Top tips for drying your own fruit at home
For the last week I have been drying kiwifruit for my local school. We live in a kiwifruit orchard area & at this time of the year it is everywhere. Drying fruit when it is abundant is a fantastic way to preserve your surplus fruit to enjoy for the rest of the year.
I love how the flavour intensifies & how long you can keep dried fruit! As we eat with the seasons it is nice to have stores of dried fruits that we don't have for the rest of the year. I use it in our homemade muesli, for the kids lunch boxes & snacks.
Mostly you need to peel fruit before drying as the skin can get pretty tough. I find using a small serrated knife the easiest for kiwifruit and other soft fruits, removing both ends first so you have a flat base to work with. Slice them into same sized pieces so the dry at the same amount of time.
Apples, bananas, feijoas & pears need to be popped into acidulated water, water with lemon juice added, before drying.
I had little Sunbeam dehydrator for the longest time until it finally popped it's clogs last year. Now I use perforated (holy)trays in a 60°C oven for 12 hours. You can get perforated trays from any good cooking equipment store or often pizza trays have these holes in them.
Rub some coconut oil or a neutral oil like rice bran onto the trays to stop them sticking. Hopefully you can get the kids to help you peel them!
Doing multiple trays at a time is more cost effective and you can do different fruits in the oven or dryer at the same time but try and stick to 1 fruit per tray as depending on the size you cut them they may dry at slightly different times.
Once completely dried out store dried fruit in glass jars. Firstly they look pretty, secondly you can sterilise them & they impart no flavour as I find plastic does. So if you like me have a surplus of kiwifruit on your hands at the moment, get your dry on!