We love the Community Co-op and so we order it each week. We mix it up and order different items sometimes but most of the time we get the Standard Share. We love getting all the fruits and veggies.
Somehow we ended up with way too many pieces of fruit than we weren't going to be able to eat before they went bad. Due to this, I had to come up with something so they didn't go to waste. One idea I had was to make Apple Turnovers, which turned out great. But, even after that I still had 16 apples, 10 oranges, 6 pears, 4 kiwis and 2 grapefruits.
I knew we would eat the kiwis because they are delicious but the rest of it was up for grabs. We had 4 days before we left town for a bit, which was just not enough time for 2 people to eat 38 piece of fruit. As a solution, I decided to dehydrate everything but the kiwis.
Here are the basic steps to dehydrating fruit:
1. Clean your dehydrator. Do not put anything related to the motor in water, just hand clean it with a sponge.
2. Put your mesh tray mats on each level of your dehydrator to make clean up a lot easier.
3. Cut up all your fruit. If you are cutting up something like an apple or a pear that will brown, put your cut up fruit in lemon juice for a few minutes before dehydrating it. This will keep it from turning brown.
4. Since I had so much fruit it took me a while to cut it all up. Instead of leaving the fruit out while I cut up the rest of the fruit I stored the cut up fruit in zip lock bags in the fridge until I was ready to put all the fruit on the dehydrator and start it up.
5. Place all your fruit in the dehydrator. Make sure it is all lying flat and each piece as a little bit of space around it.
6. Turn on your dehydrator and let it run for about 4 hours and then check your fruit for the first time. Each type of fruit, depending on the type of fruit and how much moisture is naturally in it - as well as depending on how thick you cut each piece, will dehydrate at a different rate. So, keep an eye on your items and remove the ones that are done and leave the others on for longer.
7. I ran my dehydrator for about 30 - 35 hours and I was dehydrating oranges, grapefruits, pears and apples, but each dehydrator will be a little different.
We are planning on using our dehydrated fruit for snacks, but you can also use them in baked goods or for emergency food storage as well. Enjoy!
Here are a few additional bonus tips about storing dehydrated fruit:
1. Any clean, airtight, moisture-proof container will work. Heavy zip lock bags are great.
2. Fill each bag as much as possible. I would recommend storing the zip lock bag in a metal can, such as a shortening can, to keep out insects if you are using you dehydrated food for food storage.
3. You can put the dehydrated food directly in to a glass jar without using a zip lock bag if you would like. Make sure the glass jar has a tight fitting lid.
4. If you use a tupperware container, or any plastic container, you should also use a zip lock bag to store your dehydrated food because plastic containers are not airtight.
5. Store your food in a cool, dark and dry location to maintain the highest quality. Try to not put them directly on the floor.
6. Label your dried food and try to use it within the year if possible.