Fruit powder goes where no fresh fruit has gone before. Think of fruit powder as dried, pourable fruit and you'll see its potential -- a gluten-free flour substitute for desserts, a spice rub for meat and a flavor enhancer and coloring agent for meringues, glazes and frostings are a few examples of fruit powder's versatility. Fruit powder is just one step past drying fruit, too; after a brief conditioning phase, all you have to do is pulverize it. For best color, taste and texture, use the freshest, ripest fruit available.
Peel and seed the fruit and slice it into 1/4-inch-thick or smaller slices. Place the fruit slices in a mixture of equal parts lemon juice and water and let them soak for 10 minutes.
Strain the fruit slices from the lemon-juice solution and lay them flat on a plate or tray lined with paper towels. Pat the fruit dry with paper towels.
Heat the dehydrator to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and lay the fruit slices flat on the drying racks, spacing them 1/4 to 1/2 inch apart on all sides. If using the oven to dehydrate the fruit, heat it to the lowest temperature. Lay the fruit slices flat on a wire rack set on a baking sheet.
Place the racks of fruit in the dehydrator or oven. Rotate the racks 180 degrees every 2 hours.
Dehydrate the fruit for 4 hours then check its dryness. The fruit should feel moisture-free and without "squishiness." Taste a piece; if it has the texture of paper, it's ready. If the fruit still feels moist, continue drying it in 2-hour increments until it dries throughout.
Transfer the dried fruit to a food container and cover it with a piece of cheesecloth, filling the container no more than three-fourths full. Let the fruit sit, or condition, for one week so any remaining moisture evaporates. Stir the fruit once a day.
Place the dried fruit in the freezer overnight after it conditions. Transfer the dried fruit to a food processor after freezing it overnight.
Pulse the fruit to a fine powder until it has a consistency similar to flour. If you plan to use the fruit for flour, sift it through a flour sifter.
Transfer the fruit powder to an airtight container and store it at room temperature for three months or in the refrigerator for six months.
You can also make fruit powder by roughly chopping unsweetened dried fruit you buy in the store and drying it further in your oven or dehydrator until crumbly. When dried and conditioned, grind it in a food processor into a fine powder.
A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.