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I’m not a cook, but I really try and eat healthy. Although my cooking skills leave a lot to be desired, I make a mean batch of dehydrated apricots.
Since this is mainly a money blog, I’d love to say this is a great way to save money, but honestly, 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. Check out How To Make Raspberry Fruit Leather.
6 Steps to Dehydrate Apricots
- Wash the fruit thoroughly and then lay out to dry.
- I try and wash the apricots just prior to use. Once washed the water will often get inside the core and start to rot the food from the inside. This is what often causes the internal browning you see.
- 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 splitting 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.
- You want to expose the interior of the apricot to the heat from the dehydrator.
- Fill the sheet and then put into your dehydrator.
- Apricots can be packed close together, but you should try and avoid having them touch.
- Check and rotate trays as needed every few hours for even cooking.
- I always check the trays but rarely have to rotate since my heat is very even. This step is for uneven dehydrators.
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 cook my apricots at around 125 degrees. I wish I could give you an exact cooking time, but it will vary based on your dehydrator, heat level, 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. 🙂
Once they are dehydrated leave them in an open container to fully cool. Make sure they are completely cool before storing them in an airtight container. If you store to early, the moisture can condense and form mold.
I typically leave mine sitting out overnight with a loose lid before preparing them for long term storage.
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Equipment you will need to dehydrate apricots:
- 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.
- I know people who use their oven’s as well. However, I live in Phoenix and usually dehydrate in the summer, so I avoid using the oven at all costs.
- Dehydrator Sheets:
- These will be specific to your dehydrator, but many of the options can be cut to fit most dehydrators. I really like the non-stick reusable Teflon type sheets.
- Small Paring Knife
- Large Bowl for Pits
- Food Vacuum Sealer
- I put my fruit in the foodsaver bags and then vacuum seal them. Since I can only dehydrate apricots once a year, I go a bit crazy and make a lot of fruit. I’ve found that by using the vacuum bags my apricots will last for around a year without a loss in taste. They do start to discolor slightly after about 6-8 months.
- Air Tight Storage Containers
- For short term use I just use the standard airtight storage containers.
- If you are interested in learning more about dehydrating I highly recommend Tammy Gangloff’s book – The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook. Her directions are easy to follow and she provides a lot of helpful hints for beginners and intermediate users alike.
If you have never dehydrated food, I highly recommend giving it a try. Although the initial work is labor intensive, if you put on some music and get in a groove you can easily fill a dehydrator in less than an hour.
If you have ever purchased dried fruit from the store, the second ingredient is virtually always sugar. I love being able to eat dried fruit that I know is sugar-free.
Based on how good my dehydrated apricots tastes, the sugar is definitely not needed.
PS. I love using my dehydrated food in my 72-hour food kits. They are a great treat that everyone likes.
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