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Dry your own fruit

Oven dried summer fruits- simple & healthy

Dry your own fruit

Dry your own fruit

With all of the lovely stone and summer fruits at the end of their production for this year I am grasping at straws – how can I preserve the summer fruit flavors that I love so much – other than in jam? 

One answer to that question is to dry it. (You may have noticed that I ask myself constant questions…I am the only female in a house of boys!! There are more below)

I have long held an aversion to purchasing dried fruits that have chemicals, such as sulphates added.  Because of this I do not use dried fruits as much as I would like to.  

My dad has been making “fruit leathers” this year from his figs and apricots. My boys have really enjoyed them, they make a healthy snack. Since we started Skipping the Supermarket at the start of March I am progressively deciding to do with-out an item we would usually buy, attempt to make it myself, or seek it from an alternative source:

This was the conversation I had in my head to decide if I would try to dry my own fruit:

  • Easter was approaching – Dried fruit for hot cross bun – definitely required
  • Buying dried fruit from an alternate local source (eg: local organic store or grocer) – too expensive
  • Is the effort low? – Yes
  • Am I home to monitor the drying process? Yes
  • Does my oven maintain a consistent temperature? Yes
  • Do I want to give it a go? Yes, why not!

 This is what I did.

I purchased the following fruit a few weeks ago when the stone fruit was nearing the end of season:

  • peaches
  • apricots
  • plums
  • pears
  • apples

I washed and dried the fruit then thinly sliced them, removing any pips or core.

I laid the fruit out on a couple of baking trays lined with baking paper and set the oven to fan forced and 50 degrees.

I put the trays in the oven and left then for the day, approximately 7 hours.

Outcome and Hints and Tips :

The apples worked well, I have some left still and after a month they are still fresh.

The apricots, peachs and plums started to grow mould after about 2 weeks.

Additional research has highlighted that they need a longer drying time (16-24 hours). I wouldn’t want to run my oven for that amount of time!

I would make them again and dry them for the same amount of time. They were sweet and tasty, next time I use fruit other than apples I would plan to use them up within two weeks.

To store the dried fruit I layed in a single layer in a plastic container with baking paper in between the layers. I stored the container in a cool dry place.

Oven dried fruit storage

Oven dried fruit storage

I have used the fruit to make:

I will continue to dry fruit, especially apples. I will test other fruits when they are in season.  The process is very simple and requires minimal preparation. Cut up the fruit, set the oven and leave them to dry-easy, and economical if purchasing fruit in season.

Quick update: I have just had a great tip from African Aussie blog – she freezes her dried produce and it then keeps well. Thanks for the great tip 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Africanaussie April 13, 2012, 9:23 am

    we live in the tropics where it is always humid – so when I dry anything I tend to keep it in the freezer once dried – that stops mould forming. seems to work the best.

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