Don’t Just Hydrate, Dehydrate Too

Freshly picked. These will dehydrate down to a small bag of fruit.

With all of our articles on staying hydrated, it may seem odd to write about dehydrating, but in this case, we’re not talking about your body, we’re talking about your food. Specifically, fruit. If you camp, hike, or ride a bike, you’re probably inclined to take some sort of nutrition for longer outings. And few things are better than fruit for a little pick-me-up of tasty carbs. Of course, whole fruit can weigh you down. That’s where the dehydrator comes in.

For several years now, I have picked tens of pounds of apricots off of our tree, and (if they didn’t get attacked by earwigs), given them away. No matter how much I love them, there’s no way I could eat them all. And I’m not into canning or preserving. But I do like dried fruit. The downside to dried apricots you get as most stores is that they are treated with sulfur dioxide. I happen to have a a sulfa allergy, so they are a “forbidden fruit”. Yet when I dry them at home, I can skip that treatment, and keep them all natural. And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the last 48 hours or so. Pick, wash, pit, dehydrate. Repeat. Again.

That big bowl turns into a small bag of dried fruit when done. We leave them in longer than usual, as the lower moisture content allows them to keep fresh longer. They also take up less space (an important consideration when we’re talking about probably thirty pounds of fresh fruit). I learned some interesting things along the way too. First, you can dry fruit that’s not quite at the peak of ripeness, and it still tastes great. The bright orange is sweeter, the slightly yellow is a bit more tart. What really surprised me though, was that apricots have a mere 17 calories per fruit. A dozen halves are only 100 calories, and make for a tasty treat that’s actually full of vitamins and antioxidants, along with a little fiber. Note that the brighter, riper fruit has more of the good stuff.

Less ripe on the left, more ripe on the right. Ready to be dehydrated.

Moral of the story? If you haven’t made your own dehydrated fruit, I suggest you give it a try. Dehydrators are inexpensive, and more consistent than using your oven or a hot car to dry fruit. You get full control over what goes into your snack, and into your body, and you might even save a bit of money. That’s hard to beat.

– Brian


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