Pretreatment for Fruits

Start with good quality fresh, fully ripe fruit - the same quality you would choose for table use. Sort and wash the fruit thoroughly and discard any bruised or overripe pieces. Keep in mind that decay on one piece may give a bad flavor to the whole batch. All kinds of fruit need some treatment before drying. It is very important to pretreat most fruits before drying by dipping them to slow down browning.

The major problem associated with enzymes in fruits is the development of brown colors and loss of vitamins A and C. Instead, the enzymes in fruits are inactivated by using chemical compounds which interfere with deteriorative chemical reactions.

The most common control chemicals used are sodium bisulfite and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).

Ascorbic acid may be used in its pure form or in chemical mixtures of ascorbic acid and other compounds such as "Fruit Fresh." Food grade sodium bisulfite, sodium sulfite or sodium metabisulfite may also be used for pretreatment of fruit. Individuals sensitive to sulfites, particularly some asthmatics, should use ascorbic acid.

Some fruits (peaches, grapes, some type of plums, cherries, hard-skinned berries etc.) have a heavy skin with a wax-like finish that retards evaporation. To help speed the drying process, you will have to "crack" the skins first. Click here for more info...

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Drying Melon 
All varieties of melon can be dried and will taste much sweeter when dried. Remove rind and seeds. Cut into 1/4-inch thick slices about 2 inches long. Dry 6-16 hours in a dehydrator until pliable. The pieces may be slightly sticky.

Fruit leather is made by drying
thin layers of pureed fruit in the
oven or dehydrator.

Fruit leather dries in 4 to 10 hours at 140°F to 145°F.

Properly dried fruit leather is
translucent and slightly tacky to
the touch, but easily peeled from
the pan. FREE Recipes