I’m not a cook, but I really try and eat healthy. One of the things I love to do is make my own dehydrated food.
My favorite is fruit leather and dehydrated fruit.
Since this is mainly a money blog, I’d love to say this is a way to save money, but honestly, most of the time, I think it actually costs more to dehydrate your own fruit, particularly when you factor in the time involved.
However, for me, the lack of sugar makes the extra cost and time worth the sacrifice.
I’m lucky enough to have access to Utah Apricots, which is the most amazing fruit in the world. Once a year, I spend days on my little dehydrating project.
This last round I ended up with three cases of apricots and 1 case of raspberries. I made three batches of freezer jam, dried 5 large containers of apricots and made around 100 rolls of raspberry and apricot fruit leather. I’ll do additional posts on freezer jam and fruit leather in the future.
Dehydrating apricots is one of the easiest dehydration projects to start with.
- Wash the fruit thoroughly and then lay out to dry. I try and wash the fruit just prior to use, since once washed the water will often get inside and start to rot the food from the inside out if you wait too long.
- Find the ripest fruit by touching lightly. The fruit should be soft to the touch. It is hard to explain, but after doing it a few times, you can literally feel when the pit has detached from the body of the fruit. Once it has detached it is usually the perfect level of ripeness.
- Cut along the seam of the apricot with a sharp pairing knife. You will be slitting the apricot in half. I keep a bowl in the sink for the pits and then put the apricot halves on the dehydrator sheets. I typically cut up 10-15 pieces at a time.
- Take each apricot half and press up gently with your thumb to turn the fruit partially inside out.
- Fill the sheet and then put into your dehydrator.
- Rotate trays every few hours for more even cooking.
Apricot tend to be fairly thick and when ripe are full of moisture. Most of the time my batches take anywhere from 18-24 hours to cook.
I wish I could give you an exact cooking time, but it will vary based on your dehydrator, local humidity levels and the fruit itself.
You can tell the apricots are done when they are no longer juicy to the touch. They should be pliable and when cut should not ooze juice.
I usually just try a few to see if they are done. 🙂
I use an Excalibur Dehydrator. I’ve had it for about 3 years and totally love it. I can control the heat based on what type of food I’m processing. Based on how evenly my food cooks, the heating and circulation work well.
The new models have a timer installed, which would be handy. However, I’m not sure how useful the timer would be long term. When dehydrating there are too many variable to say exactly when a particular fruit will be done.
If you have never dehydrated food, I highly recommend giving it a try. I love being able to eat dried fruit that I know is sugar free. If you have ever purchased dried fruit from the store, the second ingredient is virtually always sugar.
Based on how good my dehydrated fruit tastes, the sugar is definitely not needed.
If you are interested in learning more about dehydrating I highly recommend Tammy Gangloff’s book – The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook. Here directions are easy to follow and she provides a lot of helpful hits for beginners and intermediate users alike.
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