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How to Dehydrate Fruits

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How to Dehydrate Fruit

Dried fruits are nutritious and make for an easy and portable snack. They can be added to trail mixes, cereals, muffins, breads, and other baked products. Drying fruit intensifies the natural sweetness of the fruit because the moisture is removed.
Select fruits that are at the peak of ripeness. There are many option when it comes to drying fruit and personal preference should be your guide. Fruits can be sliced, halved, or if small left whole; peeled or unpeeled; pretreated or left untreated.
Fruits that are sliced thin and peeled will dry the fastest. Slice fruit uniformly and in pieces about 1/4 inch thick. Fruits left whole, such as blueberries and grapes, should be dipped in boiling water for 30 to 60 sec and then plunged in ice water to crack the skin. This procedure will reduce drying time.

Pretreatment:
Many fruits will darken quickly once they are peeled and/or cut and will continue to darken even after the fruit is dried. There are several pretreatment options to prevent this discoloration.
  • Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) - Mix 2.5 tbsp of powdered ascorbic acid in 1qt cold water. Place cut fruit, such as bananas, peaches, apples, or pears, in mixture and soak for 10 minutes. Remove fruit and dry well before placing on drying trays.
  • Ascorbic acid mixtures - These commercially available products are a combination of ascorbic acid and sugar.
  • Lemon Juice - Mix equal parts lemon juice and cold water. Place cut fruit in solution and soak for 10 minutes. Remove fruit and drain well before placing on drying trays
Determining Dryness :
Remove a few pieces of fruit from each tray and allow to cool to room temperature. Fruits are acceptably dry when they are soft and pliable, but not sticky. Fruit folded in half should not stick together. Apples and bananas can be dried until crisp, if desired.Click on image below to print a handy Fruit Drying Guide.

Storage:
Dried fruits need to be properly packaged to prevent reabsorption of moisture and microbial deterioration. Pack food in clean, dry, airtight containers. Store packaged dried fruit in a dry, cool location away from light. Most dried fruit will be good for 1 year at 60 degrees Fahrenheit or 6 months at 80 degrees Fahrenheit.   


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