Dried fruit makes an excellent addition to your summer salads. They are also perfect in desserts and baked goods and breakfast favorites like pancakes and waffles. Have you tried making dried fruit at home? It's a fairly easy process that can be accomlished without any fancy equipment.
A food is properly dehydrated when 95% of its water content has been removed. This extends the shelf life of the fruit and also concentrates its flavor. Let's take a look at the different methods we can use to make dried fruits and vegetables at home.
What are the foods that can be dried?
When it comes to fruits that can be dehydrated the list is long and varied. Apricots, strawberries, apples, pineapples, blackberries, raspberries, pineapples, figs, cherries, plums, pears, bananas, blackberries, oranges, persimmons, mangos, bananas, and more.
Among the many vegetables that may be dried are tomatoes, zucchini, leeks, bell peppers, kale and mushrooms. Let's not forget the many aromatic herbs that are wonderful dried such as sage, oregano, bay leaves, basil, rosemary, parsley, thyme and chives.
How To Get Started
In general, almost all varieties of fruit and vegetables can be dried. It is important that the chosen ingredient not exceed the right degree of ripeness because it won't dry properly. Before getting started you should wash the fruit or vegetable in water with a touch of lemon juice and dry thoroughly. This will shorten the drying time.
Can You Dry Fruit in the Oven? Yes!
An excellent way to dehydrate fruit is to dry it in the oven. This is an easy method - albeit a long one - but the results are well worth the wait. All you need is an oven at a constant temperature between 40 ° to 60 °C (100 - 140 F ) in ventilated mode (if your oven is a bit 'vintage', leave the door ajar and you will have the same result).
Start by cutting the previously pitted fruit into very thin slices. Then arrange the slices of fruit without overlapping them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Leave in the oven for 4 to 12 hours, depending on the percentage of water contained in the fruit.
Take a look at this video for more tips on how to dry fruit in the oven:
Some vegetables such as kale don't require a long time in the oven. A quick 15-minute baking time is enough to ensure crispy leaves. Learn how to make kale chips.
How To Dry Fruit in A Dehydrator
Dehydrated fruits and vegetables are a staple of vegan diets around the world, including the cuisine of renown Danish chef René Redzepi. Naturally, chefs have access to high-tech dehydrating machines but there are many others available for household use (like the one pictured above).
Each food dehydrator is unique so you'll need to consult the owner's manual. Keep in mind that the drying process is still a long one (sometimes up to 18 hours) but, unlike using the oven, a food dehydrator won't warm up your home.
How To Dry Fruit in the Microwave
Perhaps the easiest (and cheapest) way to dry fruit: the microwave is your secret weapon for having dried fruit available year round. How can you pull it off? Place a sheet of baking paper inside the microwave. Then arrange the slices of fruit, remembering to not overlap any pieces. Set the cooking time to one minute at most, then continue cooking at 30-second intervals until the fruit is completely dehydrated. Voila! Instant homemade dried fruits at your disposal.