Fruit is one of the easiest things to begin dehydrating in the Luvele Breeze. Many fruits require little or no special pre-treatment whatsoever so you can enjoy dried fruit for snacking or long term storage in no time at all.
Dehydrating fruit is best done at the peak of the season when all your favourite fruits are in abundance and the cheapest. For the tastiest dried goodies, choose fruits that are good quality, ripe and full of flavour.
Wash the fruit to remove debris, dust or insects from the skin, this is especially important if you’re planning to leave the skin on. Dry the fruit with a clean cloth or paper towel. Cut away any blemishes and remove the core, pips and stones. Then pre-treat where recommended.
Skins and peel effect the taste, texture and appearance – but the decision to remove or leave it on comes down to personal preference. If the skin is edible it can be left on. The skins on these granny smith apple and cinnamon chips look pretty and make them deliciously chewy. You might choose to remove the skins on fruits that have a natural protective wax coating e.g. figs, grapes and prunes or from non-organic produce to lessen your exposure to pesticides. If you do want to remove skins continue reading as we cover this in pre-treatment options below.
One of the keys to even drying is to ensure that your fruit is cut to a consistent thickness. Not all fruits can be cut or prepared in the same way, however. Depending on their size, shape and water content, you will have to cut the fruits in different ways to properly dehydrate them. See the chart at the bottom of this post for a guide to specific fruits.
The best part about dehydrating small fruit, such as berries, is the minimal preparation needed to get them ready. Small fruit, with a high-water content (such as blueberries and grapes) that are too fiddly to cut, actually dehydrate faster when their skins are cracked. With a simple pre-treatment described below, you can take several hours off the dehydrating time and keep the small fruits whole.
For larger fruits, it is important to cut everything into evenly sized pieces. A mandolin is a handy tool when preparing large quantities for drying and will allow you to slice in uniform thickness. To get the best result be sure to slice your fruit between 5mm and 10mm in thickness. Any thicker than this and the food may not dry evenly.
There are some fruits that just break the standard cutting rules. Pulpy fruits, such as mango are especially hard to slice in uniform pieces, (do the best you can), and melons are basically just water, so it's best to cut them 10-15 mm.
Pre-treatment refers to a range of processes done prior to dehydrating that help to retain colour and flavour, improve rehydration time and texture, and increase shelf life. Because fruit have enzymes that decompose in a different way to vegetables, pre-treatment is (mostly) an optional step but it does have some advantages if you plan to keep your dried fruits in long term storage.
Commercially prepared dried fruit are bright in colour because they have been dipped in a sulphur or sulphate preservative before drying. We don’t recommend you do that! Fortunately, there are simple and natural preservative options. This treatment is mostly done for aesthetic reasons (to prevent browning on fruits such as bananas, apples, pears and stone fruit) but it also has the side benefits of extending shelf life, preventing possible bacterial growth and improving the flavour of subtle tasting fruits.
Any fruit juice high in vitamin C can be used as a preservative substitute and works wonderfully. We find the simplest form is freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Method: Stir 1 cup lemon juice into 4 cups of water. Dip the fruit for 1-5 minutes, and then drain well. For a less tart taste however, pineapple or orange juice can also be used. It’s worth sampling them all to see which you prefer.
Spritzing the prepared fruit with the juice solution in a spray bottle is a handy cheats method but may not coat the fruit as well as soaking.
Blanching is dipping the fruit in boiling water for a short time. Doing so is a pre-treatment to perforate the skin in order to speed up the drying time or help remove the skins altogether.
If you do want to remove skins from fruits such as peaches or tomatoes, dip them in boiling water for 1-2 minutes or until the skins start to crinkle and lift. Next, place them in cold water for another 60 seconds. The skins will peel off easily by hand. You can then proceed to slice and lay on the trays.
If you want to crack the skin to speed the drying time of a fruit – generally done for preparing grapes or blueberries, submerge the fruit in boiling water just until you see the skins crack. Run under cold water immediately so that the skins don’t lift off entirely.
Lay fruit evenly onto the trays. Do not overlap them as this may inhibit airflow and drying. Also, don’t add new fruit to your dehydrator while fruits are mid-way dehydrating - this will cause partially dried fruit to absorb moisture and slow down the process.
Drying times will vary, depending on the water-content of the fruit, the thickness of the slices, and the weather.
The Luvele Breeze Dehydrator has a temperature range of between 25°C - 75°C. The temperature range 35 - 45°C is ideal for drying fruit while retaining the nutrient profile of the fruit in a raw state. This low temperature will dehydrate foods slowly. It’s best to place thinly sliced or small pieces at this temperature. A temperature range between 50 - 75°C is ideal for fruit with a high-water content. If you are unsure, choose 50°C .
Don't be tempted to turn the Breeze dehydrator up high to speed up the process. Setting the temperature too hot may cause the skins of certain fruits to get hard and prevent the inside from drying properly. If fruit is insufficiently dried it can grow mould during storage.
Refer to the table below for estimated drying times for fruits.
As a general rule fruit is done dehydrating when it becomes leathery and flexible but is not sticky. It should be dry, but not so dry that it’s brittle. To test - tear it. When you look along the tear, there should be no moisture beading. Please note, that there are always exceptions. Some fruits, such as prunes, raisins, and dates will remain sticky.
All commercial frozen fruits can be dehydrated without pre-treatment. Simply run it under cold water for a few seconds to separate the pieces, then slice if necessary and arrange it on the trays.