Dried Fruit Recipes

Dried fruit makes a great snack that keeps for a long time. Although a small amount of nutritional value is lost when drying, the advantages of taking up less space, not requiring electricity to keep preserved like frozen fruit does and lasting up to a year seem to outweigh the loss of a small amount of vitamins C and A and the B family of vitamins.

Many fruits discolor or lose flavor when dried unless they are pre-treated. Commercially dehydrated fruit is pre-treated with potassium sulfate prior to drying, but there’s no need to use chemicals for this. A simple mixture of 1 part citrus juice to 4 parts water makes a good pre-soak which preserves the color and enhances the flavor of most fruits. Also, vitamin C tablets can be crushed and mixed with water and used as a pre-soak. See the pre-soak recipes below.

Select fruit which is fresh and ripe, but not overripe. Cut out any bad spots to keep the entire batch from spoiling and then cut into slices of uniform size. Slices about ¼ inch thick work well. Apples, bananas, peaches, apricots, grapes (homemade raisins!), plums (prunes!) and blueberries all make wonderful dried snacks in your dehydrator.

Two Great Pre-Soak Recipes for Drying Fruit:

Citrus juice and water: Mix lemon or lime juice with water in a 1 to 4 ratio. Soak sliced fruits for 10 minutes, then allow to dry for 10 minutes on paper towels.

Citric acid (vitamin C): Add 1 teaspoon of citric acid crystals to 1 quart of cold water and stir to dissolve. Soak sliced fruit for 10 minutes, then allow to dry for 10 minutes on paper towels.

How To Dry Fruit

Here is a simple dehydrating process for drying fruit:

Step 1. Clean and slice your fruit into ¼ inch segments. Prepare one of the pre-soaks above and pre-treat your fruit.

Step 2. Arrange fruit slices in a single layer on the dehydrator and dry until no moisture is released when the slices are firmly squeezed between thumb and forefinger.

Drying Apples

Apples are especially good when dried. Cut them into ¼ inch slices, rings or chunks or use a mandoline to slice thinly for crispy apple chips. Pre-soak as above, or steam for 3-4 minutes and then rinse immediately with cold water to stop the cooking. Allow to drain on paper towels for 10 minutes and then dry as above.

Drying Blueberries, Grapes or Prune Plums

These won’t dry well unless their skins have been punctured so that the very moist insides are exposed to the air of the dehydrator. Blanching accomplishes this quickly. Simply dip them into fully boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds and then plunge immediately into ice water. Spread onto paper towels to dry for at least 10 minutes. Arrange in a single layer in your dehydrator and dry.

Fruit Leather Recipes

You can easily make yummy fruit leathers at home with fresh fruit, the pulp left over after making jelly or juice, or store bought applesauce or apple butter.

Cooking the fruit first seems to bring out its flavor but raw pureed fruits can also be mixed with plain yogurt and dried as a leather with delicious results.

General Fruit Leather Recipe

1. Wash and core or de-stone fruit. Cut into chunks. You should have 4 cups of fruit. Put in saucepan with ½ cup water, cover and bring to a simmer.

2. Let fruit stew for 10 – 15 minutes until the fruit is soft. Taste for sweetness. You can add sugar, mixing thoroughly after each addition, until the fruit is sweet enough for your tastes. When sugar is completely dissolved remove pot from heat.

3. Add spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or cardamom if you’d like and mix thoroughly.

4. Transfer fruit to a food processor and process until smooth.

5. Line dehydrator trays, on top of the mesh inserts, with parchment paper (do not use wax paper as the wax coating will melt in the dehydrator). Spread fruit puree over parchment paper in an even layer between ⅛ and ¼ inch thick.

6. Dry in your Sunkeep Solar Food Dehydrator until leather is dry but still pliable.

Fruit Leather Art

By combining two different fruit purees you can make fruit leather with personalized messages or designs! For example, use apple puree as the base, then use an icing bag to pipe on a Happy Birthday message with kiwi puree. Or make smiley faces with strawberry puree and pipe on blueberry eyes and smile. The possibilities are endless!

Drying Raw Live Foods

Even live foods can be dried as long as the food is kept below 115 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature in your Sunkeep SFD can be allowed to be somewhat higher, around 120 F, in the early drying stage as the moisture leaving the food will keep the food cooler. If necessary, keep the temperature in the desired range by partially shading your Sunkeep SFD and/or using the lower shelves.

Visit our dried vegetable recipes for creative ideas and tips for drying 8 popular veggies.

Greensmoothie.com also has some terrific recipes for raw foods potato chips, sweet potato chips and curried nuts.

Dried Vegetables Recipes

Dehydrating vegetables is a great alternative to canning and freezing. Dehydrated vegetables retain more nutrition than canned, last longer than frozen, and don’t require power to run your freezer.

Be Creative When Drying Vegetables

  • Sprinkle spices like curry, garlic salt or paprika over your veggies before drying for a tasty treat!
  • Mix dried veggies together and use by the handful in soups and stews.
  • Make your own delicious trail mix with fruits and vegetables.
  • Add a handful of dried vegetables to bread dough for a savory loaf.

Onions:  Sweet onions are delicious dried.  Use Vidalia or other sweet onion varieties.  Dice, spread in a single layer and dehydrate until they are crisp.

Green beans:  Chop into ¼ inch lengths.  Spread in single layer and dry until crisp.

