How to dehydrate fruit correctly is a must know how. This is because of the numerous health and economic benefits associated with fruits.
Improper dehydration damages the nutrients of the fruit. This renders them completely useless. Consequently, it amounts to waste of time and resources.
It is therefore important to note that proper dehydration is different from roasting and cooking. Dehydration of fruit simply involves removing water from the fruit. This enables the fruit to be preserved for a longer period. One must therefore do it with patience.
This being the case, no one should afford to be left behind in knowing how to dehydrate fruit the right way.
Knowing how to dehydrate fruit the right way gives you a quality finished product. This compares favorably with their fresh counterpart. It also helps ensure that most of the vital nutrients of the fruit are retained.
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Let’s proceed to show how to dehydrate fruit the right way.
Easy Steps on How to Dehydrate Fruit
Here are simple steps on how to dehydrate fruit the right way. This is important in order to get a healthy finished product. These easy steps are:
Select the fruits to dehydrate
Prepare the fruits
Load the fruits into the dehydrator and set temperature
Check for dryness
Pack and store the fruits
The details are as given below:
Select the fruits
For good quality dehydration, it is of utmost importance that quality, fresh fruits be chosen from start.
Fruits that have shown signs of decay may not give the best result after the dehydration.
This is in terms of taste.
Prepare the fruits
How the fruit is prepared for dehydration will depend on the type of fruit being prepared. For example, some fruits will require peeling before slicing. On the other hand, some others will just need washing before being sliced. Some types of seeds will require that they removed before the dehydration.
Some fruits will preferably need to be blanched in other to enhance the color of the dried product.
Peeling or washing
For fruits that needed to be peeled, like banana or pineapple, peel them. For those that do not require peeling, start with washing it well. Such may need to be dried using paper towel.
Removing unwanted parts
Some parts of the fruits which will not make for fine and even drying are removed. For example, the core of pear should be removed. For pineapple, the fibrous eyes and core are removed. For orange, remove the seeds. For watermelon, cut off the rind and also remove the seeds.
Only a few fruits like the berries may need to be dried whole. Most others must be cut into near equal sizes. This is necessary for effective and uniform dehydrating. For apples, pears, peaches, pineapples and a number of other fruits, ¼” slices is usually the best practice. For banana, 1/8” slices will give excellent result.
It should be noted that lack of uniformity in the cutting of the fruits will lead to the fruits drying at different times. This is not the best as it will lead to some of the fruit over drying and some under drying.
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This step is optional.
Oxidation of fruits is the process whereby freshly cut fruits change color as they get exposed to air. It is a chemical reaction that marks the beginning of bio degrading of the fruit. This can be minimized by using anti-oxidants.
Anti-oxidizing is the process whereby such fruit oxidation is minimized.
This can be achieved in a number of ways such as dipping and blanching.
There are also a number of ways to do this.
Using sodium metabisulfite is the cheapest and most effective means of anti oxidizing
fruits. A solution of the sodium metabisulfite is made by mixing one and a half of the
Sodium Metabisulfite in a gallon of water. Pour the fruit slices into the solution and
allow to stay for about five minutes before rinsing.
It should be noted that only food grade sodium metabisulfite is the acceptable quality
for fruit dehydration. Also people allergic to sulfur reactions should avoid this
method of anti oxidizing. This is because the sodium metabisulfite in water gives a solution of
Alternatively, the fruit can be dipped in a solution of ascorbic acid or vitamin C.
The solution is prepared by mixing two tablespoon of powdered ascorbic acid or
vitamin C to a quart of water. The fruit is then poured into the solution and mixed
for about two minutes.
This is the second method of pre treating fruits against oxidation.
In this method, the fruit is boiled or steamed for a short time. This is usually about two
minutes or less. This method is better suited for fruits that have protective wax
coating around them. The heating cracks the skin of the fruits and make it easier
Spread the fruits on trays
Using paper towel remove moisture as much as possible. Then spread the fruit on the trays. It is preferable to spread the fruits in such a way that they do not lay one on top of the other. They should be in a single layer.
4.Dehydrating the fruits
Load the trays containing the fruits into the dehydrator.
Set the timer and temperature.
For fruits, the optimum temperature is 135 degrees Fahrenheit or 57 degrees Celsius.
The time will vary, depending on the fruit involved. The fruits drying fast enough, like bananas, will take about 6 to 10 hours. On the other hand, fruits like apricots will take as much as 20 to 28 hours to dehydrate.
It is a good practice to turn the trays midway into the dehydration. The side near the heat source and fan at the start of the dehydration is made to face the opposite side. This is important with most shelf dehydrators.
5. Checking for dryness
Under dried fruits will mold and spoil after a little while. This defeats the purpose of the drying.
Over dried foods will lead to loss of food quality and nutrients.
Therefore, it is better to have the fruits dried to normal and no more. This will involve checking the fruit once in a while after it shows some initial sign of dryness.
Different fruits have different signs of dryness.
For example, sliced apples when properly dried are firm and leathery. Carrots, on the other hand, are brittle. Properly dried grapes will be soft and pliable.
You can also check for proper dryness by cutting a piece of the fruit open and squeezing it. For well dried fruit, no moisture will come to the surface after squeezing it. If moisture or liquid is seen on the surface, then that is an evidence of not having dried enough. Under such circumstance, the dehydration should be continued.
Another way to check if the fruit has dried enough is to pack a small quantity into a transparent food bag. Make it air tight. If there is enough fogging after a few minutes, it implies that the fruits are not dried sufficiently.
6. Package and Storage
When the fruit is properly dried, allow to cool to room temperature.
Remove them from the dehydrator.
Dehydrated fruits can stay preserved for a few weeks without need for special packaging. However, it is a good practice to package the fruits well. This helps to prolong their shelf life and preserve their taste and flavor.
A number of types of packaging materials are available. These include:
Plastic zip-loc bags
Glass jars with tight lids
The fruits are packed into any of the above container types. Placing it into a refrigerator will further increase its shelf life. It will also further enhance the preservation of its flavor.
See some samples of .
How to dehydrate fruit is relatively simple and straight forward process. It is the better way to go for any person that wants to enjoy extra health. Reap from the numerous benefits associated with dehydrating fruits and other food stuff correctly.
Aim for best quality dehydration of fruits. Always resist the temptation to raise the temperature of the dehydrator “just a little more”. This is usually in a bid to save time. But it usually also leads to poor finishing. I have fallen victim a number of times before I finally overcame the temptation.
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Fruitful dehydrating it!