Prep your fruit …
- Choose ripe or just overly ripe fruits and berries
- Wash in cold water
- Remove any blemishes
- Remove any pits or stones from stone fruits
- Remove any stems from berries
- Cut and slice fruits evenly so that they will dry within the same time frame
(Optional) Remove the skins …
Some fruits, such as peaches, nectarines, and apples, dry better if the skin has been removed. Score the bottom of each piece of fruit by making a shallow “x” with a paring knife. Bunk into boiling water for 40 seconds, then transfer to a basin filled with ice water. The skins should slip right off.
Soak it …
To keep fruit looking pretty and minimize discoloration, soak it in lemon juice and water. Soak fruit for 10 minutes, drain and blot dry with a lint-free towel.
To the Oven …
Preheat the oven to 130-160 degrees F. Use a lower temperature for thin sliced fruits such as apples or peaches. Strawberries and other whole berries love the higher heat.
Place parchment paper onto sheet pans. Arrange fruit in a single layer, and do not allow pieces to touch. Top fruit with a pizza screen or silicone pan liner to keep them from curling up as they dry.
Place fruit into the oven and rotate pans every 2 hours.
Ok, so how do you know if it’s ready … Dried fruit should feel like leather but still be pliable.
General Cooking Times …
|Citrus Peel||8-10 hours|
When the fruit is ready, remove it from the oven and place in glass or plastic containers to “cure.” Leave the container open for 4-5 days so that any moisture left from the drying process can evaporate. Shake the container every day or so to move the fruit around.
Seal your containers after 5 days and enjoy dried fruits until next harvest season, about 10 months.
Get the holiday spirit early
It’s never too early to get ready for the holidays. Dry slices of oranges for your holiday tree; you can store in a container for up three months!