Dehydrating fruit can be a great way to make the harvest last all year round. For campers, hikers and outdoorsmen, fruit preserved in this manner makes an easy and tasty snack on the go. While most people who make dehydrated fruit recommend using fresh fruit for optimal flavor, canned fruit can be used as well. By following a few precautions, you can turn your stock of canned fruit into convenient dehydrated treats.
Open your cans of fruit most of the way, upturning over the sink with your thumb securing the lid to drain. Consider whether you want to rinse the syrup from the fruit; leaving the syrup means a sweeter taste, but it may impart some unwanted metallic flavors. To rinse, simply pour the fruit into a colander and rinse lightly with cool water.
Mix 2 ½ tbsp. of ascorbic acid crystals into 1 quart of water in a bucket to create an anti-oxidant solution. Anti-oxidant solutions keep fruit from darkening during drying and can assist in drying fruits with tougher skins. One quart of ascorbic acid solution can treat 10 quarts of fruit. Soak the fruit in the solution for about 10 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon.
Dry the fruit in an oven or dehydrator. Set the oven or dehydrator to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the fruit pieces on dehydrator trays or baking sheets in a single layer. Stack the dehydrator trays on the machine and cover, or place the baking sheets into the oven when it is heated, leaving the door open for air circulation. Thinly sliced fruits dry in as little as six hours, while fruit halves can take as long as 36 hours. Flip the fruit pieces every three to four hours during drying, rotating the tray order if using a dehydrator.
Check if your fruit is finished. Pull a couple representative pieces out of the dehydrator or oven and allow them to cool. Once cool, grasp them in your hand and squeeze. Extracting moisture through squeezing means they are not ready. They should be tough and leathery. Tear or cut a piece in half with a knife and check along the tear for moisture beads. Still-moist fruit should given more time to dehydrate.
Store dried fruits for later use. Use air-tight containers such as zipable plastic bags or plastic food container, and store the dried fruit in a cool, dry place. Freezing dried goods also is effective for storage, but freezing temperatures are unnecessary and generally do not extend the life of dried fruit in comparison to room-temperature storage. The shelf life of properly stored dried fruit varies from fruit to fruit, but generally it lasts at least a month.
Dried fruit can be re-constituted for use in cooking. Allow fruit to soak in warm water for about an hour.