Dried fruit is an easy grab-and-go, healthy snack. There are some great options in the grocery store, but many contain added sugar, sulphur dioxide, or other preservatives. Fruit, especially dried, is sweet enough without more sugar poured on, and I don’t want to eat chemicals! The ‘Peeled’ snack line of dried fruits are a great option. They offer many delicious flavors of organic, sugar-free fruit snacks.
From their website…”We source the highest quality organic and natural ingredients without the use of refined sugar, oil, or preservatives. Peeled Snacks provide a natural source of fiber, vitamins and minerals, and are gluten-, soy-, and dairy-free.” I Love these sweet snacks!Image Courtesy of Peeledsnacks.com
You can also make your own dried fruits at home! If you own a dehydrator, it as simple as laying the fresh or canned (with no added sugar) fruits on the mats and plugging in the machine…then waiting, and waiting. Dried fruit takes time, that’s for sure. Here are the general time and temperature guidelines for drying your own fruit in a dehydrator.
Make sure the fruit is cleaned and pitted. Taking off the skin will speed up the process. Most fruits should be sliced 3/8″-1/2″ thick. If it is sliced too thin, it will shrivel up too small as it dehydrates. I also found that if strawberries are cut up too small they just shrivel up into little gooey, seedy, things that are not too tasty.
Fruit can also be dehydrated in the oven. Turn you oven on the lowest it will go. If it is close to 130-140 degrees-(which most ovens are not) the times will be similar to the dehydrator. The higher the temperature of your oven the less time the fruit will take. Keep checking until the fruit is the consistency you desire. You can dry your fruits on a silpat or parchment paper covered baking sheet. A cooling rack on top of a baking sheet also works well! The following table is for a 200 degree oven with fruit placed on baking sheets. Drying times will defer depending on thickness of fruit slices and ovens.Dried fruit is a great snack by itself, on top of yogurt, or sprinkled on cereal. Add it to a homemade trail mix, or add it into baked goods!
6 Reasons I Prefer A Dehydrator:
1. A dehydrator is much safer than a open oven. Even though it is a low temperature the open oven could be dangerous for young children, and pets.
2. You don’t have to stay at home while the dehydrator is running
3. A little easier on the environment
4. Most dehydrators can fit more food than a standard oven can, at one time
5. Herbs, vegetables, and meats are also great to dry in a dehydrator!
6. Drying your own fruit is much less expensive than buying it in the store!
Do you own a dehydrator? Do you prefer the oven method?