Recipe: Home-dried Fruit Snacks
Make seasonal fruits, garden produce, and pick-your-own orchard bounty last longer by dehydrating them into tasty treats. Dried fruits and other dehydrated foods have fueled my family adventures for decades, from day hikes to month-long expeditions. These snacks have literally powered the crew down hundreds of miles of trail. You'll repay the cost of a basic food dehydrator ($50-$150) in short order (check out www.nesco.com). The energy costs are minimal, even if you run the drier days on end, as I have in preparation for long trips. I barely noticed the bump in my power bill when the dehydrator ran 24/7 for weeks. You’ll also need a food processor/blender and a paring knife, and perhaps an apple corer or cherry pitter if you get really hooked. Follow these steps and you’ll be snacking in no time:
- Start with a batch of fruit from the market or an orchard
- Cut apples/peaches/pears into 1/4” slices and spread in a single layer on trays
- Using the dehydrator, dry the strips at about 135 degrees for 8-12 hours (times will vary with humidity and thickness of slices)
- Let the fruit cool (they should be just slightly pliable)
- Store in airtight baggies in a cool, dark closet of freezer
For fruit leathers (think roll-ups), cook and puree like applesauce, spread evenly on the solid tray accessories that come with your dehydrator, and dry until no wet pockets remain. Roll them in a layer of plastic wrap for storage.
Dried fruit, from apples to blueberries, cherries to peaches, and a medley of fruit leathers will soon be rolling off the drying trays, edible for months afterward as trail mix ingredients, sprinkled on cereal, or by itself. Just be prepared, because you'll soon be expanding into veggies, camp entrees, and jerky.