What Is Dehydrated Fruit?
Similar to dried fruit, dehydrated fruit is fruit that has had its water content removed, via a slow evaporation process or using gentle heat. Through dehydration, fruits become thin, dense and chewy. Plus they last longer than fresh fruit and can be used as a healthy snack or added to different recipes for extra flavour and unique texture. Dehydrated fruits are known for their nutritional value, in many cases equalling their fresh counterparts.
Nutritional Content & Health Benefits of Dried Fruit
Dried and dehydrated fruits are almost the same in terms of nutrient content and health benefits. Some key nutrients that stand out in dehydrated fruit that are worth observing, include zinc, iron, boron, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, copper and B vitamins. Dehydrated fruit is also naturally high in fibre, abundant in plant polyphenols, low G.I and great for digestive health. Many of the nutrients and compounds found in dehydrated fruit help in many areas of human health, such as immune function, blood pressure regulation and protection against the development of cancer, to name a few.
2 Ways To Dehydrate Fruit: Using an Oven or Dehydrator
Pretreating Your Fruit Before You Begin
This step helps guarantee optimal results when dehydrating fruit at home. It's important to pre-treat your fruit before the dehydration process begins. When you cut most fruits, but particularly apples, bananas and pears, you'll notice they quickly start to turn brown, due to oxidation. This naturally occurring phenomenon doesn't immediately impact the fruit's taste or nutritional value, however, slight oxidation can affect the look of your finished product. So a simple way to reduce the chance of too much oxidation is to use lemon juice.
Lemon Juice Pretreatment Method:
As soon as you've cut your fruit, place it into a bowl with a 1:1 ratio of fresh lemon juice and water (or an ascorbic acid solution) for around 10 minutes.
Lemon juice contains citric acid that acts as an antioxidant. When using lemon juice on apples and pears, the potency of straight lemon juice will impart a citrusy-lemon flavour, which can complement apples well. However, if you prefer a milder lemon taste, you can dilute the juice with an equal amount of cold water. Ensure each fruit piece is coated by stirring them in the lemon juice solution.
After you've pre-treated your fruit, you're ready to start the dehydration process. Before you transfer your fruit to your trays, carefully dry the fruit with a clean towel to remove any moisture from pre-treatment and you're ready to go.
How to Dehydrate Fruit at Home: (Oven Method)
Dehydrating fruit is fairly easy and can be done in just a few simple steps. In fact, you can achieve delicious and nutritious dehydrated fruit simply by using your oven.
Here’s how to dehydrate your fruit at home:
- Preheat your oven to 120°C.
- Slice the fruit into uniform pieces, this will help ensure even drying.
- Place the slices on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Bake for 2-3 hours, turning the fruit every 30 minutes to prevent sticking and promote even drying.
- Allow the fruit to cool before handling.
- Once cooled, store the dried fruit in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
- Enjoy as a snack or add to recipes for extra flavour and texture.
How To Dehydrate Fruit at Home (Dehydrator Method)
If you really want to get serious about dehydrating fruit, or other food for that matter, investing in a dehydrator could be for you. A dehydrator is a type of kitchen appliance used to dry food by circulating warm air over the food. This removes moisture, which helps to keep the food fresh for a longer time. Most dehydrators come with fans to help circulate the air and trays to hold the food. The process of dehydrating fruit using a dehydrator is simple, but it does take some time.
Follow these steps for the best results:
- Preheat the dehydrator to 55°C.
- Slice the fruit evenly (see notes below).
- Place the slices in a single layer on each tray of the dehydrator.
- Dehydrate for 4-6 hours, flipping the fruit every 1-2 hours to prevent sticking and promote even drying.
- Allow the fruit to cool before handling and store it in a container (see storage notes below).
Pro Tips for Dehydrating Fruit at Home
When it comes to dehydrating fruit, there are some things to keep in mind if you want to achieve the best results. Choosing the right temperature to dehydrate your fruit plus deciding how to cut and prepare your fruit will all impact the final results. Because dehydrating is a lengthy process, it's worthwhile adopting some simple tips and tricks to maximise flavour, nutrition and shelf-life for your homemade dehydrated fruit snacks.
Here are some pro tips that will help you achieve perfectly dehydrated fruit every time:
- The recommended temperature to dehydrate most fruits is 57°C. However, it's important to note that lemons and limes should be dried at a lower temperature of 46°C to prevent them from burning.
- The time required for drying fruit is influenced by various factors such as the model of the dehydrator, humidity levels, the thickness of the fruit slices, the quantity of fruit being dried, and the amount of juice in the fruit.
- Before cutting, make sure to rinse the fruit to remove any dirt or chemicals. Or better still, use organic fruit. If you dehydrate the fruit with the skin on, it will retain more nutrition, particularly the polyphenols found in the fruit.
- For best results, choose fruits that are ripe, in season, with a naturally high sugar content, while steering clear of fruits that are overripe or bruised.
- Ensure you spread out your sliced fruit in a single layer on the trays of a dehydrator. For quicker results, it is better to use mesh trays instead of nonstick sheets.
- To speed up the dehydration process, it's worth the effort to halve or quarter blueberries, cherries, and grapes through their skins. Though it may take some time to prep, this will expose their insides to air and help them dry out faster.
