With a few earlier trial runs we'd already figured out:
1. Wipe the outside but DON'T dunk the fruit in water in a Vitamin C mix to stop it browning. It really doesn't need it and it just makes the fruit a lot wetter to start with and harder to get just right in the dehydrator. Our undunked fruit seems to come out with a better texture and we found browning of the fruit really wasn't a problem.
2. Leave the skins on. There is some good nutritional value in the skins and they add some extra colour and interest to the end product.
3. With most things a slice of about 1.2 cm or half an inch is about right.
In our latest session we did organic apples, pears and blackboy peaches from our orchard plus some bananas that we had on hand which were getting close to over-ripe. We also put in two different kinds of grapes from our vines.
After 8 hours the apples, pears and peaches came out lovely, very moreish, although the peaches were quite tart immediately afterwards. They seemed to regain some of their sweetness over the following hours. The bananas were divine. I can see how they could get addictive! What a great way to use up any bananas though, before they get too ripe - dry them and use them for yummy snacks. I am sure children in particular would love them.
Our grapes though were not a success. We decided to experiment by just adding whole grapes to see how well that would work and they still pretty much looked like the grapes we had put in when we took them out eight hours later. Next time we will cut them in half and try them that way.
The pictures below show some of our trays of raw fruit ready to be processed and then the end products. We put this lot into plastic, ziplock bags and what a great snack they make.
Andrew blended a mix of the bananas, apples, pears and peaches and we agreed it would be wonderful in homemade muesli, muffins or fruit loaf.
Dehydrating seems such a quick, easy, convenient way to help deal with a big surplus of fruit in the Autumn.
Below : At the end when we'd mostly mixed the apples, pears, bananas and
peaches up together.