Peppers:  These are terrific for adding flavor to your winter soups, stews and sauces!  Cut peppers open and remove all seeds and the white pith inside.  Slice into strips about ¼ inch wide and ½ inch long.  Spread in a single layer and dehydrate until crisp.

Carrots:  Remember that all food shrinks considerably in the dehydrator.  So, if you want to make delicious carrot chips for snacking, start with large carrots.  Cut into 1/8 inch rounds, spread in a single layer and sprinkle with salt.  Dehydrate until crisp.

You can also dehydrate baby carrots and then add them to soups.  Follow the same steps as for carrot chips, but omit the salt.

Mushrooms:  Wash mushrooms thoroughly and then cut into 1/8 inch slices.  Spread in a single layer and dehydrate until leathery.  These reconstitute nicely in spaghetti sauce or soup.

Tomatoes:  With a sharp, serrated knife, slice tomatoes into 1/8 inch rounds.  Spread in a single layer on dehydrator tray and sprinkle with salt.  Dehydrate until leathery.  These are a delicious snack or can be used in soups and stews.

Broccoli:  Broccoli must be blanched before drying to break down the tough fibers in the stems.  Wash the head well and then cut or break into small flowerettes, about ½ inch across or smaller.  Peel stems and cut into ½ lengths, about ¼ inch in width.  Steam over boiling water for about 5 minutes.  You want the broccoli to be dark green in color, but not mushy.  Spread in single layer on dehydrator tray and dehydrate until crisp.  This is a delicious snack and tastes like fresh broccoli in soups and sauces.

Peas:  If you have fresh peas, shell and wash them.  Steam lightly until the skin is slightly dented.  Rinse immediately in cold water to stop the cooking process.  Arrange in a single layer on the dehydrator tray and dehydrate until crisp.

If you have frozen peas, simply spread them in a single layer on the dehydrating tray and dehydrate until crisp.  It couldn’t be any easier!

Corn:  Husk fresh corn and steam for 5 minutes.  Dunk immediately into cold water to stop the cooking process.  Remove kernels from cob by standing the ear of corn on its end and sawing slowly down from the top with a sharp serrated knife.  Arrange the kernels in a single layer on the dehydrator tray and dehydrate until quite hard.

Frozen corn can be dehydrated just like frozen peas.  Bang the bag of frozen corn on your kitchen counter a few times to break up the clumps of frozen corn.  Then just spread in a single layer on your dehydrator tray and dehydrate until crisp and hard.

Dried Meat and Beef Jerky Recipes

Some precautions must be taken when drying meats or making beef jerky to prevent growth of harmful salmonella and E coli bacteria. The meat sciences lab at the University of Colorado has developed and tested this Hot Pickle Cure and found it extremely effective in killing E coli bacteria. Or use the USDA’s preheating method. Both methods are given below.

To further ensure the safety of your meat, keep it frozen or refrigerated until use. If marinating, do so in the refrigerator. Never re-use marinades. Wash all kitchen implements that come into contact with meat (cutting boards, knives, etc) in hot soapy water.

Dried meats and meat jerky can keep 1 to 2 months at room temperature. For added safety and longer storage, keep them in airtight containers and store them in the refrigerator or freezer.

Hot Pickle Cure Jerky Recipe

This jerky recipe is courtesy of the meat sciences lab at the University of Colorado:

  • Freeze meat slightly to improve slicing quality. Slice 5 pounds of meat into 1/4-inch strips, each approximately 1 inch wide and 5 inches long. Spread pieces out and sprinkle with mixture of 3 Tbsp. salt, 2 tsp. ground black pepper, and 2 Tbsp. sugar. Press spices into meat with rubber mallet or meat grinder. Turn over and repeat spicing process on other side. Place meat strips in flat pan, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Make a brine by dissolving 3/4 cup salt, 1/2 cup sugar, and 2 Tbsp. black pepper in 1 gallon of water. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar and bring to a low to medium boil in large kettle. Place a few meat pieces at a time in the bottom of a 2 – 3-quart steamer basket and lower into brine. Simmer 1 1/2 – 2 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure all pieces are immersed.
  • Remove basket from brine, drain and shake to remove excess water. Using tongs, remove meat pieces and place flat, without touching each other, on clean dehydrator trays or oven racks. Repeat process until all meat pieces have been pickled in the brine solution. Note: You will need to replace the brine after several dippings, as the solution begins to foam and produces less desirable results.
  • Place pieces in pre-heated dehydrator and be sure it maintains a temperature of 145 degrees F (62.5 degrees C). Dry for 8 – 10 hours, or until pieces reach desired dryness. Remove jerky from dehydrator before it gets too hard or brittle. Properly dried jerky is leathery and chewy; it should crack when bent in half, but it should not break into two pieces. After drying, let pieces cool, then place in open plastic bags or glass jars. Leave bags or jars open overnight to allow pieces to temper, then close and store in a cool dry, dark place, or the refrigerator or freezer.

Source: You and Your Wild Game, 1984 by R.A. Field and C.A. Raab, University of Wyoming Agricultural Extension Service, B-613R, p.58.

Making Meat Jerky Safely With USDA Preheating Method

The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline’s current recommendation for making jerky safely is to heat meat to 160 °F and poultry to 165 °F before the dehydrating process. After heating to 160 °F or 165 °F, check to be sure your Sunkeep SFD is maintaining a temperature of 130 to 140 °F on the shelf you are using during the drying process. We recommend putting the meat inside the Sunkeep SFD in the morning to be sure you will have the 4 – 6 hours necessary to finish the process.