Here's How To...
Dry Fruit

There has been a recent resurgence in dried foods, yet it is one of the oldest methods of food preservation. Part of its popularity is that dried foods can be eaten alone or used in cooking.

Drying takes the moisture out of food and microorganisms that lead to spoilage can no longer grow. Consequently, foods that have been dried correctly have a long shelf life.

1938 Print Merced Peaches

Drying Methods

Solar drying is a variation of sun drying that requires three to five consecutive days
of at least 95 degrees and low humidity.

Oven drying is the most user-friendly method. However, it is not recommended for repeated use because it requires a lot of energy, which can be expensive.

This method also produces darker, more brittle, and less flavorful fruit compared to other methods.

Electric dehydrators vary in levels of sophistication and can be purchased or made at home. This method creates the highest quality product.

Nutritional Value

Dried fruits are high in fiber and carbohydrates and low in fat. Dried fruits are also more calorie dense than fresh fruits so the serving size for dried fruits is half that of fresh.

Vitamins A and C are destroyed during dehydration. Sulfites may help to prevent these losses, but that leads to the destruction of thiamin.

Selection, Prep and Storage

When drying fruits, select ripe fruits but do not use citrus fruits (they contain too much water).

After the fruits have been washed, remove any bruises, stems, cores, pits, and sometimes skins, depending on the type of fruit.

Dried fruit at the supermarket is typically found prepackaged in the fresh produce or canned food aisles. Make sure no mold or abnormal smell is present before eating.

Many recipes require fruit to be rehydrated, or refreshed, and cooked until tender. Dried fruits can also be used as a topping or in breads, desserts, and granola.

Dried fruit should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark, dry place. Refrigeration is not necessary but the cooler the temperature, the longer the food lasts.

Sources: University of Missouri Extension
Christeena Haynes, nutrition and health education specialist, (417) 345-7551.


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