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How to Dry Fruit Using a Dehydrator

Yesterday at my dietetic internship we learned how to dry fruit! It was fun and very tasty :)

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We dried the fruit using a dehydrator. You can also dry fruit on a tray in the oven on a very low temperature (about 140 degrees), but it takes much longer and is a big waste of energy since you have to leave the oven door propped open (air circulation is important for drying)!

I totally want to buy a dehydrator now. Here’s the one we used at work! It’s basically a container with 4 slotted breathable trays inside it that stack on top of each other. When turned on, hot air is blown around inside to dry the food on the trays!

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Drying fruit was way easier than I expected. For some reason I always imagined dehydrators being super scary and hard to use, but it was the complete opposite! Easiest thing ever.

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How to Dry Fruit Using a Dehydrator

To dry fruit, you start with… fresh FRUIT! Shocker ;)

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We used apples and bananas — mangoes are on the docket for later on, but they weren’t ripe enough today, sniff.

The bananas were super easy — just peel, slice into very thin pieces, and toss into an ascorbic acid/”fruit fresh” bath (to stop the browning) — this step is totally optional but will make for a prettier product!

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Instructions for using the Fruit Fresh are on the package!

For the apples, we cored them and then tossed the slices into an ascorbic acid bath as well. 005

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After the apples had been in the bath for a few minutes, we started taking them out one by one, peeling them, and cutting them into thin slices. The thinner the slices, the faster they will dehydrate!

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After each piece was sliced, we threw it back into the ascorbic acid bath.

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Once everything was sliced and ready to go, we headed over to the dehydrator!

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As you can see on the lid, there’s a handy temperature guide — for fruit, they recommended setting the dehydrator to 135 degrees, so that’s what we did!

Our first layer was apple! Make sure to blot the slices to get out any extra water before placing them on the dehydrator tray.

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After 2 layers of apple slices, we made 2 layers of banana slices on the top trays:

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And that’s it! We added a few sprinkles of cinnamon just for fun, closed the lid and walked away. About 6 hours later…

VICTORY!

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Just like store bought but better since there was no added sugar :)

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Easiest thing ever, right?! Must buy a dehydrator… apparently they are only like $30? Have you guys ever dried/dehydrated anything? How’d it go? What’s your favorite thing to dehydrate?

And in other news — the winners of my Attune Foods giveaway from yesterday! Thanks so much to everyone who entered :) The 3 winners are (selected using Random.org):

  1. Comment #107, Carolyn
  2. Comment #238, Abby
  3. Comment #127, Jen Robinson

YAY! Congrats, ladies! Please send me your full names and mailing addresses (anne @ fannetasticfood . com) and I’ll have Attune Foods contact you regarding selecting your cereals!

I’m off to school to work on a group project all day — have a great day and happy friday, friends!

Comments

  1. 1

    Ohhh man those dried bananas and apples look fabulous! As soon as we move somewhere with a little more storage space I want a dehydrator!

  2. 2

    My Mom used a dehydrator to make fruit leather when we were younger, I can’t remember if she dehydrated just fruit ever, I will have to ask now! And see if she still has her dehydrator so I can try this out :)

  3. 3

    I got a dehydrator for Christmas and really like making granola in it! I want to try making fruit leather but you need a special (non-slotted) tray, so I haven’t tried it yet :)

  4. 4

    I remember the first time I ever saw the amount of added sugar in dried fruit and nearly lost it!! What a sneaky thing, trying to act all “healthy”. Never hoodwinked by that again.

    This would be such a better way to enjoy fruit bits on the go!

  5. 5

    How much are those dehydrators?

  6. 6

    Hi Anne! I read your blog EVERYDAY but this is my first comment. I just love dried pineapple – the natural kind. It’s actually often hard to find without sulphur or sugar. Do you think you’d make it the same way as the apples and bananas?

    BTW, I love the shrug you are wearing in the picture. Where did you get it?

    • 7

      Thanks for saying hello! :) I bet the procedure would be the same for dried pineapple – it just might take a few more hours!

      The cardigan/shrug is from Macy’s :) Thanks!

  7. 8

    Like I said in my tweet yesterday, I need to buy one too! It pisses me off that people need to add sugar and oil to dried bananas. They should be sweet enough on their own. That fruit looks great, and i always thought dehydrators were more expensive than that! I will have to look into it now.

  8. 9

    $30? I totally assumed they would be $100′s. Might be worth another kitchen gadget!

  9. 10

    Very cool Anne! I always thought dehydrators were mega $$$ too, nice to know they are affordable!

  10. 11

    I’ve been thinking about get a dehydrator too..I have no idea they were so cheap!

  11. 12

    I’ve got a dehydrator and haven’t pulled it out yet. You made it look so easy- it might be time to begin the dehydration. Thinking cherries could be fun… Anne, if you get one, I’d love for you to post a recipe on kale chips in the dehydrator. :)

  12. 13

    I love dehydrating stuff. I recommend buying one to everyone because it’s so easy and so much better than store bought stuff that has sugar and sometimes oils added to it. The dehydrator I have actually has sheets that go in it so you can make fruit leather too. Our most recent favorite fruit leather is peach mango. So yummy :)

  13. 14

    We have a dehydrator and my favorite, though very messy thing, is dried cherries. You just use a cherry pitter, slice in half and let ‘er rip!

