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Dried fruits can be called natures candy. The fruits
flavor becomes concentrated and tastes sweeter after drying because the water
has been removed. They can be eaten anytime because theyre portable and
can be added to any food, such as cereals, muffins, breads, etc.
Basic Steps for Preparing
Fruits for Drying
- Select fully ripe fruit in top condition. Blemished or
bruised fruit will not keep as well and may turn a whole tray of drying fruit
bad. Save overripe fruit for making fruit leathers.
- Prepare only as much as you can dry at one time.
- Just before processing, wash the fruit well in cold water
to remove dirt, insects, and insect eggs which are invisible to
the naked eye (but they may hatch during storage).
- Prepare an anti-darkening solution for light-colored
- Peel fruit, if desired. The peel can be left on the fruit,
but it will take longer to dry.
- Leave some small fruits whole, if desired: cherries,
blueberries, cranberries, grapes, figs, and prune plums. Fruit should be pitted,
if necessary, and their skins checked.
Checking is the process of making minute cracks in the skins
of fruits that have a wax-like coating. This process speeds up the drying process
and the fruit is unlikely to case harden.
Steps for checking the skins:
- Gather not more than one pound of berries loosely in
- Hold them in one gallon of briskly boiling water for
- Lift out; dunk in plenty of fresh, cold water to stop
any further cooking action. The skins should crack with the shock of the
- Shake off water and continue drying.
- Cut larger fruit into thin, even slices for the fastest
drying and treat with anti-darkening agent to ensure a better product. The
bigger the piece of fruit, the longer it will take to dry. Keep all pieces
that will be dried together about the same size so they will dry at the same
Certain fruits, such as peaches, nectarines, pears,
plums, and apricots can be dried as halves; to shorten drying time, flatten
the halves (pop the backs) by pressing in the rounded side
with your thumb to expose more surface. Dry the fruit skin side down.
- Blanch fruits in steam or boiling water after they are
sliced for drying.
Basic Steps for Drying
- Preheat oven to 160°F.
- Spray a baking tray or pan that fruit will be dried on
with non-stick pan coating spray.
- Load tray; place fruit on the tray in a single layer.
- Dry fruit for 2 hours at 160°F. Then, turn each piece
of fruit over gently with a metal spatula. Continue drying 6 more hours at
140°F. If using more than one tray, alternate tray placement in the oven
every one or two hours to allow for more even heating.
- Use the Guide for Drying Fruit to determine approximate
drying times. Fruits are soft, pliable, and not sticky when dry. Banana and
apple chips can be dried until they are crisp, if desired.
- Cool fruit completely; then condition.
- Package immediately in glass jars, tins, or plastic containers
with tight fitting lids.
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University, West Lafayette, Indiana, 47907. All Rights Reserved.