By Lynnie Stein / September 20, 2022

DIY Dried Fruit

Make the most of the long hot summer by drying your excess fruit and vegetable crops. Sunshine, drying is free and easy. It is easy to do and you will find the end product so much tastier than the bought variety. You will also know that no chemicals or preservatives have been used in its preparation.

DIY (homemade) Dried Fruit

Peel and slice fruit and either sun-dry or dehydrate in electric dryer, depending on the weather.

How to sun-dry fruit

  • Use a solar dryer, or, place fruit on stainless steel cake coolers (aluminium leaves black marks on fruit which would not be very good for anyone’s health) in full sunlight for approximately two days, taking them inside at night so the fruit does not absorb moisture with any dew.
  • Can also use pieces of shade cloth placed on trays.
  • Turn the fruit over after a few hours of strong sun and then check every three or four hours, turning over the thicker pieces if necessary.
  • When sun-drying fruit it is best to cover with fly screens or tulle to discourage flies and beetles.
  • We have also used the shelves out of our electric Nara dehydrator when sun-drying in case the weather changes for the worst.
  • Can then finish off the drying in the dehydrator without handling the fruit.
  • We dry fruit which is seasonal (mango, jackfruit) for our own use, and we dry bananas, pawpaw’s and fruit we have fresh all year round to sell at the market.
fried fruit leather

Fruit Leather

  • To make fruit leather, place plastic sheets cut from oven bags on dehydrator trays.
  • Blend fruit in blender, pour onto plastic sheets and spread with back of a spoon to about a quarter inch thick in centre and a bit thicker on outside edges.
  • Peel off when dry and reuse plastic sheets again.
  • Some successful fruit leather combinations are: pawpaw, banana, passionfruit; pawpaw, honey, carob; pawpaw, banana, coconut; mango, yoghurt, banana.
  • Sprinkle with sumac.

How to Prepare Sliced Fruit for Drying

  • Mango – peel and slice in quarter inch slices.
  • Banana – peel and slice, in quarter inch slices lengthwise or across.
  • Jackfruit – open jackfruit and remove segments.
  • Open each segment by cutting with knife on one side.
  • Remove seed (suitable and yummy for cooking in coconut oil with curry leaf) and flatten to dry.
  • Carambola or Five Corner – slice across in star shaped pieces and dry.
  • (Tastes similar to dried tangy apple).
  • Coconut – husk and de-shell flesh from mature coconut.
  • Grate as fine as desired and layer about half inch thick in a suitable tray for sun drying, or on dehydrator trays with plastic sheets.
  • Stir around every two hours until dry.
  • Be careful if drying in a windy spot as we have had coconut and herbs blown away when dry because they are so light. (Very annoying I might add).
  • Watermelon (The sweetest of all dried fruits).
  • Slice thinly, seeds and all, and dry as for other fruits.
  • Store the dried fruit in plastic bags in airtight containers.
  • After a day or two check the bags for any condensation which will mean the fruit is not dry enough.

Happy drying , healthy living.

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