Dehydrating fruit is simply the process of removing the excess water content of fruits. This is done by means of an appliance called food dehydrator. Virtually every fruit you can think of can be dehydrated.
It is important to get a healthy and nourishing fruit output after dehydration. The dehydrated fruit should compare favorably to the fresh one. For this to be, it must be dehydrated the right way. This is important so that the nutritional value of the fruit is not compromised in the course of wanting to preserve it.
Dehydrating fruit is now made easier by the use of appliances such as dehydrators. It makes it easy to have finished products that compares with these ..
Benefits of dehydrating fruit
Dehydrating fruit has a number of benefits. These include:
Home dehydrated fruits are cheaper
Fruits dried at home are often times by far cheaper than their equivalent counterpart in the Health Food Store. This facts hold even after adding the costs of all the variables. The fruits dehydrated at home are usually considerably cheaper than their comparable quality and quantity in the market. Dehydrating fruit at home is therefore economical.
The quality of the well dehydrated fruits at home is usually higher than those from the shops and health stores. See examples of ..
You have full control over the additives in the fruit you dehydrated at your home. Most commercially dehydrated fruits may most likely contain preservatives as well as taste improvers. Zero additives can only be guaranteed by the one you dried yourself.
If fruits are well dehydrated, the nutritional value of the dehydrated fruit is not inferior to that of the fresh one. This is because the low temperature at which the fruit is dehydrated is not harmful to the enzymes in the fruit. Therefore, it is still very healthy for people desiring to eat only raw healthy food.
Fruits are invaluable. They play a big role in the overall well being of an individual.
Fruits are indispensable part of a healthy diet. They are known to have low calories. They also have very low fat and sodium. They have almost zero cholesterol.
Fruits play a vital role in keeping the body healthy. They have many health benefits.
Fruits contain many vitamins and nutrients that may reduce risk for many heart related diseases. These include stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, etc.
Fresh fruits can only stay for a very short time before they go bad. By dehydrating them right, they can be preserved for a much longer time.
Taking advantage of seasons
Every fruit has its peak season of availability. The fruits are cheapest at such seasons. One can take advantage of such season to make a bulk purchase and then dehydrate them. One can also exploit or take advantage of seasonal or promotional sales to save big.
Dehydrated fruits are handy. They occupy less space. And are ready to eat snacks.
Well dehydrated fruit often times taste better than their fresh counterparts. This as a result of its lesser water content. This makes for better concentrates of the nutrients of the fruit.
Steps in Dehydrating Fruit
Dehydrating fruit the right way in order to get a healthy finished product is important. This involves a number of steps that are really simple and quite easy to follow. Here are the steps:
- Assemble the required materials
- Clean the fruit
- Slice the fruit (optional)
- Pre- treat the fruits against oxidation (optional)
- Spread the fruits on the dehydrator tray
- Switch on the dehydrator and set temperature and timer
- Watch for dryness
- Unpack the fruit and store appropriately
Step 1: Assemble the required materials
Assemble all the materials you will likely need in the process of dehydrating the
fruit. This will include the following:
The fruit to be dehydrated
Knife or slicer
Step 2: Cleaning
Soak detergent in warm water and use it with a damp cloth to wipe the body of the dehydrator. Also wash the trays well and rinse.
Clean the fruit to be dehydrated and dry using the paper towel. Cleaning may be by washing. It may be by peeling off the skin.
Step 3: Slicing
While it is possible to dry some fruits whole, it is preferable to slice others. This reduces the time it will take to dehydrate well. Cutting should be as uniform as possible to avoid the situation where some will be dried and some others will not.
Pre- treatment (optinal)
When the flesh of most fresh fruits are cut and exposed to air, a chemical reaction called oxidation takes place. This reaction leads to discoloration of the fruit which progresses with the drying process.
If you don’t mind any color change, you may skip this step to the next one, otherwise here is a few things to do to reduce that.
Food-grade sodium bisulfite can be used to reduce oxidation and preserve the natural colors of fruits.
The food-grade sodium bisulphate is readily available in food shops and also cheap.
For fruits, mix one tablespoons of Sodium Bisulfite in 1-gallon of water.
Soak the fruits slices for 5 minutes and then rinse.
Alternatively, ascorbic acid or vitamin C can be used. This is much more expensive but safer.
Two tablespoons of powdered ascorbic acid is dissolved in a quart of water before pouring in the sliced fruits. Leave for about 2 minutes before draining.
Oxidation can also be reduced by water and steam blanching. Though this has its drawback, it is the way to go if you choose to avoid chemicals completely.
In the water blanching method, sufficient water that will cover the fruit is made to boil. It is brought down to cool a little. The fruit is then poured into the water, covered and allowed to stay in the pot for about 2 – 4 minutes depending on the hardness or otherwise of the fruit. The water is drained and the fruit poured into cold water for about 2 minutes . The water is then drained. Dry off moisture with paper towel.
Steam blanching is quite similar to water blanching. The difference is that steam is used instead of water. Here steamer passes steam through the fruit for between 4 to 6 minutes before the fruit is poured into cold water to cool.
Step 5: Spread the fruit on the tray
Clean off moisture from the fruit and spread the fruits lightly on the tray. A single layer spray will normally produce better and uniform drying. Overlapping of the fruits should be avoided. Pack trays back into the dehydrator.
Step 6: Switch on the dehydrator
Switch on the dehydrator and set the thermostat. Also set the timer. The optimum temperature for drying of fruits is 135 degrees Fahrenheit or 57 degrees Celsius.
The time of drying will vary from one fruit to another. Even similar fruits may take different times to dry.
Among the fastest drying fruits are apples, bananas and nectarines. Pears, and watermelon are also among the fast drying fruits. The drying times for these fruits lie between 8 to 16 hours.
The slower to dry are grapes, figs and apricots. These ones take between 22 to 30 hours to dry.
Since some fruits take about a day to dry, buying a dehydrator, buying a dehydrator with a timer is a better option.
Dehydrating fruit acceptably calls for patience. This is necessary to avoid the temptation to set the temperature of the dehydrator above the recommended temperature. The entire exercise will be a wasted one if the fruit comes out unsatisfactorily.
Watch or check for dryness
Dehydrating fruit properly demands that it should neither over dry nor under dry. Therefore it is a good practice to start checking for dryness early enough. Different fruits have different signs of dryness.
Sliced apples when appropriately dried are firm and leathery. On the other hand, carrots are brittle. Grapes that are well dried will be soft and pliable.
After that the fruit is well dried, allow it to cool to room temperature. Then pack them into the containers for storage. Such containers may be plastic food bags such as zip lock bags. Glass containers are also very good for storing dehydrated fruits . Examples of . are readily available. Your dehydrated fruit should compare well with these ..
There you have it! A complete guide on dehydrating fruit!
Click on any of the fruits listed below for details on how to dehydrate it.