I've used a dehydrator in the past, but this year I decided to use the power of the sun to dry my fruit. Sun drying fruit is cheap, doesn't require special equipment and is easy to do. It does however take a long time. But if you have the time, go for it. Use the power of the sun to make yourself some delicious dried fruit!
For this Instructable we decided to use a variety of fruit and two different drying racks. We thought it would be fun to see which fruit worked best on which rack.. My kids helped put the fruit on the racks, and turn the fruit. Fun experiment!
Step 1: Gather Supplies
-Fruit- we used peaches, plums, apricots, apples, cherries, blueberries, and tomatoes. Make sure fruit is ripe and without bad spots, don't use overripe fruit.
-Drying Racks- we used cooling racks set on cookie sheets, and plastic drying racks from my dehydrator. You can make your own drying racks, you want something that lets air flow around the fruit.
-Cheese Cloth- to cover the fruit to keep bugs off of it.
-Lemon Juice Water Mixture- in a bowl mix 1 cup of lemon juice with 4 cups of water, this is used to pretreat the fruit to prevent browning.
-Warm Dry Place in the Sun- the outdoor temperature should be above 85 degrees with less than 60% humidity.
Step 2: Prepare the Fruit
-Put Fruit in the Lemon Water Mixture- let it soak for a couple minutes. This will help prevent the fruit from browning.
-For Tomatoes- cut in half, you can remove the seeds or leave them. I also sprinkled mine with a little sea salt because I like salt. Don't put the tomatoes in the lemon mixture.
-Lay the fruit out on your drying racks with space for air to flow between/around the fruit. Make sure to put something underneath the racks to catch any drips (I didn't put anything under my drying racks from my dehydrator and the plums leaked, next time I'll put a piece of foil underneath).
-Cover the racks with cheesecloth to help protect the fruit from bugs.
Step 3: Set the Fruit Out to Dry
-We set our racks on a table in the sun on our front porch. The temperature outside was about 92 degrees with 30% humidity, and a nice breeze.
-Turn fruit every once in a while.
-Now wait...a couple days.
-Make sure to bring the fruit inside at night.
Step 4: Enjoy Your Dried Fruit
-Fruit is done drying when it appears wrinkled, is leathery but not stiff, and if you rip it in half there are no moisture beads. Similar to raisins.
-Here's the time it took our fruit to dry:
-Apples- 2 days
-Cherries, Blueberries and Apricots- 3 days
-Tomatoes, Peaches and Plums- 4 days
-Store dried fruit in an airtight container.
-Enjoy this delicious dried fruit!
-We enjoyed our sun dried tomatoes in a pasta dish tonight. They were super delicious!