My son Andy got a dehydrator a while back as a gift, and we have recently been experimenting with it to make some packable foods. So far we have tried dried tomatoes, dried apples, and our own fruit roll ups.
Tomatoes & Apples
I had a surplus of tomatoes from the backyard, so we sliced them all up to put in the dehydrator. Sun-dried tomatoes anyone? Since there was plenty of room on the dehydrator racks, I also bought a 3 lb bag of apples and peeled and sliced them up. We laid all of the apples and tomatoes on the drying racks, set the dehydrator to the fruit setting, and let it do it’s work. After several hours (the apples took about 7 and the tomatoes about 9), we had a big pile of dried apples and dried tomatoes. Unfortunately, 3 pounds of dried apples plus 4 kids equals no more dehydrated apples!! Needless to say, they were a big hit with the kids.
Fruit Roll Ups
Our next experiment was homemade fruit roll ups. By making our own, we can control the ingredients in them, try some new varieties, and have some fun! For our batch we used one banana, and 1.5 pounds of frozen mixed berries. I put the banana and berries in the food processor and blended them until they were a very smooth, thick, paste (the texture of sorbet). Then I took the berry mixture and spread it on top of the pliable fruit mat that came with the dehydrator (it fits right on one of the drying racks). It was not too thin, about like you would frost a cake. I set the dehydrator to the fruit setting (135 degrees), and this time let the machine do it’s work overnight. Eight hours later, I was able to peel off my large sheet of dried fruit. (It should still be flexible, but have no wet spots). I placed the fruit sheet on a piece of parchment paper, then rolled it into one log. You want to roll it up while it is still warm, so it won’t crack in spots. Then I took scissors and cut the log into 1 inch wide pieces. The fruit roll ups are great! I kept mine basic, with no additional sugar or sweeteners, and it definitely tastes fresh! The kids really like them, and they are a fun snack to make and take along all of our adventures! We took some of them along on our trip to Westgate River Ranch ….or they are good to just eat them all up as soon as they are ready.