Are you paying a premium for granola with half a cup of dried fruit? Tired of picking through the bag to avoid that one dried fruit you don’t like? Don’t bother with that overpriced, over-sweetened dried fruit from a bag, when you can make it healthier and more delicious right at home.
Birds & Blooms Magazine has shared three easy steps for drying your own fruit that eliminate the need for fancy dehydrators. All you’ll need is a standard gas or electric oven.
Preparing: Select fruit that is ripe but not overripe and is free of bruises. Apples, pears, peaches, berries, cherries, bananas and apricots all work well. Wash and peel the fruit (cherries and apricots work best if dried with the skins on). Remove pits or cores, then slice fruit to desired thickness; make sure to keep the thickness uniform.
Drying: Heat the oven to 170 degrees. Position two racks in the center of the oven. Arrange fruit slices or whole small fruits in a single layer on nonstick baking sheets, making sure the pieces aren’t touching. Keep the oven door slightly ajar during drying and stir fruit every 30 minutes. It can take from four to eight hours to dry out fruit, depending on the thickness of the slices and the fruit’s water content.
Storing: Once the fruit is thoroughly dried, remove trays from the oven and let stand at room temperature for at least 12 hours before placing in storage containers.