secrets of successful home food drying:
- Heat - high enough to force out moisture
- Dry air - to absorb the released moisture
- Air movement - to carry the moisture away
- Natural drying, outdoors, requires warm days of 90 degrees F (32 degrees C)
or more, low humidity, and control of insects.
- Oven drying or using a food dehydrator are alternatives for small
quantities of food. The energy cost of operating an oven is high, however,
compared to the cost of operating an electric food dehydrator.
Note: 20 lbs Fresh Apples=2 lbs Dry Apples
- Wash the fruit thoroughly Use "elbow grease" and really scrub the
fruit. A drop of detergent in the wash water can help loosen dirt. For an even
higher margin of safety, use a dilute chlorine bleach solution because chlorine
is an effective disinfectant. (Use 1 tablespoon household bleach in a gallon of
cool water.) Rinse the fruit really well with clean water after using a
detergent or chlorine wash.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently Use soap and warm water. Wash
hands before starting the cutting and juicing, and frequently during these
steps as well. Wash hands for at least 20 seconds .
- Wash your knives, boards, utensils, and juice making equipment thoroughly
Use soap and warm water. Then use the dilute chlorine bleach solution for
another disinfecting step. (Use 1 tablespoon household bleach in a gallon of
cool water.) Rinse well with clean water afterwards. Make sure the containers
you are putting the fresh juice into are really clean. Best is to sterilize
them like you were making jams or jellies .
- After peeling and coring/slicing dip apple slices in salted water (2%
NaCl) before further treatment in order to prevent browning due to contact of
tissues with oxygen from air.
- Dipping is an alternative to blanching used to prevent apples from turning
brown. Lemon juice, ascorbic acid, or commercial products containing ascorbic
or citric acid may be used for dipping. For instance, dipping sliced fruit
pieces in 1 teaspoon of ascorbic acid crystals per cup of water or directly in
lemon juice for three to five minutes will prevent browning.
- Drying Natural Sun Drying
Dry in the sun by placing slices of food on a clean tray with sides and
covering with cheesecloth or fine netting. If possible, place a small fan near
the drying tray to promote air circulation. Turn food once a day. Dry until the
food has lost most of its moisture (apple fruits will be chewy).
NOTE: Sun drying is not recommended in cloudy or
humid weather. The temperature should reach 90 degrees F by noon and the
humidity should be less than 60 percent. This method will tak 36 - 48 hrs.
- Oven Drying
Dry food in an oven that can be maintained at 140 degrees F or lowest setting.
Leave door ajar 2 to 3 inches. Place a fan in front of the oven to blow air
across the open door. Spread the food in a single layer on racks or cookie
sheet. Check fruit often. Turn slices over to dry more evenly. This method will
take 6 - 12 hours.
- Dehydrator Appliance
Follow manufacturer instructions.