If you're like me, you buy fruit with the best intentions and then it just sits on your counter and goes bad before you can eat it. My solution: Dehydrate fruit so it lasts longer! Dried fruit is super expensive in the stores, and dehydrating machines are bulky and pricey. I found an simple way to use your oven to dry your fruit. All you need is fruit, an oven, and patience.
Flickr photo by MBK
First off, this may take a while. Dehydrating is a slow process combining long hours and very low heat. I like to pop them in the oven just before bed and let them dehydrate while I'm sleeping. Just follow the instructions below:
All fruit should be washed, pitted, and sliced. Arrange in single layers on baking trays and dehydrate at 135 degrees for the time indicated below -- although some newer, fancier ovens have a dehydrating setting (check your manual). Rotate trays and flip fruit half way in between baking time.
For pliable fruit, use the minimum time and for crunchy slices use the maximum time. Hint: Once you finish slicing your fruits, pre-treat (aka soak them) in lemon juice for 5 minutes to avoid darkening. Once you're finished dehydrating let cool and eat plain, make your own snack mix by adding nuts or diping in melted chocolate or cool, tart yogurt.
- Apples: Peel, core and slice into 3/8-inch rings, or cut into 1/4-inch slices. Pre-treat and dry 6-12 hours.
- Apricots: Cut in half and turn inside out to dry. Pre-treat and dry 8-20 hours.
- Bananas: Peel, cut into 1/4-inch slices and pre-treat. Dry 8-16 hours.
- Blueberries: Dry 10-20 hours until leathery.
- Cherries: Cut in half and dry 18-26 hours until leathery and slightly sticky.
- Peaches: Peel, halve or quarter. Pre-treat and dry 6-20 hours.
- Pears: Peel, cut into 1/4-inch slices, and pre-treat. Dry 6-20 hours until leathery
- Pineapple: Core and slice 1/4-inch thick. Dry 6-16 hours until leathery and not sticky.
- Strawberries: Halve or cut into 1/4-inch thick slices. Dry 6-16 hours until pliable and almost crisp.
You can even dry veggies.