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Written by Ripe London on May 1, 2024

How to Dehydrate Fruit at Home

Dried fruit is a tasty and healthy snack that is perfect for work, school lunches, breakfast and a great deal more. Dehydrating fruit at home may sound complex or like you’ll need to invest in some expensive equipment. However, there are plenty of ways of dehydrating fruit at home with things that you probably already own. Today, we’re exploring how to dehydrate fruit in an air fryer, and in the oven. We’ll also be answering some FAQs about dehydrating fruit so that you get the tastiest dried fruit possible. 

How Do You Dry Fruit At Home?

There are several ways of dehydrating fruit at home. You can, of course, buy a dehydrator. This is basically a countertop oven with lots of trays for your fruit that you can set to very low cooking temperatures for long periods of time. They are made specifically for drying fruit, vegetables and meats at home. 

Now, dehydrators aren’t too expensive. Still, if you are just getting into dehydrating fruit at home, you may want to see if you’ll enjoy it before committing to the investment. Thankfully, there are ways of drying fruit at home without buying any equipment.

If you need fruit for your new dehydrating adventures, Ripe has you covered. We have hand-selected fruit from the best fruit markets in London. It’s fresh, it’s tasty and perfect for dehydrating. 

How To Dehydrate Fruit In An Air Fryer

If you own an air fryer, then dehydrating fruit is really simple. In fact, many of the fancier air fryers even have a dehydrating mode. To use this mode, simply pop your fruit into the basket, set the air-fryer to the ‘dehydrate’ mode, and it will begin removing the moisture from your fruit, easy! 

If your air fryer doesn’t have a dehydrate mode, you can still use it to dehydrate your fruit, here’s how: 

  • Use the lowest temperature setting your air fryer has. 80 degrees Celsius or lower if possible.
  • Cut your fruit into thin strips, 5 to 6mm is recommended. You can leave things like berries and grapes whole.
  • Pat the surface of the fruit dry with a clean cloth. You can also soak the fruit in various things to further the preservation process or to add different flavours. We discuss this more below.
  • Place the fruit in the basket of your air fryer. You don’t need to be too careful here, but ensure you aren’t stacking too many pieces of fruit on top of each other as this will increase the drying time. 
  • Pop the air fryer on and start the drying process. Check every hour or so and give the basket a shake to turn the fruit and ensure nothing is sticking.

Depending on the fruit you choose, the dehydrating process in an air fryer can take anywhere from an hour to six hours. Once the fruit is dry, you can remove it and let it cool down for at least six hours, but up to 24 hours if possible. This will continue to dry the fruit. You can then store the fruit in a cool, dark place in an airtight container.

A selection of dehydrated fruit for a how to dehydrate fruit article

Shop now for fresh and tasty fruit to deyhrate at home!

How To Make Dried Fruit In An Oven

Dehydrating fruit in your oven isn’t the most energy-efficient way of doing it. However, if you’re just experimenting with making dried fruits at home, it is a good place to start. The key to dehydrating fruit in the oven is to use the lowest temperatures possible. For most ovens, this is about 120 degrees Celsius. A food dehydrator can typically go down to temperatures below 50 degrees, making it much better for dehydrating fruit slices. But remember, we’re having fun and trying something new here, your oven is just fine for finding your feet when making homemade dehydrated fruit.

Here’s how to dehydrate fruit in an oven at home: 

  • Preheat the oven to the lowest temperature possible
  • Slice your chosen fruit into thin slices about 6mm thick. A sharp knife will really help here. If the fruit you’re dehydrating is small already, berries or grapes, for example, you can leave these whole.
  • Arrange the sliced fruit in a single layer on a wire rack and place it inside the oven. You can arrange more than one wire rack in the oven, just as with dehydrator trays in a normal dehydrator but ensure the fruit has plenty of space for the moisture to escape. 
  • Times are going vary quite a lot depending on how much fruit you dehydrate, how thick the slices are and how much moisture the fruit contains. dehydrating food usually takes between 6 to 12 hours, though.
  • You’ll need to monitor the fruit and turn them over every half an hour or so. 
  • Once dehydrated, take out the oven and leave to cool for at least 24 hours. This is really important. This continues the drying process and locks in those delicious flavours. 
  • Once dried, pack your portions in tightly sealed airtight containers.
  • Store the containers in a cool, dry and dark place. 

