How to Make Dried Fruit Without a Dehydrator

1:07 PM

Maybe it was the bag of "smoothie fruit" hanging out in my freezer that I kept having to pass by each morning (because starting a blender at 5:45am is really mean.)

Maybe it was the tidal wave of "healthy alternatives to Halloween treats" that other bloggers had been posting.

Or maybe it was the six hour train trip to Chicago looming in the back of my mind.

But I knew I needed a bowl of dried fruit, pronto!

Well, guess what? As hippie-dippy as you may think I am, I do not own a dehydrator. This is partially due to the fact that I lump being frugal in with being "green". I am so surprised at the number of self-proclaimed Earth-lovers who own an Excalibur, a fancy yogurt-maker, a Vitamix, a 10-layer sprouter, a nut-milk maker, an expensive juicer... and more! While I'm jealous, and can see the logic (and almost taste the deliciousness) I can't help but smile at the lack of 'eco-kitchen appliances' I've managed to get by with.

When I want to juice: I blend in a mini blender and strain. (Or I bring my produce to my mom's house.)
When I want to make nut milk - same process. Add a bit of sea salt, vanilla and stevia.
When I want to sprout, I toss some soaked seeds in a mason jar and top it with cloth held by a rubber band.
When I want to make yogurt, trusty mason jar comes out again, this time warmed in a crock pot.
When I want to can some preserves, well.. I head to my mom's again. She's got that nice big pan that does the trick.

And when I want to dehydrate, I do the lazy-Amy-method. Follow along.

So here I have a big bag of "smoothie fruit" from the farmers' market. Cal picks this up for me from time to time, and if I was smart I'd use it on my days off when I can eat a leisurely breakfast at a reasonable hour. But on those days all I want is an elaborate cheesy egg breakfast, since that's too much work before a morning shift. So smoothies often go by the way side, hence this bag.

Step one: preheat oven to the lowest you can get it. Mine was 170F.

Step two: prep your fruit. Mine needed to be thawed. Then I tossed it with lemon juice. If you're using apples for dried apple rings, try peeling, coring, and thinly slicing them, then tossing them with lemon juice and cinnamon. If you're using grapes for raisins (or cranberries, or cherries) leave as is. Bananas can be thinly sliced also.

Step three: lay in a single layer on a baking sheet. Mine was lined with a slip-mat but you could use parchment or nothing at all.

Step four: let them dry. For hours! Mine took 5 hours to dry.

Step five: store. Since ours won't last even a few days a small lidded container was perfect. If your fruit isn't perfectly dried you might like to leave it in an open container to dry out more, but if it seems nice and dehydrated you can store it in an air-tight container for quite a while.

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