Herbal teas can be made from dried fruits, flowers or plants. In Europe, this type of drink is called a tisane, which is the French word for “herbal infusion.” Teas made from dried fruit are used to replace caffeinated drinks and also to provide health benefits. For example, tea made from steeping dried black currant leaves and fruit in boiling water is rich in antioxidants and anthocyanins, or compounds found in berries that alleviate inflammation. You can dry fruit with a few tablets of Vitamin C, an oven and a jar.
Select fresh, ripe fruit. Overripe fruit may be too stringy or leathery. Unripe fruit may not be sweet or colorful. The drying process will not enhance the quality of the fruit.
Wash fruit. Sort through and toss decayed fruit. Mold can impact the fruit while drying.
Crack skins of fruit that have a waxy coating, such as plums, prunes and berries. Place fruit in boiling water for 30 seconds to one minute. Run under cold water. Drain on paper towels.
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Mix 2 1/2 tablespoons of ascorbic acid crystals into one quart of chilled water. Soak fruit for 10 minutes. Take fruit out with slotted spoon, and drain.
Preheat oven to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Place treated fruit on drying tray in a single layer. Put the tray of fruit in the oven for four to 12 hours. Drying time depends on the kind and size of fruit: Finely sliced apples take about six hours, while thick-cut peaches can take up to 36 hours.
Allow a handful of pieces to cool to room temperature. Pinch fruit to check for pliability and dryness.
Pack dried fruit in zip-closing bags or moisture-proof glass jars. Put fruit in cool, dark place for storage.
One quart of the ascorbic acid solution treats 10 quarts of fruit; if you need less, measure 17 grams of crystals for every two cups of water.
Kay Tang is a journalist who has been writing since 1990. She previously covered developments in theater for the "Dramatists Guild Quarterly." Tang graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science from Yale University and completed a Master of Professional Studies in interactive telecommunications at New York University.