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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dehydrating fruit

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Today I finally got around to starting my blog...and about time too!

Dehydrating fruit. 

Kumquats and apples in the dehydrator.

Last week I bought a food dehydrator. I had seen these before but never thought that I would really use one. I thought it was finally time to give it a go since I had been buying dried fruit pots at the supermarket lately and found that just about all of them are loaded with extra sugar. Since buying my dehydrator I have used it twice and I love it! 
The natural taste of the fruit really does come through and you don't need the extra sugar in it. The fruit is sweet enough on it's own with it's natural sugars. In fact I think it tastes much, much better without that extra sweetness added and we all know it is much healthier for us too.

Pink lady apples.
I started with kumquats as we have an abundance of these on our tree out the back and no one really eats them apart from my husband who will pick at them occasionally but mostly they go to waste. I also had some pink lady apples in the fruit bowl and I just knew these would taste great as chips.


Mandolin used to slice apple thinly.

 
Firstly I sliced the kumquats using a knife and then I used a mandolin to slice the apples very thinly. One apple takes up approx. one tray.

 
Kumquats sliced and placed on dehydrator rack.











Once I had all the fruit sliced and loaded onto the dehydrator racks it was time to turn it on and let the dehydrator do it's thing. It takes a few hours for the fruit to dry so you have time for a nice cuppa or to catch up on other things.

 










Apple slices on the rack ready to be dried. 














 The apples were the first to be ready as the kumquats have a higher juice content so they take longer. You will find this with different fruits that they will vary in drying times. I took the apples out of the dehydrator and placed them on a paper towel to cool before putting them into an airtight container. I then did the same with the kumquats once they were ready. You need to let the fruit cool so that they don't sweat and go soggy. The dried fruit can last for about two weeks if kept in an airtight container or plastic bag as long as you get most of the air out to keep them fresh. They only lasted us two days before they were all eaten!

Dried apple resting on a paper towel.

If you wonder what the kumquats taste like when done like this, just think of tangy sherbet or those sour candy lollies that are a favourite with kids.

Dried kumquats resting on a paper towel.
The next time we dehydrate kumquats we are going to dip the end of each piece in melted chocolate as a special treat. I saw this recipe on the internet and thought it was too delicious not to try.


I also want to try drying vegetables like zucchini and mushroom etc. as they would be great added to soups and other dishes. Tomatoes would be perfect for this!

I think I will get a lot of use out of my new dehydrator! :-)