- Slice apples, apricots, bananas, mangos, peaches, pears, and strawberries into thin slices that are ⅛-inch to ¼-inch thick.
Conditioning Your Dehydrated Fruit
The process of conditioning encourages any remaining moisture that may have been present in thicker pieces of fruit to properly dry out. To do this, place your newly dehydrated fruit in a glass or plastic container with a lid, ensuring the lid is loosely secured. Then for a week, shake the container daily. If you notice any moisture forming inside, put the fruit back in the dehydrator and dry it again. It's important to thoroughly dry the fruit to avoid the risk of mould growing and spoiling your dehydrated fruit. In which case, you'd have to start again!
How To Store Dehydrated Fruit
Storing your dehydrated fruit properly is important to ensure maximum freshness, nutritional value and shelf life. Here's some ways you can store your dehydrated fruit:
Reusable 'ziplock' bags
This method is great for on-the-go snacks during the day, which would equate to around 100g per serving. You can choose to use traditional ziplock bags or some eco-friendly options that can be cleaned and reused as a more sustainable option.
This method is ideal as a short to medium-term storage solution for your dehydrated fruit. Use glass containers or Mason jars with tight-fitting lids. Choose the smallest possible jar to fit the dried fruit, which reduces the amount of oxygen in the container. If storing for more than a few months, add a 100cc oxygen absorber to the jar.
If you need to store dried fruits for more than a few months, using vacuum sealing or oxygen absorbers can slow down the oxidation process. To do this, place around 100-200g of dehydrated fruit in a ziplock bag. To ensure air can escape while vacuum-sealing, put a small piece of paper across each zipper. Then, pack multiple single-serving fruit packs in a bigger vacuum-seal bag, and add a 100cc oxygen absorber to get rid of any remaining oxygen before vacuum-sealing it.
The Best Fruits For Dehydrating
Almost every fruit can be air-dried, sun-dried, freeze-dried and dehydrated, however, some fruits are better suited to the dehydration process better than others, such as:
- Cantaloupe or Honeydew melon
- Blueberries and Raspberries
Is Dried Fruit Good for Weight Loss?
Yes, dried fruit makes for an excellent snack choice when aiming to shed some weight since it helps curb cravings without contributing to your overall daily energy intake. Research has also revealed that consuming dried fruit can lead to longer satiation, which, in turn, may decrease overall snacking. Furthermore, dried fruit is rich in fibre, as well as vital vitamins and minerals, making it a nourishing addition to any meal plan and healthy diet.
Homemade Dehydrated Fruit: The Proper Healthy Snack
Dehydrating fruit at home is a great way to preserve the nutrients and flavour of your favourite fruits. Not only is dehydrated fruit tasty but it's also full of essential vitamins and minerals that can help support healthy weight loss goals. So why not give dehydrated fruit a try today? By following these steps for successful dehydration and pro tips for best results, you’ll enjoy some delicious dried fruit snacks year-round.
Dehydrated Banana Breakfast Parfait
- 1 cup plain Greek yoghurt
- 1/4 cup dehydrated banana chips, crushed into small pieces
- 1/4 cup granola
- 1/4 cup fresh berries (such as strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries)
- 1 tbsp honey (or maple syrup for vegans)
- Optional: additional toppings such as nuts, seeds, or coconut flakes
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the Greek yoghurt and crushed dehydrated banana chips.
- In a separate mixing bowl, toss the granola and fresh berries together.
- To assemble the parfait, spoon half of the yoghurt mixture into a serving glass or bowl.
- Top the yoghurt with half of the granola and berry mixture.
- Drizzle some honey or maple syrup over the top of the granola and berries.
- Repeat these layers one more time, ending with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
- Top the parfait with any additional toppings you like, such as nuts, seeds, or coconut flakes.
- Serve the parfait immediately or store it in the refrigerator for later.
Dehydrated Peach and Raspberry Crumble
- 1 cup dehydrated peaches
- 1/2 cup dehydrated raspberries
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 tbsp honey (or maple syrup for vegans)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat your oven to 180°C and grease a 20cm baking dish with cooking spray or coconut oil.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the dehydrated peaches and raspberries. Mix them until evenly distributed.
- Transfer the fruit mixture to the prepared baking dish, spreading it out in an even layer.
- In a separate mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, melted coconut oil, honey, ground cinnamon, and salt. Stir everything together until it forms a crumbly mixture.
- Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the top of the fruit in the baking dish.
- Bake the crumble for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly.
- Remove the crumble from the oven and let it cool slightly before serving.
Forest Berry Fruit Leather (Dehydrator)
- 250g mixed fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, mulberries and raspberries work well)
- 2 tbsp. cranberry juice
- ½ tbsp caster sugar
- Blend the ingredients and then spread 1-1¼ cups of the blended fruit over nonstick or backing sheets on dehydrator trays.
- Dehydrate fruit at 55°C for 6–8 hours.
- The easy way to separate dried fruit leather from a nonstick sheet is to flip the leather over and peel away the back sheet. If you find that the bottom of the fruit leather is still slightly moist, you should put it back on the dehydrator trays and continue drying it directly on the mesh.
Storing Fruit Leather
When you tear fruit leather into pieces for packing, it often sticks to itself. To mitigate this issue, if you fold the fruit leather in some baking paper before storage, you should find it doesn't stick.
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