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How To Dehydrate Or Dry Apricots:
I’m not a cook, but I really try and eat healthily. Although my cooking skills leave a lot to be desired, I make a mean batch of dehydrated apricots.
I love drying apricots because I can control the sugar content. I hate buying dehydrated fruit only to find that the second ingredient is sugar.
If done right dehydrate apricots are amazingly delicious and don’t need any sugar added.
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 year I purchased three cases of dried apricots and 1 case of raspberries.
I made three batches of freezer jam, dehydrated 5 large containers of apricots, and made around 100 rolls of raspberry and apricot fruit leather.
6 Steps to Dehydrate Apricots Without Sugar
- 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 of the fruit.
- 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 for drying.
- Don’t be afraid to give your fruit an extra day or two to ripen on its own.
- Cut along the seam of the apricot with a sharp paring 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.
- Make sure and cut out any bad spots on the fruit. I’ll typically end up with a bowl full of apricot pieces that are too small to dehydrate. I combine these pieces with Apple Sauce and whatever other fruit I have to make Apricot Fruit Leather.
- I don’t have a post specifically on Apricot Fruit Leather, but the directions are the same for Raspberry Fruit Leather.
- If you won’t be consuming your dehydrated apricots within 2-3 months you may want to consider pre-treating your fruit prior to dehydrating to prevent browning. This can be done using lemon juice (1 cup lemon juice to 1-quart water) or by using Fruit Fresh Produce Protector. Dip your fruit in the pre-treater and then dehydrate as normal.
- 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 dehydrator sheet with Apricots and then put it 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.
Apricots 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 dry the apricots.
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 controls, local humidity levels and the fruit itself (riper fruit can take longer to dry).
If you are using a timer, set it for the low end of the range – overdrying your apricots is no fun (yes, I’ve done it).
You can tell the apricots are dehydrated 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 the apricots 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 dehydrated apricots 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.
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
- Fruit Fresh Produce Protector
- If you are worried about your fruit browning you may want to consider using Fruit Fresh Produce Protector. My dehydrated apricots never last long enough to go brown, but if you will be storing your fruit for more then 2-3 months, you’ll want to check it out. I love this stuff and use it for most of my other dehydrating projects (especially apples).
Dehydrated Fruit Storage Options:
- Food Vacuum Sealer
- I put my fruit in the food saver 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.
- I’ve gotten the best results when I store the dried apricots in the freezer.
- AirTight Storage Containers
- For short-term use, I use these airtight storage containers (they rock).
Fruit Dehydration Reference Materials:
- If you are interested in learning more about dehydration 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.
Dehydrating Apricots is very simple, cost-effective and they taste amazing
If you have never dehydrated apricots, I highly recommend giving it a try. Although the initial work is labor-intensive, if you put on some music and get into a groove you can easily fill a dehydrator in less than an hour.
If you have ever purchased dried apricots from the store, the second ingredient is virtually always sugar. I love being able to eat dried fruit I know is sugar-free.
Based on how good my dehydrated apricots taste, 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.