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How do I dry cranberries? Thank you.
By JULIE SHUMAKER from Howard, SD
You can use old window screens, but not with metal screens, use fiberglass screen instead. They need to be sliced first. You could dip in fruit fresh or ascorbic acid or lemon. I would not salt them.
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How do you dry and store peaches and plums. Do I add ascorbic acid, lemon or salt to peaches before drying?. Do I cut plums in half or add any preservative before drying?
Teague from Bonanza, OR
You can add any type of acid to your peaches and apples (even ascorbic acid which is Vitamin C) to stop them from turning brown. But if they do turn brown, this will not effect the flavor or freshness. I'd stay away from salt (unless you're making dried Asian salted plums). Just make sure your fruit and veggies are "really" dry before storing them away in a jar with a tight fitting lid or a vacuum bag or even in the freezer in a Zip-loc bag. * Remember, if you do use ascorbic acid, that Vitamin C in large quantities can deplete calcium. It can also cause diarrhea.
Back in the olden days people would make drying racks from screens that hung from their ceilings above their wood stoves and in other countries they dry all of their fruit and veggies on their hot tin roofs using only sunshine. If you do this you had better pray it doesn't rain. Most people in the USA use food dehydrators and if this is what you have in mind, you don't really need to do anything special to your fruit except "make sure it is totally" dried and there's no moisture al all left.
The most important thing is storing them afterward. Even though the fruit may still be okay to eat six months or a year later, it will lose a little bit of flavor each month and after 6 months it may not taste like anything, but cardboard, so go ahead and eat it or use it to cook withand don't save it (too long) for a rainy day.
Yes, you should cut the fruit into halves or smaller sections, because the smaller and thinner the slices, the quicker it will dry. Also, never dry onions or any smelly things in your dehydrator when you are drying fruit. (09/10/2008)
I just dehydrated grapes and they make wonderful raisins. Much better than what you buy in the store. I have done peaches and bananas, but I'm not crazy about them. Tomatoes are very good, also. I do store mine in the fridge just because I am a little "weird" like that. I dry celery, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and onion (put all in a jar) and use for soups, stews, and meats. I do not do anything to them other than dice them with my Vidalia onion chopper. Potatoes turn a little gray, but once in food, you never know it. (09/10/2008)
There is as wonderful book, called "Putting Food By", I've had mine for a long time. It tells you how to dry and preserve all kinds of foods. (09/10/2008)
When I dried food, I used clean screens and put them in by the furnace. I tried to use screens on top and bottom, or a baking sheet covered with the wire things you use to cool cookies, etc. on. You want them covered to keep flies off. I sliced everything very thin, so that the stuff dried quickly. I had a food dehydrator, but I thought the old way was just as good. It's a great thing to do if you have lots of stuff like apples. They are delicious dried. The stuff took longer to dry then I had expected. I think at least a week. (09/11/2008)