Hi, it’s Karen. Even though fall is here, I’m sure many of you are still enjoying the fruits of summer. Here’s a good way to extend that bounty: dried fruit and fruit leather. It’s easy! Read more for my step-by-step tips.
Dried fruit is a simple and healthy snack that you can have on the go. I have fruit trees and love to dry my fruit in the fall. But if there’s a sale on fruit, I’ll buy it too and dry it. It’s a great way to use fruit before it goes bad. It is easy to do and has a long shelf life. Here’s my simple method on how to dry fruit, plus make fruit leather.
You’ll need: fruit, dehydrator, nonstick sheets, knife, mandoline (optional), peeler, blender or food processor (for fruit leather) and plastic wrap.
I wash, peel, pit and slice my fruit, then lay it on the trays of the dehydrator. You can put the fruit down close, but do not overlap the fruit because it will dry together and become one big piece. I put a nonstick sheet down to help with clean-up (my nonstick sheets came with my dehydrator, but you can purchase them separately if you don’t have any). You can also just lay the fruit right on the trays; it just sticks a little and makes it harder to clean the trays.
At the 5 hour mark, I like to turn my fruit over. I do this for a few reasons: One is that it helps the fruit not stick to the trays. Two, I can check where the fruit is at in the drying process. Three, I can take out any fruit that may be done (if you have thinly cut pieces, it may get crispy if you leave them in the whole time). You know it is done when it is dry but may still feel a little sticky. If I cut it a little thick, I just give it a squeeze. If it feels moist inside, it is not done. In all, it takes about 8 hours to dry fruit.
How to make fruit leather: After you wash, peel and pit your fruit, instead of slicing it, chop it up and blend it until smooth (I use a food processor but a blender works too). Make sure the trays are fully lined with your nonstick sheets. Pour the mixture directly onto your sheet in the tray. It takes the same amount of time to dry, about 8 hours.
Roll up the plastic wrap into the fruit to keep it from sticking and presto! Fruit leather.
Don’t have a dehydrator yet? There are many different brands of dehydrator. One that has great reviews is the Excalibur, which you can get by clicking the link below.