As our belongs are in a semi-truck headed for the desert; I am trying not to think about what happens to crayons, candles, and everything else when you stick them in the oven, which the truck will become when it gets there. We will arrive in Phoenix this weekend. I will let you know how it goes.
In the meantime, please enjoy this article I wrote for Martha Stewart’s Whole Living, inspired by the Farmer’s Market in the San Francisco Ferry Building. At this time of year, the stalls are overflowing with the most wonderful stone fruit. I love them all- peaches, apricots, plums, and nectarines. If you go at market closing, farmers are often willing to sell you large boxes of fruit at discounted prices. Peach fruit leather is one of my favorite ways to preserve the ripe fruit. It is easy, healthy, and sweet.
Using a dehydrator is one of those kitchen activities that is part cooking, part science experiment. With a blast of warm air, you can turn slices of fresh fruit and vegetables into crispy, crunchy, vitamin-packed snacks. The dehydrator fan circulates warm air for maximum evaporation of moisture from food. Keeping it at a low temperature will keep the fruits and veggies raw, arguably keeping their vitamin, mineral, and enzyme count intact. You certainly don’t need to have a dehydrator to make these snacks for you and your family; I also include directions for making these in your oven.
There’s plenty of room for experimenting. Just keep these 4 steps in mind when using your dehydrator.
1. Arrange seasoned or plain slices of fruits or vegetables on dehydrator trays without overlapping. Pour fruit leather batter onto nonstick dehydrator sheets or dehydrator trays wrapped in plastic. In my dehydrator, the edges tend to dry more rapidly, so I spread fruit leather puree out so that the edges are ¼ inch thick and the center is only 1/8 inch thick.
2. Set the temperature. If you want your food to stay raw, set the temperature to 105 degrees, if you aren’t concerned with the raw aspect, set the temperature to 135 degrees to speed up drying times.
3. Check regularly and rotate trays if necessary. Turning fruits and veggies over can help ensure even drying. Dehydrating times can vary between 2 to 19 hours. To test for doneness, cut a slice. Food is dehydrated when no moisture beads appear in the cut.
4. Cool and store in an airtight container in the dark, dry place for up to a month. To get a similar result in your oven, preheat the oven to 200 degrees, use convection if you have it. Place parchment paper or a nonstick mat on a cooking sheet and arrange slices on a single layer. Place in the oven and check for doneness just as you would in a dehydrator. Times will be much shorter in the oven.Pin It