Apricots, which contain lots of healthy vitamin C and vitamin A, won’t last more than a few weeks in the refrigerator unless you dehydrate them. Dehydrated apricots can last up to two years in the fridge, and you can dry them out yourself in a dehydrator or your oven.
Prepping the Apricots
Use ripe but not overtly soft apricots. Discard any moldy or bruised fruits. Wash your apricots in cool, running water to remove any dirt and debris. Pull the apricots apart into halves with your fingers or using a knife, and remove the pits. Pop out the middle of each apricot half with your finger to expose this part of the fruit to the air when you dry them out. You don’t have to peel the apricots, because their skin is safe to eat.
Pretreating the Apricots
Pretreat your apricots with vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, to prevent them from becoming discolored and help preserve their vitamin content during the drying process. Mix 1 teaspoon of crushed 500 mg vitamin C tablets in a quart of water and pour it into a plastic bag. Soak your apricots in the solution for five minutes, shaking the bag every minute to fully coat the fruit. For a sweeter option, simmer your apricot halves in a solution of 1 part sugar, 1 part corn syrup and 2 parts water for 10 minutes. Allow the apricots to sit in the warm syrup for 45 minutes after removing them from the heat.
Drying the Apricots
Place the apricot halves in a single layer on each sheet of your dehydrator. Set the temperature to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and allow the apricots to dry for 18 to 24 hours until pliable, not crunchy. To dry apricots in the oven, set the temperature to 140 F and place the apricots on wire cooling racks lined with cheesecloth. Prop open the oven door and place a fan near the opening to encourage good circulation. Dry for 24 to 36 hours. Keep children and pets away from your oven during the drying process.
While you can dry apricots in the sun, sun drying requires temperatures above 98 F and low humidity to prevent spoilage during the process, according to the Utah State University Extension website. Sun-drying apricots can take around four days. You must freeze your sun-dried apricots for two days at 0 F to pasteurize them due to possible outdoor contamination.
Storing the Apricots
Allow your apricots to cool, then place them in large glass storage jars to condition them. Shake the jars daily for two weeks. If you notice any condensation, dry the apricots for an hour or so more at 140 F before placing them back in the jars to condition again for two weeks. Once thoroughly dry, store the dried apricots in resealable plastic bags. Place them in the pantry for one to three months or up to two years in the refrigerator, set to 40 F or below.
References and ResourcesUtah State University Extension: Preserve the Harvest -- Apricots
University of Missouri Extension: Food Preservation -- Drying Foods
Penn State Extension: Drying Fruits and Vegetables
Washington State University Yakima County Extension: How to Preserve Apricots
Colorado State University Extension: Drying Fruits