Drying fruit is not difficult, and is a great way to save money on your food bills. Here’s how to dehydrate fruit easily without buying a lot of extra equipment.
Why is it that fresh fruits and veggies seem to cost more and spoil sooner than other foods? If you want to live healthier, it’s important that you have plenty of fruits in your diet. One way to be sure fruits won’t spoil too quickly is to dry them. Dried fruits can serve as a healthy alternative to candy, as the sweetness of the fruit is concentrated when it is dried (kids love dried fruit!).
You don’t need to buy any fancy equipment to start drying fruit. Investing in a few sealing jars is recommended so that storing the fruit will be easier, but it isn’t a necessity. You can buy old canning jars at thrift stores or yard sales to save on buying your sealing jars. Glass storage is recommended over plastic.
1. To start, figure out what fruits you want to dry and gather them. Most any fruits make good choices. Some of the more common ones are: pineapples, apples, plums, grapes, apricots, and tomatoes (yes they are a fruit!). If you want to dry lemons, limes, or other citrus fruits, you will be drying the peels and not the fruit itself.
2. Dry all of your fruit and equipment before you begin. If you plan to use an oven or dry your fruits in the outside air, you will need to get some drying racks. Dollar Tree carries small drying racks in two packs for a $1.
3. Slice all of your fruit into small pieces. Apples need to be cored and peeled before slicing. Tomatoes can be cut into slices or quarters and salted before drying. Grapes and plums are okay as is because the skin doesn’t affect their taste.
4. Dry your fruit in the oven or outside air. If using the oven, place it on its lowest setting, leave the door ajar, and let your fruit sit in there on the drying rack for about 24 hours. This method will vary slightly depending on the type of fruit you are drying. Some pieces may be done before others, so rotating the trays in the oven gives you a chance to remove any fruit that is already dried and replace with another.
5. As an alternative, you can dry fruit in your microwave. If you prefer to use the microwave to dry your fruit, place small batches in the microwave on the turntable tray. Make sure your pieces are evenly spaced to allow for air circulation while drying. Set the microwave to the defrost setting in order to dry the fruit. It will take about thirty to forty-five minutes. Check after thirty minutes and gradually add time as needed. I do not recommend that tomatoes be dried in the microwave, because they should be dried at approximately 120 degrees for about twenty-four hours.
6. Enjoy your newly dehydrated yummy goodness. You can eat dried fruit as soon as it is dried or you can save some for later. If storing for later, let the fruit cool before placing in sealing jars or plastic bags. Store dried fruits in a cool dark place for up to two weeks (if these tasty morsels even last that long!).
Dried fruit has a multitude of uses. It can be eaten as is or as a flavorful addition to ice cream, salads, pizzas, yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, smoothies and more. Drying your fruits will save you money because it makes the fruit last longer than normal, avoids spoilage and gives you a reason to eat more of it.
What types of fruits do you like to dry? Do you have any tips for those that are new to dehydrating fruit? You can leave a comment by clicking here.