<p>No bulky dehydrator is needed to make some dried fruit. The key is to remove the juice from the fruit low and slow in the oven. I'll teach you how!</p>
It's a new year, and you've been making some great strides in eating better and working out. Way to go, girl! Fresh fruit is a great for satisfying that sweet tooth without grabbing a tempting candy bar, but if I have to eat one more apple I'm going to scream. I admit that I'm a bit bored with my daily apple in the afternoons, and I've been looking for something else I can nosh on that gives me more of a sensation of eating potato chips. I started doing some Internet sleuthing and was quite intrigued with dried fruit. However, I have no desire to buy a huge food dehydrator machine because of the price tag and because I have nowhere to store it. So that left me with drying fruit in the oven. The best part is that this helps me stay on track with my Whole 30 eating habits. The dried fruit is also great on my morning yogurt in place of the granola or my healthy steal-cut oatmeal. It's perfect for snacking on in the middle of the day, and the kids love it in their lunch boxes.
Clean all the fruit. Core and slice the apples and strawberries. I dried 2 apples, 6 strawberries, and 2 kiwis. Use a Mandoline Slicer to slice the apple into equally thin slices. Skin and slice the kiwifruit. Dunk the kiwi into a mixture of 1 tablespoon water and 1 tablespoon lemon juice to keep them green during the drying process.
Heat the oven to 275 degrees F. Place cheesecloth over metal drying racks and place on a large jelly-roll pan or directly on your oven grates, depending on how wide they are. Place the fruit on the cheesecloth and bake for 1 hour. Rotate the pans and flip over the fruit. Bake for another hour; rotate and flip again. Bake for another hour. It's now been 3 hours of low and slow drying.
Check your fruit. If it's still soft, bake for another 30 to 60 minutes with the oven door cracked open. I used a large wooden spoon to prop mine open. If it's dry to your satisfaction, turn off the oven but leave the fruit in there until it completely cools. You can leave it in the oven overnight with the light on to dry.
Enjoy your sweet and crunchy snack after your next workout!