Why Would I Use A Fruit Dryer?
With winter almost here it is time to bid good-bye to mouth-watering and delicious summer fruits until next year. However, if you would like to access these all year round then look to use a fruit dryer.
Drying fruit allows you to store seasonal produce for many months either in the pantry or freezer for up to a year.
Food preservation has been around for centuries. It is a common practice that savvy home cooks use across all cultures, traditions and ethnicities. Some of the easiest ways to preserve food at home are drying, smoking, canning and vacuum sealing.
So, if you can’t bear to be without those yummy mangoes and strawberries over the colder months, read on!
What Is A Fruit Dryer?
A Fruit Dryer is simply a specific function for a food dehydrator. It is a small electrical appliance that removes all the water content in any type of food. Some of the common things dried are fruits, vegetables and meat. Read our best home food dehydrator reviews.
These small kitchen appliances have a built-in low-powered oven to produce hot air and dry foods without cooking them. They also include a fan to move air around and extract the moisture-laden air from the unit through air vents. In most cases, a dehydrator can reduce the water content within foods to less than 20%.
Why Do I Need A Fruit Dryer?
Fruits are composed of approximately 80-95% water and will start to spoil within days of ripening. Of all fresh produce, it is fruits with high water content that “go off” quickest.
For fresh fruit to rot there is a combination of factors that need to be present. Microorganisms are the usual culprits. Think molds, yeast and bacteria. These require air, moisture, light and the right temperature to grow.
Using a fruit dryer removes the moisture from within each piece. This prevents the growth of bacteria and slows the action of enzymes within fruit without completely de-activating them.
Moreover, the process of dehydration means that no flavor is lost during the process. In fact, in some instances, the flavor is even enhanced!
Once the moisture is removed your fruit will have shrunk in size and weigh much less. This makes it easier to store and with vacuum sealing they will keep in the freezer for years.
So, not only does a fruit dryer extend the shelf life of your favorites, it can also help you to store them more conveniently!
How Do I Prepare The Fruit?
- Scrub apples and pears to remove any wax or chemicals.
- Wash soft fruits thoroughly for the above reason. Any berries, stone fruit and grapes.
- If the fruit is light-colored like apples or pears, dip it in a pre-treatment solution to prevent browning. Ascorbic acid, lemon juice, fruit juice or citric acid all do the trick. Just dip the slices in pretreatment solution for 3 to 5 minutes before placing them on the mesh trays.
- Grapes or cherries, which are dried whole, must be blanched first. Immerse the fruit in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds then dunk into cold water. Dry them on a paper towel before placing on the trays in the fruit dryer.
- Some fruit will not go brown on cutting and can be placed directly in the unit.
- Take the mesh trays out of the unit.
- Coat evenly with cooking spray.
- Thoroughly wash the fruit under cold water.
- Cut it into thin slices. Thicker slices will require more drying time.
- Pre-treat them if they are fruits that will go brown quickly, such as apples.
- Place the slices of fruit on the mesh trays.
- Close the lid and turn the machine on.
Depending on the quantity and thickness, check the machine every hour or so.
Some units will require moving the trays around to ensure even fruit drying.
Make Your Own DIY Food Dryer
If you do not want to spend money on a fruit dryer, then make one yourself!
All you need is a cardboard box, racks, dowels, a light bulb, a cooling fan, duct tape and aluminum foil.