Enjoy Homemade Dried Fruit
A few weeks ago we bought a new toy, the dehydrator. I have to admit, I took some convincing. However, after just one use I was sold! Dehydrators are pretty cheap! We bought ours through Amazon (where else?) and haven't had any issues with it.
So who should get a dehydrator? Anyone that enjoys dried fruit and veggies, duh! I have only recently discovered my love for dried fruit. Growing up I always found them a little too strange for me. They also tend to have more concentrated flavors that my young taste buds weren't into. However, that has thankfully changed.
My true love will always be with prunes, but I have branched out to others such as apricots, cherries, bananas, strawberries, and apples. Dried fruit is natures candy. They are as addictive as candy too. I haven't tried drying plums or apricots yet, but I did attempt making what I call banana and strawberries chips, along with dried apples.
A funny story about the apples. Before making the dried fruit, the boyfriend wanted to try drying hot peppers and then grinding them to use as a spice. I am not really into the spicy stuff, but still found the idea cool. Warning - the room you place the dehydrator in will fill with the aroma of whatever you are drying. If you are wondering, yes spicy peppers do create a spicy aroma that will tickle your throat ever so slightly (!!).
Anyways, he cleaned the trays afterward and a few days later I made the dried apples. I tasted a few during the process and they were delicious of course. Well, after they were all done (they take about 10 hours) I popped one in my mouth and discovered that I had just made spicy dried apples. After the initial shock of my mouth filling with spicy flavors, I actually found the combination pretty good! It also helps slow you down from eating all of them at once so that's a bonus.
Moral of the story - clean your trays extra well after drying something spicy and if you don't have a room with a door that you can shut the dehydrator in, you might want to avoid drying any spicy veggies. :)
It is safe to say that I am excited to try out a variety of different fruits and vegetables in the dehydrator. For the dried fruit, I snack on them as they are, add them to smoothies, and mix them in granola or cereal. They make great travel snacks, keep much longer than regular fruit, and give you bragging rights.
My next step is trying out some veggies. I'm thinking of cherry tomatoes and green beans, but any other veggies you would like for me to try?? I welcome suggestions in the comments below!
1 banana, peeled
1 apple, peeled
handful of strawberries
Thinly slice the fruit (about 1/4 inch slices).
Lay the slices on the trays and set the temperature to 135 degrees F. Each fruit requires different length of time so set timer for each fruit.
Strawberries: 8-10 hrs, longer if you want them crispy
Bananas: 10-12 hrs
Apples: 8-10 hrs
- The times range widely but I found the longer the fruit is in there, the better, especially for the bananas.
- To preserve the color of banana and apple slices, mix an equal amount of water with lemon juice and dip the sliced fruit into the liquid. Drain the liquid and then place the fruit on the trays.
That's it, folks! The longest part is peeling and slicing the fruit, minus the waiting time obviously. If you are a dried fruit lover I recommend this purchase! It's easy, fun, and makes you feel proud of yourself. Also - these could make great little gifts for family & friends!
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