Table 2

How to Prepare Fruits for Drying**

Fruit Preparation

Apples*** Wash, peel, core and cut into pie slices or rings. Dip in sodium bisulfite solution for 5 minutes. Rinse. Dry.

Apricots*** Wash, halve, remove pits. Dip in sodium bisulfite solution for 10 minutes. Rinse. Dry.

Bananas Peel, slice, dip in sodium bisulfite solution for 5 minutes. Rinse Dry.

Blueberries Wash and remove stems. Dry.

Cherries Wash, remove stems, slice in half, remove pits. Dip in sodium bisulfite solution for 5 minutes. Rinse. Dry.

Grapes (yellow, 
Wash, steam for 30-60 seconds to crack skins. Dry.

Peaches Wash, scald to remove skins. Slice into ¼-inch slices. Soak in sodium bisulfite solution for 5 minutes. Rinse. Dry.

Pears*** Wash and peel thinly. Remove core. slice. Soak in sodium bisulfite solution for 5 minutes. Rinse. Dry.

Rhubarb Slice diagonally into 1 inch slices. Steam 1 to 2 minutes. Dry.

Strawberries Wash, slice, dip into solution of 1/2-teaspoon ascorbic acid per cup of water to protect vitamin C content. Dry.

Warning. Individuals sensitive to sulfites should not use sodium bisulfite solutions. Use ascorbic acid instead.
Hold cut fruit in a solution of 1 teaspoon of ascorbic acid per quart of water while preparing rest of fruit for bisulfite dip. This help prevent darkening.

Real Cooking

Did You Know?
Dried fruit is fruit that has been dried to remove some of the fruit's moisture, either naturally or through use of a machine, such as a food dehydrator. Raisins, prunes, and dates are examples of popular dried fruits. Other fruits such as apples, apricots, bananas, cherries, cranberries, figs, kiwi, mangoes, pawpaw, peaches, pears, persimmons, pineapples, strawberries, and tomatoes may also be dried. In addition to dried whole fruits, fruit purée can be dried in sheets to make fruit leather. It is called leather because of the similarity in size and thickness.

Drying preserves fruit, even in the absence of refrigeration, and significantly lengthens its shelf life. When fresh fruit is unavailable, impractical, or out of season, dried fruit can provide an alternative. It is often added to baking mixes and breakfast cereals.

Like fresh fruit, dried fruit can be rich in vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, B6, pantothenic acid) and dietary minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, copper, manganese).

Since dehydration may result in water loss up to seven parts out of eight, dried fruit has a stronger flavor than its fresh counterpart. The drying process also destroys most of the Vitamin C in the food.

Commercially prepared dried fruit may contain added sulfur dioxide which can trigger asthma in susceptible individuals; dried fruits without sulfur dioxide are also available. The sulfur is added to protect color and taste from oxidation. "Organic" dried fruit is produced without sulfur dioxide, which results in dark fruit and more oxidized flavor that can taste a bit like dried tea. The color of some fruits can also be "fixed" to some extent, with minimal impact on flavour, by treating the freshly cut fruit with a preparation rich in Vitamin C (e.g., a mixture of water and lemon juice) for a few minutes prior to drying.

In recent years there has been a tendency towards dried fruit that is sold as "ready to eat". This fruit has to be stored in sealed containers to preserve it. Notably prunes and apricots prepared in this way lack the chewy texture of other dried fruit.