Fruit dehydration is probably the oldest technique of preserving fruits and vegetables. Preceding the development of modern technology and food innovation, societies used salt to preserve food, or they simply dried the fruit and veg in the sun. Nowadays – we have the help of a food dehydrator to aid us in the drying of various food types.
Fruit dehydration is very safe preservation technique, since it essentially removes the moisture content from the fruit, so that bacteria and mould are not able to survive on it.
The following are a few simple steps to making your very own dried fruit in your dehydrator.
Firstly – All your fruit must be washed, pitted and sliced before the drying process can begin. Also – Fruits must be sliced to similar sized, so as to ensure uniformity in the drying process. After this has been done, the fruit needs to be pre-treated to prevent darkening or blemishing of the fruit once they’re dried. These pre-treatments entail either blanching of the fruits, or dipping them into a solution of ascorbic acid for five minutes. Before the drying commences, pre-heat the dehydrator to 45 degrees Celsius.
After preparing your fruit – it is time to place them in the dehydrator to start the dehydration process. Place the fruit pieces on drying-racks, but only in a single layer. A variation of fruits can be dried at once, however it is advisable for pungent-smelling fruits to be dried separately. Also make sure that no pieces of fruit overlap, as this might cause that some parts not to dry completely.
After the fruits have been arranged in the dehydrator, the temperature might drop slightly. Reheat the dehydrator back to 45 degrees Celsius.
For the best results, inspect the fruit every 30 minutes. Rotation of the trays might also be necessary to achieve undeviating drying. In some cases – the fruit might even need to be turned. Your dehydrator’s manual should provide you with estimated drying times – but expect the whole process to take anywhere between 6-14 hours.
Once you reach the end of the drying process, check fruits to see if they are completely dry. This can be achieved by simply removing a piece, allowing it to chill and then gently feeling it with your fingers. Alternatively, you can cut the fruit in half and examine the outer edges for moisture. If you note any moisture, the fruit is not sufficiently dried.
Fruits that have been dried in a dehydration appliance need additional processing, prior to storage. They should be loosely arranged into jars, and shaken on a daily basis for approximately a week. This ensures that the remaining moisture is evenly dispersed throughout the dried pieces.
Adding a dehydration appliance to your kitchen arsenal means that you can incorporate more unprocessed nutrients into your daily diet.
- Photo credit: smartphotostock.com
This article was provided by food lover and travel enthusiast, ScribeZA, for top South African Canned Fruit manufacturer.