When the garden is providing ample fruit and you are looking for something different to do with the fruit, consider drying it. Dried fruit is a delicious alternative to fresh, frozen and canned fruit. Almost any fruit can be dried to create tasty and nutritious fruit that's ideal for snacking and baking. Dried fruit retains beneficial nutrients, requires no freezing and occupies less shelf space than canned fruit.
Condition the fruit immediately after drying it. Place the cooled and dried fruit into glass jars or plastic containers. Pack the fruit loosely and tightly seal the containers. This will ensure that the drying process has removed all of the moisture from the fruit.
Place the containers in a cool, dry location and allow the fruit to sit inside the containers for seven to 10 days.
Shake the fruit inside the containers every day to keep the fruit from sticking to each other. Inspect the sides of the containers for condensation during the shaking. The presence of condensation means the fruit has not dried sufficiently and must be returned to a food dehydrator.
Continue shaking and observing for the entire 7-to-10-day period, and then proceed with the final packaging.
Place the conditioned dried fruit in permanent containers for storage. The same plastic or glass jars used during the conditioning period should be suitable. Metal cans or plastic sealing bags also will work. Pack the fruit into the containers as tightly as possible without damaging the fruit. Seal the packages tightly.
Store the packaged dried fruit in a dark, dry and cool location. Check the fruit often to ensure that it is free of moisture, which can contribute to mold and spoilage.
Use your dried fruit within six months to one year.
Things You Will Need
- 1 qt. plastic containers or jars (with tight fitting lids)
- Freezer-strength, self-sealing plastic bags (quart or gallon size)
- Metal container with lid (optional)
- Place the fruit in plastic bags first if sulfur was used during the drying process. Then place the sealed plastic bag into a metal container. Metal and the fumes from sulfur react with each other and the fruit will change color.
- Consider storing the dried fruit in single-serving amounts or amounts commonly used for baking to reduce the times the packaging will be opened. Opening the packaging repeatedly will decrease the fruit's quality over time.
- Always check the quality of the dried fruit before using it to ensure that it is not spoiled.
- Keep dried fruit out of direct light during storage. If your storage location is not dark, place the storage containers in a brown paper bag to shield the fruit from light.