    I’d like to add that I always get disappointed in how much the stuff shrinks though, so I save my drying for when we go to the u-pick farms and get loads cheap of fruit.

  14. 16

    Oh I want one!!! I would use that for cherries :)

  15. 17

    I have that exact dehydrator.

    I slice my apples into rounds with a mandoline, and toss them on. They can brown, I don’t care, they still taste DELICIOUS.

  16. 18

    We have an Excaliber http://www.excaliburdehydrator.com dehydrator. Last year we picked 30 lbs of strawberries at a u-pick farm, sliced them thin, and dehydrated. Great way to store nutritious food in a small space. It is amazing how much they shrink. Can’t wait to do it again this year!

  17. 20

    Yes, I use my dehydrator a lot. I actually make one-two weeks worth of food for us at a time in it. We have an Excalibur 9 tray. I’d totally recommend them because they are far superior. I got a 4 tray on craigslist, then decided I used it enough to get the 9 tray (which I also got on craigslist) You can make so much in it! I’m even going to be making muffins in since we are allergic to so much and can’t use a regular recipe to bake any. You can also make yogurt in the Excalibur. Good stuff!! You can make fruit leather, cookies, jerky, and lots more!

    • 21
      Laura Weston says:

      Hi Kristy,

      I saw your post about having the Excalibur and that you use it alot. I am about to throw some candied meyer lemon slices in my 9 tray (haven’t used it in a couple of years). What temp. would you suggest and how long to dehydrate? Suggestions?

      Thanks!

  18. 22

    Sliced peaches and sliced kiwi were a favorite. And watermelon, sliced in big long strips. Found out after-the-fact that cranberries must be blanched before drying. Cranberry rocks, not so yummy.

  19. 24

    I have that dehydrator! It works great. You can also buy different trays to make fruit leather. My favorite thing to dehydrate is cherry tomatoes – I just cut them in half and dehydrate them that way, seeds and all. They make a great snack food, and are also tasty in hummus.

  20. 25

    I also have that dehydrator! I made some beef jerky recently, but I’ve been wanting to dry fruit for a while now…thanks for sharing your tips!

  21. 26

    I never did something fun like that during my internship! The funnest thing that I did during my FS rotation was make pumpkin bars from scratch, which is very uncommon at hospitals.

  22. 27

    That looks great. Sometimes I just want to munch on something. Being a diabetic, I’ll bet these would be A-OK, what do you think. I am assuming that you don’t have to add any sugars or anything like that. Really nice. I may have to invest in one.

  23. 29

    It has been forever since I have dehydrated anything, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE dried strawberries!! They turn almost candy-like–chewy and sweet….mmmm….

  24. 30

    I have dried apples…strawberries would be awesome I am sure.

    I have also made cookies in my dehydrator. They were interesting and very rich. I am going to try to making crackers also.

  25. 31

    That looks delicious! And so easy! Might need to buy a dehydrator soon….

  26. 32

    Wow, cool!! I didn’t know dehydrating was that simple! If I had a dehydrator, I’d do pineapple slices, peaches, apples, bananas, strawberries, and mango!

  27. 33

    Hi, this is my first comment, although I read your blog nearly everyday, I love it!! :) I got a dehydrator 4 days ago as a birthday present from my boyfriend, and I have already tried to dry bananas and apples (worked great!), and my self made soup condiment (tomatoes, broccoli, bell pepper, carrots, parsley…). I love that, so you know exactly what´s inside your veggi soup, just dissolve 1 tblsp. of the dried powder in hot water, and tataaa: ready is your selfmade soup :) I think I´ll try to bake some breads next! (Sorry if there are spelling mistakes, I´m from Austria ;))

  28. 35

    I’ve had a dehydrator on my wants list forever too! I keep buying clothes instead. Priorities… :)

  29. 36

    Homemade banana chips! They sound delicious.

  30. 37

    I found out my friend had the same dehydrator and she’d never even cracked the box open…I borrowed it and have made dried peaches, plums, bananas, apples and a yummy strawberry-peach leather! Strawberries, pineapple and nectarines are on the list next! I soak apples, peaches and bananas in pineapple juice (100%) to keep from browning instead of using the powder stuff. I also have a vacuum sealer so I can seal packages of my dried fruit snack mix easily for grab and go! So delicious!

  31. 39
    Sherry R says:

    I just bought a Nesco American Harvester!!! Opened it last night and washed it. I had bought some Blueberry’s and strawberry’s, so this morning I did a tray of strawberry’s and a tray of blueberry’s and a tray of grapes. It has been 6 hours took the strawberry’s out and they are very good but the other two are no where ready. This is my first time to ever dehydrate anything. I did steam the grapes and blueberry’s in microwave. I want to make this work just need advise and help, will take all!!!

    • 40

      Next time, I wouldn’t steam the blueberries or grapes. Also, be sure to cut them into THIN slices! The others will dry eventually, so I’d just wait it out!

  32. 41

    Oh man I have a dehydrator sitting in my garage that I’ve never used!!! I just picked some apples… you have inspired me, I’m gonna go dry them RIGHT NOW!

  33. 43

    Drying some bananas and apples now for Christmas. I’ll dip the bananas (1/2)in some chocolate for a “twist on the Christmas cookie tray.
    Hope Santa brings you one (if you didn’t get one already).

  34. 45

    Thanks for the awesome idea! Definitely a healthier and more economical way of eating dried fruits!

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