How to Dehydrate Fruit Using the Oven
Want a healthy fruit snack but your fruit does not always keep as long as you want it? You have thought about dehydrating the fruit to have it last longer but you don't really want to put the money into getting a dehydrator since you are not making a large enough quantity to feel like buying one is worth it? What if you don't like how it comes out? These questions pass through your mind as you opt out of buying fruit and instead take a turn down the snack aisle, where you know those snacks won't last long enough to go bad.
Well there is a way for you to have your healthy fruity snack, and not have to spend money on anything but the fruit. You can use your oven to dry out your fruit, cutting back on worrying about your hot apartment making your fruit go bad within a couple days, or feeling like you have to eat all the fruit you bought in the few days that it is in its ultimate ripeness.
It is fairly easy! I use the oven to dehydrate Bananas and Granny Smith apples and recently used it on strawberries. I also plan on using it on apples the next time my favorite apple is in season (So I can have my favored Fuji apple all year, If I don't eat it all because Apple chips are awesome!). I have also heard you can use the oven to dehydrate citrus fruits, which I will have to try at some point.
You may be surprised when you find yourself addicted to these delicious snacks, and imagine dipping them in a nice dark chocolate sauce. Dark chocolate being a little more healthy than milk chocolate.
Conditioning: Your dried fruit after the oven
If you plan on making your dehydrated fruit last for a while you might want to condition it. Though you may find that it won't be necessary as Most find dehydrated fruit addicting and soon have all of it consumed within the week.
Conditioning the fruit:
- Take the newly dehydrated fruit and put it into a lidded jar, like a mason jar. Don't fill it all the way, you need room to shake the dried fruit.
- Once or twice a day for a week shake the jar. This will evenly distribute any remaining moisture between the fruit. (Dehydrating does not get the moisture out 100%)
- If the jar starts to condense the fruit was not dehydrated enough and you can try the dehydrating process again for half an hour to an hour.
- After a week your fruit should be completely dry and good for about 6 months if kept in container and kept from moisture. It can be kept up to a year if stored in a 60F environment.
Conditioning keeps the dried fruit from molding, because dehydrators don't get moisture out 100% inside the closed jar the moisture evenly dispersed does not attract mold.
Oven Dried Fruit
Oven Dried Strawberries
Oven Dried Strawberries
- 4 cups Strawberries
- 1 Baking sheet, ( I use an 18x12)
- 1 Sheet Parchment paper
- 1 Oven
- 1 Spatula, If you don't want to flip over the strawberries with just your fingers
Oven Dried Strawberries
- Preheat oven to 200F
- Wash your Strawberries, cut off the hull (the green part around and including the stem) and slice in half or quarters depending on the size of the strawberry.
- Cover you baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper
- Lay your Strawberry slices so that no piece is touching
- Place sheet in oven. If you have a non conventional oven, you will need to open the oven every half an hour to increase air circulation otherwise put a timer for 1.5hrs
- At 1.5hrs flip the strawberries over. You can use a spatula or simply just peel it off the parchment paper and flip it over. I find just peeling it and flipping it is easier, just be careful of the hot pan.
- Put back in and set timer for another 1.5hrs
- When the timer goes check to see if the strawberries still look a little moist. You don't want them brittle but you don't want them too squishy either. If you were to put one in a jar and and shake it, it should rattle. If they need more time I usually put them in for another half an hour and check. If still not ready I repeat.
- Let cool for 30 minutes when done.
Apples and Bananas
Bananas and Apples
Bananas and apples, when Dehydrating them, you can add an additional step besides just slicing them and drying them out like you do with the strawberries. Since these are considered "Browning" Fruits. To Keep these fruits from browning when you dehydrate them you can brush on, or dip them in, ascorbic acid based juices like orange, lemon, or pineapple juice. If you buy the little lemon bottle, I usually just drip and then brush the juice on. The bananas just need a drop on each side, you don't even need to brush it on.
I tend to cut my bananas and apples thicker than normal so they might cook longer than the 3hrs. The time depends on thickness and how much juice is in the fruit. Don't get discouraged if it takes a little longer, it will be very good when it is done.
Citrus Fruits, when Dehydrating them, you want to get as much of the access juice soaked up as possible before you pop them in the oven to cook them for 2hrs at 200F. If you take your desired fruit and slice it into rings, rind and all, you can place them between 2 towels and lightly press down to soak up any juice that might be spilling out. You don't have to do this but if you do not it will probably double your dehydrating time to almost 4hrs, depending on how much juice is actually in there.