How to Make Dried Fruit Without a Dehydrator

No bulky dehydrator is needed to make dried fruit. (Hint: The key is low and slow.)

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Fresh fruit is 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 to figure out how to make dried fruit in the oven. It's really simple, and the best part is it helps me stay on track with my nutritional goals. The dried fruit is also great on my morning yogurt (in place of granola) or my healthy steel-cut oatmeal. It's perfect for snacking on in the middle of the day, and the kids love it in their lunch boxes. Here's how to make dried fruit without a dehydrator.

Ingredients:

  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Kiwifruit
  • 1 Tbsp. Water
  • 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice

Instructions

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.

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