Dried fruits are healthy and delicious, especially if they’re home grown. They are a great choice for dessert or snack as they provide us with energy, and can be easily made – to make dried fruit, you can either use an over or a homemade solar dryer.
Dried fruit is not so difficult to make at home – you can easily prepare any kind of dried fruit in the oven for cheap. First, you’ll need to select ripe or semi-ripe fruit, then rinse it with cold water well. This will remove all impurities from the fruit. Remove the stems as well, and cut it evenly so that you can dehydrate it as a whole. If you like, you can remove the skin, but if you ask us, we’ll keep it on.
The next step is to soak the fruit in lemon juice for 10 minutes, then drain it and dry it with a paper towel. Preheat the oven in the meantime on minimum temperature, which works best with apples, peaches and bananas. Strawberries and other berries need higher temperatures – just keep experimenting with different fruits and you will find the right spot. Next, cover a tray with parchment paper and arrange the fruit in a single layer, but make sure they aren’t touching each other. To avoid the fruit from curling, cover them with a silicone mat. Manufacturers claim that the mat is non-toxic, so it’s ideal for this job.
The average time of drying is about 1 ½ hours. Leave the oven door slightly open to prevent the fruit from overbaking – once its dry, take the tray out and leave the fruit to cool down for a couple of hours.
How to dehydrate fruits at home
Fruits can also be dehydrated with a simple DIY solar dryer. The process will preserve the flavor and nutritional quality of the fruits without the use of harmful techniques. Here’s who to make the dryer:
- 3 Styrofoam plates (1 m. x 0.5 m.) with a thickness of 30 mm
- 3 tubes of glue
- Polystyrene nylon screen (1 m.)
- 1 flat glass (3 mm. thick)
- 200 gr. of bent nails (18 mm. x 27 mm.)
- 1 brush
- 3 cm. of aluminum foil
Use one plate of Styrofoam as a bottom for the box, then cut another in 2 long pieces. Cut the last plate on two smaller pieces, then join the parts to form a 94 x 44 cm. frame. Now, put nails in the corners of the frame, then make two holes (30 x 4 cm.) on the sides of the box. Next, cut 2 pieces of the nylon and secure them with pins on the box, covering the gaps made previously. Cut the remaining Styrofoam in 3 cm. wide pieces and add them to the openings, making a frame for the screen.
Now, make a 90 x 40 cm. rectangular wooden frame and cover the screen, fastening the frame at the bottom. This will help you see inside the dryer. Put the pieces of fruit inside and you will easily dehydrate them.
Here’s how to prepare different fruits for dehydration:
Peel and cut a pineapple into 1 cm. thick slices, then cut the slices on 3-4 equal parts. Put the pieces in a dryer and dehydrate them.
Cut a banana in half to dehydrate it easier. You can also cut a banana on slices and try dehydrating it like that.
Cut the fruit in 4 parts, then put it in the homemade solar dryer. Persimmon can also be blended first, then dried in the solar dryer on a tray.
Peel an apple and cut it in 4 parts – you can also dehydrate the peels then grind them to powder and use them as tea. You can only use organic apples.
Peel a mango and cut it on thick slices, then put it in the dryer.
Wash the grapes well and remove the seeds, then put them in 0.5 l. of water and a bit of lemon juice and dehydrate them afterwards.