Dehydrating Fruits like: Apples, Apricots, Strawberries and more. Drying gives you healthy easy to store snacks. Peaches and Pears are the best!!
I'm a long time canner but I must admit.... dehydrating food does have some advantages.
Dehydrated food in small containers has it all over home canned food as far as space saving. In addition, dehydrating fruit makes quick easy snacks to take along on outings. Throw them in a zip lock baggie and you are good to go.
Basic steps to dehydrating Fruit:
Some fruits like apples, peaches, pears, even apricots will dry with a nicer color if you pre-treat the fruit before drying. The easiest way to do this is to dip in a lemon juice water mixture.
A good ratio is 1 cup lemon or lime juice to 1 quart water. This is not an exact requirement. I've seen some people use full strength lemon juice or half and half too. It is just a personal preference as to how much you use. You don't want to dilute the lemon juice too much though or it won't prevent that browning. These fruits may still turn some brown... but it will be less than not pretreating.
Slice fruits like apples or pears directly into a pretreatment. Let soak for 5 minutes, drain and lay out on trays.
Fruits like peaches and apricots can be cut in half, pitted, then "turned inside out". Press the skin sides in so that the fruit side presses out and the pulp is more exposed to the air flow.
The temperature you dehydrate fruits is usually between 125-135 degrees. I personally like to have a lower temp so I use about 125 degrees. You can also get the drying process kickstarted by using the higher temperature for an hour or two, then lowering to a gentler temperature to finish up. Don't start out too high though. YOu can end up with case hardening. THis is when the outside of the fruit dries very quickly and ends up sealing off the interior. This will cause the drying time to be even more.
Cherries is one fruit that it is beneficial to dry at a higher temperature, then lowering the temperature to finish up. They take a loooooong time to dry.
Below are some approximate times for dehydrating food in a dehydrator. Actual Drying time will vary according to the size of pieces, temperatures and even humidity. You'll notice that these are very general guidelines.
|Type of Food||How to Prepare||Approximate Drying Time||Notes|
|How to dry Apples||Slice apples 1/4 inch. Pre-treat. Peeling is optional.||6 - 10 hours at 125 degrees||Apples can be sprinkled with cinnamon sugar for a fun snack.|
|Drying Apricots||Cut in half, pit and press inside out.||6-12 hours at 135 degrees.||Apricots should be ripe and somewhat soft. Not green.|
|Drying Strawberries||Wash remove cores. Slice 1/4 inch, lay out on trays.||4-6 hours at 125 degrees.||Strawberries are probably the easiest and quickest fruit to dry.|
|How to Dry Cherries||Cut in half, pit, and lay out on trays||Dry at 165 for 2-3 hours, then at 135 until leathery. Texture will resemble a raisin.||Cherries take a very long time to dry, I'm not convinced it is economical to do it, but they sure are tasty!|
|How to Dry Peaches and Pears||Pears should be ripe but not soft. Peel, core or pit, and slice into quarters or 6ths. Treat to prevent browning.||6-12 hours at 125 degrees.||Peaches and Pears are my favorite dehydrated fruit.|