You don't need a fancy dehydrator to make a tasty batch of dried mango or any other fruits and vegetables. All you need is an oven, a clean sharp knife, clean cutting board, baking sheet and a ripe mango or two. Once the fruit is dried, you can snack on it right away or store it for later use. When you buy the mango, look for ripe fruit that gives slightly when you squeeze it. One mango usually yields approximately 3/4 cup of dried fruit.
Wash the exterior of the mango under running water, dry it and place it on a cutting board with the stem end facing up. Peel the mango using a sharp knife to make thin, vertical cuts from the stem to the bottom of the mango. Repeat the process until all the skin has been removed. Carefully hold the fruit in place and cut the plump cheeks from either side of the core, followed by the more narrow strips of flesh on either side. Slice the mango into strips or chunks as desired. Alternatively, leave the skin on and cut the cheeks off either side. Score the flesh into cubes or slices and remove it from the peel by scooping it out. When you cut the fruit, keep in mind that the thinner you slice the fruit, the less time it takes to dry.
Although many types of fruit need to be treated with ascorbic acid, citric acid or lemon juice to prevent the flesh from turning brown, mango can be dried without any pre-treatment, according to The Beginner's Guide to Making and Using Dried Foods, by Teresa Marrone.
Preheat your oven to 185 degrees Fahrenheit or the lowest setting possible. While the oven is heating up, get your mango arranged in a single layer. Some of the tools that work well for drying mango in the oven include the following:
- A wire rack set over a baking sheet, which allows maximum airflow on both sides of the fruit slices and cubes.
- A baking sheet lined with a silicone baking sheet, which prevents sticking and promotes even heating.
- A baking sheet lined with parchment paper, which works similarly to a silicone baking sheet but can be thrown out instead of reused.
Place the mango in the oven. Flip the chunks or slices every 30 minutes until the fruit looks slightly flattened and shrunken in size. When it's done, dried mango should be flexible, with a leatherlike texture and pale orange color. Mango chunks take 6 to 12 hours, while thin slices typically dry within 2 to 3 hours. Fruit dried on a wire rack typically gets done faster than fruit placed directly on a baking sheet, according to food blog The Kitchn.
If you pull the mango out of the oven too soon, it may still contain moisture. Any residual moisture can lead to spoilage. To be sure the fruit is done, food blog Kitchen Stewardship recommends transferring several slices to a plastic bag. Close the bag and let it sit for a few minutes. If you see condensation in the bag, return the mango to the oven to continue drying it. Another test is to press 2 pieces of dried mango together. If they stick together, continue drying the fruit. Store the dried fruit in an airtight container for up to 3 to 6 months.