Guide | DIY Dried Fruits

Guide | DIY Dried Fruits

A how-to guide to making your own dried fruit, its different than hang drying your gi.

Intro

This time of year, unless you are in the lucky states that only have two seasons, marks the start of delicious fruit, berry and vegetable seasons. With these seasons upon us we must be prepared to really capitalize on getting the most out of it. I don’t mean just in the moment either, think of setting up submissions, do you really expect the first one you try will work? No, you use it to set up the next move, worse case scenario, you get the benefits right away but I like to always be thinking 10 steps ahead. Thus getting ready for all these fresh produce, I am planning on enjoying them year round by making my own dried fruits, berries and vegetables. You can also join me for the ride with this how to guide on dried fruit.

Why make your own dried fruit?

The art of drying fruit is a fantastic practice that has been around for longer than most of the things around you currently besides water and air. This day in ages everything store bought costs and arm and a leg and are really packed with a ton of artificial sugars. We already lack in our fruits and vegetable consumption on a daily basis and are usually over board on sugars. Why not take a minute and learn how to make a much healthier and more beneficial dried fruit product right in our own home. I mean we devote so much time to jiu jitsu, let’s take a step back again and pay homage to a truly ancient technique that has proven to not just be a passing fad.

We all have guys like this at the gym and even they can dehydrate their own fruit...and smother you from side control for 6 minutes straight.
We all have guys like this at the gym and even they can dehydrate their own fruit…and smother you from side control for 6 minutes straight.

With the process being so old you can imagine all of the ways it can be done. They range from natural methods of just using a hot sunny day to expensive and super high tech dehydrators that will run you quiet a bit of money. We don’t always have sunny days, or do not have access to an area that doesn’t have birds that will come eat our fruit. But one thing the majority of us have is an oven. This is the primary method I will be focusing on.

What happens when we dry fruit?

Drying of fruit is in essence the slow dehydration of a fruit or vegetable. Think of your skin after a long couple hours of hard training, it gets wrinkly and dried out looking, why is that do you think? Because we are working out for extended periods of time in a hot room and loosing moisture. Well drying fruits take that same approach and replaces you and your training partners with fruits and the gym with a oven set between 130-200 degrees F.  Average is 170 degrees.

If only all BJJ competitions were this organized...
If only all BJJ competitions were this organized…

By starting this process when a fruit is at the peak season you will capture the best flavors of that fruit and then they can be enjoyed for many months that follow. There are many benefits to dried fruits including;

Convenience

      • Much cheaper to buy fresh and dry in bulk yourself
      • Can be done easily in an oven, dehydrator or in the open sun.
      • The weight and space required to carry dried fruit is a fraction of fresh
      • Great to add into other meals for added flavor and nutritional benefit.
      • Example: dried cranberries in chicken salad
This is what we look like after a long class in the summer time, we just don't taste or smell nearly as good.
This is what we look like after a long class in the summer time, we just don’t taste or smell nearly as good.

Nutritionally

      • They have practically zero fats
      • Great source of dietary fiber
      • Low in sodium
      • Easy source of vitamin A, C and K along with other essential minerals
      • Home made has only natural sugars found within the fruit rather an artificial/chemical sweeteners

What foods can I dehydrate?

The best answer is honestly any fruit, berry or vegetable can be dried in the oven or dehydrator. But here is a list of the more widely available options with their peak season and suggested dehydration time.

Pick a partner, it'll be 240 - 720 minute rounds.
Pick a partner, it’ll be 240 – 720 minute rounds.

Fruit | Season | Cooking time
Apples | Fall | 6 hours
Apricots | Summer | 12 hours
Bananas | Winter | 6 hours
Cherries | Summer | 12 hours
Cranberries | Fall | 8-10 hours
Grapes | Summer-Fall | 8-10 hours
Herbs | All | 2-4 hours
Oranges | Winter | 8-10 hours
Snap Peas | Spring | 6 hours
Peaches | Summer | 6 hours
Pears | Fall | 6 hours
Plums | Summer | 6 hours
Strawberries | Spring | 12 hours

How to guide

Basic Recipe
Fruit/berry/vegetable of choice
For berries & stone fruits
Lemon juice: ½ cup
Water: ½ cup

This is a mandolin, be careful while using it or youll have less fingers to tape at class.
This is a mandolin, be careful while using it or youll have less fingers to tape at class.

Equipment List
Oven
Sheet tray/baking dish
Parchment paper
Mandolin slicer or knife
Optional Baking rack
Optional Silicone pad

    1. Set your oven to the lowest temperature or appropriate temperature based on fruit. A good average temp is 170 degrees F.
    2. Select ripe fruit of choice. Wash in cold water then remove any blemishes, stems or pits. Slice into thin uniform sized pieces to ensure even drying.
    3. If using berries or stone fruits soak in lemon juice + water for 10 minutes then blot dry.
    4. Place sliced fruit in an even layer on parchment lined sheet tray without overlapping.
    5. Place in the oven for the appropriate time with the oven door slightly open, use a wooden spoon or chop stick in the hinge to hold it open. But this step is no necessary it will work if the door is closed.
    6. Rotate the tray halfway through to ensure even dehydration.
    7. Remove from the oven once the fruit is leathery and dried looking (after required time) and cool at room temperature for a few hours.
    8. Transfer the dried fruit to a dry air tight container.

Storage/travel

Bulk Storage: The best ways to store as a whole is in large air tight containers in a dry and cool area. Always give the fruit a little shake every couple days or so to avoid any sticking and moisture that might of snuck into the container.

Portioned: If you really like to plan ahead go on and mi your dried fruits into proportioned zip lock baggies approximately ¼ cup in each bag for an easy grab and go snack on the way to work or the gym.

This message was brought to you by Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, now go train!

Images via:HintOfTropical
AnEdiblemosaic
VHDA
KitchenAudition

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