When the July NatureBox arrived and I saw that it had dried apple rings in it, I was reminded that my mother used to dry all sorts of fruits to keep on hand for our snacks. I had bought my husband a dehydrator for his birthday so he could make beef jerky without all the chemical preservatives, so I checked online to see what the guidelines for drying peaches. Why peaches? Well, I bought 3/4 of a bushel last week thinking I would want to can every single last one. But after a full day and 24 pints, I was over it. I don’t like peach flavored smoothies and really, how much of a peck of ripe peaches can you eat in a few days? Very few.
I peeled the peaches and tossed them with lemon juice so they would keep their color, which isn’t a strictly necessary step, but they do look so much more appealing if you do. Each slice of peach was about 1/4 inch thick. Not too thin or when they dried, they would be like flimsy sheets of paper that crumbled before eating. Each tray for my dehydrator held 1 and half peaches and I have 5 trays. I chose to start my dehydrator before I headed to bed, set it at 135 degrees and checked them in the morning. (You’ll notice I completely neglected to photograph the progression.) I should have rotated the trays of peaches, but I forgot, so the ones on the bottom are a little drier than the ones at the top.
It took about 20 hours for the peaches to dry, but I wanted them dry and not chewy. They were also very juicy peaches! I didn’t add any sugar to them before drying and they certainly did not need any. From this batch of drying, I got 2 quart sized bags of slices packed and then put in the freezer. I’m going to be doing another batch of peaches tonight and then we’ll see where I stand with those peaches! Right now, the dehydrator is filled with tomatoes… I’m trying a new experiment this year. Wish me luck!
What about you? Have you ever dried anything to preserve it? What’s your favorite dried fruit?