one another.
6. Dry for the Recommended Times
Most all dehydrators come with a guide for different fruits and vegetables so be sure to use the guide to see how long you need to dehydrate the type of fruit you’re using. Most take anywhere from 6-8 hours, but some may take up to 12.
7. Use Food Safety
You’re going to want your dehydrated fruits to be completely dried, not mushy in the middle since they’ll spoil easier and can cause them to develop dangerous bacteria. Be sure they’re completely dry and store them in a tight, sealed container that prevents air from seeping in so they’ll keep as long as possible. You can technically store them in the fridge, but be sure to eat them within a week if you do.
If you have a yummy recipe to share for dehydrated fruit, feel free to share it. Do you make dehydrated fruit?
Image Source: Phoebe/Flickr
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