Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dried Peaches

Drying fruits concentrates the natural sweetness and flavor. They are one of our favorite portable snacks. Most fruits are fairly easy to dry - this is how we do peaches at our house.

First we rinse the peaches to remove dust or dirt, then we heat a little pot of water.
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One the water is beginning to simmer, we drop in some peaches and leave them for a minute or so to loosen the skins.
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Then, we plunge them into cold water, to stop the heat from cooking them. The skins will slip off easily, making the work go quickly. There is less waste too!
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We remove the skins and pits, halve them, then cut them into slices. They will turn brown in plain water, so we add a spoonful of citric acid to the water (from the health food store) to prevent browning.
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Next, the peaches are arranged on dehydrator trays. I lightly sprayed these with nonstick spray - peaches can get really sticky as they are drying. Then the trays are placed on the dehydrator.
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I don't have to watch them very closely, but every so often I move the bottom tray up to the top, so they will dry more evenly. I also give the whole stack a quarter turn, in case my dehydrator has 'hot spots'.
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When they are mostly dry, I remove the ones that have finished, and give the remaining peaches that still have wet spots a little more time on the dehydrator. These are from all five trays, and they still need a little more drying time.
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Once the slices are dry to the point that they are leathery, we put them in a jar or container with an airtight lid. I don't put them in storage just yet. Instead, I keep them out on the counter for 1-2 weeks, and give them a gentle shake now and then. This will help even out the moisture content. I open them and check them from time to time to make sure they are leathery, and not overly moist. If they need more drying time, they can go back in the dehydrator if they seem to need it after the first day, but so far, we've been fine.
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That's it! It's a simple process that keeps the flavor and natural sweetness. You can do something similar with apples - check that out here.

5 comments:

K said...

Yummy! Healthy and frugal! How are the bees? I hope they make you guys some honey!

Anonymous said...

Cat,
How much does a dehydrator cost?
I love dried apricots,apples,etc.but never thought of doing them myself.
This may sound like a dumb question,but after they're dried they just keep ok like they are?
Thanks!
Hugs and God bless,
helen(grammea)
grammea22@verizon.net

tenthingsfarm said...

K, I was thinking about blogging the bees tomorrow - stay tuned, K?

Helen, my dehydrator is a cheapie Walmart one that I was told wouldn't last a season. I think it was about $20 - I have had it for about 8 or 10 years. I don't use it a ton - I do fruits mostly (no jerky or anything) and a few veggies, but I do use it. I think now they are about $30, but check craigslist and freecycle too. There are 'better' ones out there that give more even heat (I rotate my trays to help even out the drying) but for the money, this one has sure done a good job.

If the stuff is properly dried, it will keep basically forever in a well sealed container. Some things may get a little darker (the few peaches I have left from last year are not this bright color), but they are still tasty. If things have 'wet spots' they can mold pretty quick - that's why you keep them out and make sure that first couple weeks. Hope that helps - ask if you have more questions! :)

K said...

LOL I will definatly stayed tuned!

Tricia said...

My husband tried this once with Bananas. Needless to say they ended up dog treats. YUCKY!!!

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