Dried fruit is waiting to be made in your oven.
Some people assume that you need a dehydrator to make dried fruit. Those people would be wrong. All you need to turn fresh fruit into tasty dried fruit is an oven and some patience.
Granted, if you’re planning on launching a dried fruit business, investing in a dehydrator may be worth your while, but if you just want to dabble, your oven is a cheaper, and space-saving way to make these delicious, naturally sweet treats.
Drying fruit is as simple as drying out the fruit at a very low temperature for a very long time. You’re removing the water from the fruit so that it will keep and you can preserve it far into the winter months. The other nice thing about drying your own fruit is that you can cut down on sweetener as many packaged dried fruits have sugar added to them.
You can dry pretty much any type of fruit that you want, but different fruits will take different amounts of time. Here is a great basic guide that will give you an idea of what to expect depending on what you’re drying.
What kinds of dried fruit can you make in your oven? So many. Here are 7 different ones you can make right now:
Doused in some cinnamon, don’t baked apple chips sounds like the best seasonal treat ever? Yes, yes they do, and they’re easy to make. The chips take a little less time than drying apples out, so is perfect for when you’re short on time.
Pears are something that you can buy up a lot of at the fall farmers market, and then dry big batches for use later in the winter when fresh fruit is but a distant memory.
If you have some cherries left over from summer, drying them is a great way to preserve them, and turns them into a great condiment for winter oatmeal and beyond.
4. Lemons and oranges
Dried citrus fruit can be a nice addition to a warm cup of tea, and also perfect for garnishing seasonal baked goods and desserts.
Let’s be real for a second: “dried plums” is just a fancy way of saying “prunes.” For some reason prunes have a bad reputation, but they can be used in cakes and breads, eaten on their own, or even thrown into a salad. And if prunes aren’t your thing, what about a plum fruit leather?
This bright orange fruit always confused people. “What do I do with this?” you ask yourself as you pick it up. Well now you know: you slice them, dry them and enjoy in everything from yogurt to trail mixes.
Dried cranberries are a popular ingredient in everything from cookies to salads, but you don’t have to buy them at the store. Round up a batch of fresh red berries, add some honey, and make your own sweet dried cranberries.
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Image: storrebukkebruse, Benjamin Esha