Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dried peaches: Lee's first attempt

So the Hubby got a new food dehydrator for Father's Day. He was really excited about it, for one reason because he wants to make some homemade beef jerky. The other is that he and Taylor love dried fruit to snack on. So with all the peaches and nectaries and apricots we have been getting from SLO Veg, we tried our hand at drying fruit.

The process is so simple, I don't know why I never tried it before. Well, actually, I do know why. I didn't ever have a food dehydrator. Nope, I didn't. I know, I can't believe it either! Heck, I just got my first Kitchen Aide mixer for a wedding present 3 years ago! I just always made do with what I had and didn't worry about it. My old mixer was an Oster Kitchen Center, which was cool because it had a lot of attachments like a food processor and blender and ice cream maker. Problem was that I burnt up the motor--twice. My father-in-law always ordered parts and fixed it for me until it finally wore out.

Tart and sweet at the same time, dried Peaches!
Lee was completely in charge of this first fruit-drying endeavor. He read the directions and made a pre-treatment for the peaches consisting of lemon juice. I told him he could add some water, too, to cover it, so he did that and let it sit in the solution for 5 minutes. Then on to the trays went the fruit and he turned on the fan. It makes a low kind of hum, not too terribly annoying. The booklet said it might take 12-16 hours, so since we started it later one evening we figured it would be fine to go all night long.

In the morning the fruit was dried and ready to bag up. Not really sure why he bothered to bag it up, because he and Taylor scarfed so much of it down that there wasn't much to store. It was all gone by the end of the next day, anyway. Time to make some more!

 A few days later after we got our next box of fruits and vegies from SLO Veg, I took a couple each of the peaches, nectaries and apricots and pre-treated the sliced fruit in a pineapple juice mixture. I had just opened up a can of pineapple chunks, and I figured hey, this juice would be perfect for a fruit pre-treatment.

My batch of fruit dried all day long and took about 8 hours. I think the apricots could actually have gone a wee bit longer, but it was a small batch so I just bagged it up and put it in the refrigerator. It will be gone in no time at all. I am not sure how well the fruit would store on the shelf. We are going to have to test that out soon...if I can make the stuff last!

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