Oven dried summer fruits- simple & healthy
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:
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.
I have used the fruit to make:
Snacks for Punky and Cuddles
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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