Dry Fruit for Storing
Edited by Graeme, Eng
Fruit is nutritious food, and very good for snacks, but sometimes it's hard to keep fresh fruit on hand. That's where a preservation process such as drying comes in handy, making it possible to keep the dried fruit for a long period of time. Dried fruits are a great source of energy due to the fact that drying concentrates the sugars in the fruit.
Fruit is easy to dry when compared to vegetables because the moisture in fruit evaporates more easily. Some of the best fruits to dry are apples, cherries, apricots, berries, pears and peaches. However, there are many other types of fruit that can also be dried and saved to eat later. In the process of drying and removing the moisture from the fruit, some of the vitamin A and C can be destroyed, but if exposed to sulfur, the vitamin destruction can be lessened. Dried fruit does provide a rich source of iron and riboflavin. While dried fruit is not as good for you as fresh or frozen fruit, it can still be a good source of nutrients.
Preparing the fruit
For drying, the fruit must be ripe and unblemished. First of all wash the fruit, peel (if required, such as oranges), take out seeds or pips and cut it into equal-sized pieces. It should then be cooked either by steaming or boiling it for a few minutes. The cooked fruit should then be put into an ice/cold water bath for a minute or so to stop the cooking process. After that, remove the fruit from the ice/cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
- 1The next step - mix one cup of water with one box of powdered pectin. In a pan, bring this mixture to a boil and add one half cup sugar along with another cup cold water. After the sugar dissolves, remove from heat.Advertisement
- 2Lay the cooked fruit onto a lipped baking tray and pour over the sugar liquid, leave for approx. 5 minutes, pour liquid off and pat fruit pieces dry with paper towels. This sugar liquid is good for berries and apples.Advertisement
- 3Alternatively, mix 1 cup of sugar and 3 cups of water, bring to a boil, then add 1 cup runny honey. This mixture is good for bananas, peaches and pineapples. Another mixture that can be used for any type of fruit is two cups of water mixed with two tablespoons of crushed up vitamin C tablets or ascorbic acid. As with the sugar liquid, lay the cooked fruit onto a lipped baking tray and pour over the honey or vitamin C liquid, leave for approx. 5 minutes, pour liquid off and pat fruit pieces dry with paper towels.
Drying the Fruit
- 1You don't need a dehydrator or other fancy equipment to dry the fruit. Once soaked in the sugar, honey or vitamin C liquid, lay the fruit onto a mesh frame, cover with netting or cheesecloth, and put it in the sun for four or five days. Bring it in a night. Be sure to turn the fruit from time to time so it dries evenly. This works best in warm climates where it's not too humid.Advertisement
- 2You can also dry the fruit in the oven by preheating your oven to 145 degrees, then turning it off. Put cheesecloth on the racks, and put the fruit on the cheesecloth covered racks for between four and twelve hours or until it dries completely. Keep oven door open.
- 3A convection oven that has temperature control starting at 120°F, also works well especially if the atmosphere in your area is too cold and/or too damp to dry the fruit outside in the sun.
- 4During the drying process, the fruit needs to be moved around from time to time since the heat in the oven may not be uniform. The thinner the pieces of fruit are, the faster they will dry. It's also better if the pieces are uniform in size and shape.
Storing the dried fruit
- 1Drying is a great way to preserve fruit and to make delicious, nutritious snacks. Plus, it's easy and takes very little space to keep it on hand.
Essential conditions for drying
- 1When drying fruit, it's critical to keep your work area clean and sanitary. Use only ripe fruit without blemishes as over-ripe or damaged fruit won't dry well and could spoil more easily. Dried fruit may taste different from fresh fruit, but it is still a good choice for tasty snacks.
- 2If the dried fruit is to be stored for a long time, it should be pasteurized to destroy any possible pathogens. This can be done by freezing the dried fruit at 0°F, for a few days or by heating it to 175°F in an oven for about 15 minutes. Ensure safe and sanitary conditions while drying the fruit so that the resulting product will be free of any contamination.
- 3By making your own dried fruits you will have a number of choices for creating tasty snacks that you and your family can enjoy any time of year, not just when your favorite fruit is in season. Drying is a proven preservation method that has been used for thousands of years and with just a little effort, you too, can make and enjoy easy, delicious dried fruit.