We all need fruit in our lives. There are so many vitamins and minerals in fruits that you cannot get any other way. Dehydration is an easy process which can increase the shelf life of fruits for up to six months.
Dried fruit makes a great snack and you can add it to your oatmeal in the morning; it is also great with pancakes. We will look at each fruit which will make it easy to see how and why you would want to dehydrate each kind.
Bananas are the first fruit on the list. Bananas are very versatile fruits, but they also tend to go bad rather quickly. Most have a shelf life of only a few days, so dehydrating them is a great way to extend their life. Bananas should be sliced into ¼ to ½ inch coin-sized pieces.
Lie them in a row in your dehydrator and dehydrate them on the lowest possible setting. It will probably take a full day. You will want to use fresh bananas that have no bruises, and you want them to be firm. If they have become soft, save them for banana bread.
Apples are a wonderful dehydrated snack. You will want to wash them if you want to leave the peel on and then core them. There are a couple of ways that you can prepare them.
You can remove the stem and cut it into ½” thick coins, with or without the peel. Then, you can lay them in a single row. Or you can cut them into 1/4” cubes and lay them flat on the dehydrator tray. Always use the lowest setting.
Apples take longer than a lot of other fruits; give them a full 24 hours. Add a cinnamon stick and your apples will absorb the flavor. You can add them to your breakfast foods or put them in your trail mix. One of the great things about apples is that they make a great snack for your toddler.
Citrus will make your house smell wonderful, and they are high in vitamin C. They are also easy to dehydrate. Wash the peel and cut them into coins about ½” thick. Give them about ten to twelve hours in a single layer in the dehydrator. Then you can use them in potpourri.
You can also use them for cooking, and they are delicious in hot tea. They are also good for six months to a year if they are properly stored.
Berries are also easy to dehydrate. You can use whole blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries. Then you can add them to your trail mix or cereal. You can cut and core strawberries and place them in the dehydrator.
If you don’t stack berries on top of each other, you can dry them in about 12 hours. Add them to your favorite pie or cake recipe. You can also add them to a blender with some ice cream and make a delicious and healthy shake.
Watermelons, also known as honeydew, are classic summer fruits. Yet, when summer is over, the melons disappear, so, you can dehydrate them. You will need to remove the rind and the seeds. You can roast the seeds for a great snack, but they won’t do very well in the dehydrator.
Remember that the thinner they are sliced, but faster they will dehydrate, so, aim for thin even slices. Then once they are dehydrated, you can store them for those long winter months.
You can add them to ice cream, pies, drinks, or just snack on them as they are. You will enjoy having them on hand for your little ones.
Storing dehydrated fruit
Most dehydrating instructions are going to tell you to be sure to let them air dry for a few hours after removing them from the dehydrator, before placing them a zippered lock bag. The problem with this is that light exposure, as well as high heat, will remove vitamins from your fruit.
If you want to prolong the shelf life and maintain the vitamin content, you will want to hang them in your pantry. This will keep them from spoiling and keep them healthy.
Once you have gone through this process of redistributing air, you can store them anywhere that will keep them out of the moisture, light, or heat. For best results, you are going to want to store your dehydrated fruits in your pantry in a glass jar, like for canning.
Of course, you could keep them in their zippered lock bags. Just make sure they are not exposed to light. Then, when you want to use them, all you have to do is throw them right into your bag and take them with you.
Do not put your dehydrated fruit in the refrigerator, freezer, or ice chest. This will expose them to moisture and will introduce bacteria.
Never eat fruit that smells funny, has something growing on it, or is slimy. This could mean that you did not dehydrate it long enough, and it could make you, or a loved one, sick.
Fruit is deliciously good for you; it is easy to dehydrate, store, and use. Whether you are constantly on the go, or just want to have fresh fruit on hand all year, you should definitely invest in a good dehydrator.
Fruit is a great way to increase vitamins and minerals in your diet. They can also help you to get your children to eat healthier. So, don’t just sit there. Click on over and find a food dehydrator that is right for you.