How to Dehydrate and Preserve Organic Fruit
Hi, I’m Tricia, a California organic gardener. Harvest time is happening!Today I’m going to dehydrate some of my fruits and vegetablesso that I can enjoy them in the upcoming winter months. Many fruits and vegetables dehydrate well. You can use your fruit to create allnatural yummy fruit snacks. Dehydrated garden vegetables areperfect homegrown soup ingredients. Be sure and choose high quality fruit at the peak of ripeness,avoiding dehydrating over-ripe, or under-ripe or damaged fruit or vegetables. If you don’t put good produce in the dehydrator,you’re not going to get good produce outof the dehydrator!Preparation is key to good dehydration. Most produce needs to be sliced before dehydrating and others may require basic pre-treatment. Fruits like apples and pearswill brown a bit after slicing. You can avoid that by using a dip. If you want them to stay nice and white, you can use citric acid, ascorbic acid, lemon lime,or pineapple juice mixed with water. This is mainly for cosmetic purposes, andit may affect the taste of the fruit just a little bit. If you don’t care if your fruit is a littlebit brown after dehydrating, don’t bother!It’s important to have uniformly slicedfruit for dehydrating. For my apples, I use the apple peeler-corer, and for the pears I use my food processor. If you cut your pieces unevenly,when you put them in the dehydrator some will be overdone and some will be underdone,rather than uniformly dried. If you’re drying anything with a pit, makesure and remove the pit to decrease the drying time. Space fruit evenly so that you get goodairflow. A pre-treatment called checking may benecessary for certain fruits like grapes,cherries, blueberries, fruits that have awaxy coatingTo remove the waxy coating simply dip the berries or grapes into boiling water for about 30 seconds or so. Some vegetables, like green beans, will benefit from either steam or water blanching before dehydrating. This stops ripening, reduces flavor,nutrient, and color loss,and generally makes the produce dryfaster. Steam blanching is preferable because you lose fewer water-soluble nutrients,and time is varied based upon what you’re blanching,So all you want to do is when they’re done, dump them in an ice water bath to stop the cooking,and then remove them quickly. I’m going to make some fruit leather. This is very easy to do and very tasty!All you need to do is puree the fruit,pour it onto a non-stick dehydrator sheet,and then just dry it in the dehydratoruntil it’s leathery. Drying times are dependent on thehumidity in the room and the water content of the fruit. The times are variable so you have to check the fruit often. When the fruit is done, it’s going to be springy and leathery. When the vegetables are done, they’ll be tough or brittle. Be sure and get a good guide about dehydrating. Preserve your fruits and vegetables soyou can enjoy them all winter long,and Grow Organic for Life!