Regardless of the dehydration method you use, there are certain techniques and tricks that will help you achieve the desired result when trying to dehydrate fruit at home. Pay attention and apply them in any circumstance:
Select the best fruits
They must be fresh fruits and have a suitable point of ripeness. Choose them without bruises or damaged parts.
Cut thin pieces of the same thickness . Thus, they will dehydrate evenly. Remove the seeds and more fibrous parts. You can cut food with a mandolin as it provides clean and accurate cuts. In contrast, very small fruits are better dehydrated whole. If you cut them with a knife, it should be into pieces of 0.5 to 3 cm.
Prepare the fruits before drying them
Although this step is optional, if you do it, you eliminate any enzyme or microorganism that accelerates the oxidation of the food. To avoid rusting and improve their final presentation, place them in a bowl with 1 liter of water and 100 ml of lemon for 10-15 minutes.
Each tray or racks you fill must contain the same fruit (if it’s strawberry, just strawberries). Once dried, you should let them cool for 60 minutes.
Use only one type of fruit
Use a rack or tray to place the fruits. Arrange the fruit slices side by side, forming a single layer. Do not stack them so the hot air can flow.
Select the best pieces
Choose the quality pieces: they must have the right color and not present any strange appearance.
Once you have chosen the best pieces, monitor them for an additional time. This advice is optional but highly recommended, as it guarantees that the fruit is of quality and lasts longer . To do so, follow these steps:
Fill a glass jar with the pieces of fruit to 2/3 of its capacity.
Shake the bottle once a day for 7 days. The residual moisture will be evenly distributed between the dry pieces.
Check if condensation appears in the jar, as this will indicate that the drying is incomplete. If this is the case, dry the pieces again with the dehydration method of your choice.
Preserving dehydrated fruits
Preserve dried fruit in an airtight glass jar. Once full, place the bottle in a dry, clean place, without humidity or sudden temperature change. Thus, you avoid rehydration of the dehydrated food. You can add oil to some foods such as dried tomatoes, as it has the quality to enhance flavor and texture.
Label the jar so you have a check on the date you started preserving it, the fruits will last between 6 months and 1 year . The less water it retains and the less external agents intervene, the longer they will last.
Hydrates fruits when using them
This depends on the case, for example, if a dry food is used in long cooks, you do not need to hydrate it, as it hydrates during cooking. On the contrary, if you use the dehydrated piece in a short cook or add it to a salad, you must leave it to soak so that it recovers the water lost during dehydration.
This step is optional, you can enjoy the dried fruits without hydrating them.
How to dehydrate fruits in the oven
Drying fruit in the oven is an easy, hygienic and accessible option for everyone. The only problem with this method is that not all home ovens handle low temperatures (an essential requirement for drying food). Either way, if you follow the following tricks, you can discover how to dehydrate fruits at home and achieve effective results:
- Turn the oven at a temperature of 40-47 ° C . It is useful to know beforehand how your oven behaves, since no domestic oven is the same as another. Turn off the oven when it approaches 47 ºC. Temperatures ranging from 55-70 ºC destroy nutrients.
- Use a thermometer . It is the best way to control the temperature in a home oven. You only need to set the thermostat to the minimum and, once it reaches 45 ºC, put the tray of fruit that you want to dehydrate.
- Leave the oven door ajar. The opening should be between 5 to 10 cm, so you allow moisture to escape and control the temperature.
- If the oven has a fan, use it. Thus, the constant air stream will dry thin slices and small fruits faster.
- Place a fan in front of the oven. You will favor the exit of hot air (this step is optional).
- Turn the pieces of fruit over every 20 to 30 minutes to ensure even drying. Use a kitchen tongs.
- If the fruit looks dry, it’s ready. The total dehydration time of the pieces depends on several factors: the amount of water the fruit contains, the size of the slice, the temperature of the oven and the humidity level of the air. However, for reference, an average of 2-4 hours can be calculated or until they are dry.
Once you have them ready you can enjoy some delicious dehydrated fruit chips .