Dehydrating food in the oven is quite a long process, but can lead to some beautiful results. Don’t be tempted to put the temperature up during the drying process. It needs to be low to allow the moisture to escape evenly. 

In conclusion

So, there’s how to dehydrate fruit at home. Dehydrating fruit is really fun and is a great way of adding healthy snacks to your breakfasts and lunches. It’s also a great way of adding tasty and healthy desserts to the menu at home.

If you need fruit for your dehydrating adventures, explore Ripe further. We have the best quality fruit in London and can hand deliver it to your door. We even create office fruit boxes so you and your staff can enjoy fresh fruit all year round.

FAQs About Dehydrating Fruit At Home

Fancy trying dehydrating fruit at home? We’re sure you have some questions. So, here are some FAQs about dehydrating fruit that can help you get started. 

How Long Does It Take To Dehydrate Fruit?

It can take anywhere from 1 to 12 hours to dehydrate food depending on the methods you use and the fruit that you are dehydrating. If the fruit you choose has a high moisture content (like apples, for example) this will take longer. If you’re using an oven, it will take longer than using an air fryer or a dedicated dehydrator. 

Can You Dehydrate Fruit Naturally

You can dehydrate fruit naturally, but the dehydrating process will take a long time. You just need to create a space that has good air movement, dry air and low and constant heat.

Many people opt for making solar dehydrators. You can make use of an old cabinet, preferably with a glass door to make the most of the heat from the sun. Replace the shelves with racks, ensure there is plenty of airflow, add a lock so no critters can get in and place it in a sunny spot in the garden. ‘Gardening Know How’ has an article all about making a DIY dehydrator if you fancy getting stuck in.

Do You Put Anything On Fruit Before Dehydrating?

You can add lemon juice, or sugar water to some fruits, and this can provide a lovely taste that is more unique than just putting the fruit in the dehydrator. Lemon juice can also preserve the colour of the fruit.

You can also pretreat fruits before you dehydrate them. In a glass or plastic container, place half a teaspoon of powdered citric acid and 2 cups of water. Give this a stir and add your fruit 10 minutes before you're ready to start the dehydration process. This helps to preserve the fruit slices for long-term storage. If you plan on eating your dried fruit quickly, you can skip this step and simply lay them on some parchment paper and let them dry out naturally before starting.

If you do put anything on the fruit before dehydrating, you’ll need to wait until the surface of the fruit has dried completely before putting it in the oven, air fryer or dehydrator. 

Fresh fruit on a fruit stall at a market

Try the freshiest fruit in London right here!

Do You Have To Soak Fruit Before Dehydrating?

If you select fresh and fully ripened fruit and don’t need it to last a very long time, you don’t need to soak the fruit in anything at all. You can simply place it in the dehydrator, air fryer or oven and start dehydrating. If you’d like to preserve the fruit for as long as possible, soaking it is a good idea. You can soak it in various things from lemon juice to different acids. The National Center for Home Food Preservation has some excellent tips about this if you fancy a deeper dive into food preservation.

How Long Does Dehydrated Fruit Last?

If you store dried fruits correctly, even dehydrated fruit slices done at home can last up to a year at room temperature. Done properly, with the right equipment, though, you can store dried fruit for up to 30 years!

The reason for the wild variation is that it depends on whether you soak them in any preservatives beforehand and the type of fruit it is. The above article by the National Center for Home Food Preservation also has some info about how long dehydrated fruits last which is well worth reading if you want to preserve your dried fruit for as long as possible. 

Can You Make Fruit Leathers At Home?

Yes, you can. In fact, making fruit leather at home may even be easier than dehydrating fruit. All you need to do is make a puree out of your favourite fruits by heating them on the hob in a pan. Use a stick blender to refine the puree and blend the fruit evenly. Pop it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper in an oven set to the lowest temperature possible, then once ready, remove, allow it to cool and cut into strips. You can store separate dried fruit leather in sandwich bags or wrapped in grease-proof paper and use them for lunches or after-dinner snacks.

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