How to dehydrate Autumnal fruits

Three Mason Cash bowls of Autumnal fruits (apples and pears) ready for peeling and preserving. Image by Emma Lee -

Autumn. The season of harvest. Of turning leaves. Of cool, crispy mornings and beautiful sunny days. Of apples, pears, and figs (oh my!). Dehydrating Autumnal fruits is one of the easiest ways to preserve the abundant bounty this time of year. Dehydrate now and reap the benefits for months to come. I’m thinking dried figs in my spiced granola or apple slices in a apple mojito. Best of all they are a cracking lunchbox treat or snack during the day.

Using a dehydrator is the simplest way to dehydrate fruit. Yes, you can also dry in your oven, but I always tend to use my dehydrator overnight as I’m not one to leave my oven on while I sleep. It sits in the laundry, humming, all night, out of everyone’s way. I just load it up before bed, turn it on and eight hours of sleep later, I wake up to preserved fruits that just need to be put in airtight containers (I use jars).

A dehydrator simply just dries the produce at a low, constant temperature to remove moisture and preserve it. I dehydrate different fruits and veg at different times of the year, depending of what’s growing in the garden or in season. This is a bit of an idea of what I like to dehydrate on a seasonal basis…

Summer – mango, peach, apricot, tomatoes
Autumn – apple, pear, fig, garlic
Winter – lemon, lime, blood orange (hello G&T’s)
Spring – berries, cherry

Two jars of dehydrated apple and pears ready to be sealed in airtight jars and preserved for use later. image by Emma Lee
Big Mason Cash bowls of fruit beside two jars of dehydrated apple and pears. Image by Emma Lee

To dehydrate

Simply slice (peeling and coring is optional) your fruit either by hand or with a mandoline. I set my mandoline to roughly a 3mm slice. Make as many slices as you can dehydrate in a batch and lay them out onto the stacked, dehyrators racks. Try to give the fruit a little breathing room around each piece to ensure they don’t stick together. Set the dehydrator to 55 degrees celcius and turn the dehydrator on. Dehydrate for 8 hours. Lets cool and store in an airtight container.

Note: For fruits that brown due to oxidation. After slicing, drop into a bowl of 2 cups water/juice of 1 lemon for a few minutes. Drain and pat dry with a tea towel to remove excess moisture. Arrange on the dehydrator racks as usual.

Happy dehydrating x

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