Drying Fruits

DRYING FRUITS

Pineapples, apples, mangoes, bananas, apricots, nectarines, peaches, figs, dates, and pears are all suitable. Wash, peel, pit and core fruit. Slice large fruit into 1/4-inch thick pieces; slice small fruit in half. Toss in a cool ascorbic acid solution (1 Tbsp. crushed Vitamin C tablets in 1 cup water) until coated. Optional: For sweeter fruit, simmer 10 minutes in heavy syrup (use equal amounts sugar and water, simmered until syrupy). Drain fruit on paper towels. Dry in full sun or in oven, pasteurize, cool, and store.

SOLAR DRYING:

Spread fruit one layer deep on drying racks made by stretching cheesecloth or mosquito netting across a frame so that air circulates around pieces. Protect from insects and place and place in full sun for 2 to 3 days, turning several times. Bring inside at night or if rain threatens. Dried fruit is leathery and produces no moisture when squeezed.

OVEN DRYING:

Arrange fruit on drying racks. Place in 130-degree F oven for 1 hour, increase heat to 150 degrees F for 4 hours, then reduce to 140 degrees F for 1 hour.

PASTEURIZING:

Preheat oven to 175 degrees F. Spread fruit 1 inch deep on trays (not aluminum) and heat 15 minutes, tossing once. Spread fruit on clean toweling to cool. Should keep for several months stored in airtight plastic bags or containers.