How To Dry Fruits For Tea? Learning how to dry your fruits for tea will lower prices for you and provide you richer, more flavorful varieties. Dried fruit is rich in vitamin C, and makes a healthy snack or sweet addition to cereal, desserts and any other food items. You can dry a variety of fruits for making tea. Fruits can be used to make wonderful teas. Fruit teas are easy to make and have a much nicer flavor than tea made from dried or fresh leaves which may taste bitter.
How to Dry Fruit to Make Tea
Herbal teas can be made from dried fruits, flowers or plants. In Europe, this type of drink is called a tisane, which is the French word for “herbal infusion.” Teas made from dried fruit are used to replace caffeinated drinks and also to provide health benefits. For example, tea made from steeping dried black currant leaves and fruit in boiling water is rich in antioxidants and anthocyanins, or compounds found in berries that alleviate inflammation. You can dry fruit with a few tablets of Vitamin C, an oven and a jar.
Select fresh, ripe fruit. Overripe fruit may be too stringy or leathery. Unripe fruit may not be sweet or colorful. The drying process will not enhance the quality of the fruit.
Wash fruit. Sort through and toss decayed fruit. Mold can impact the fruit while drying.
Crack skins of fruit that have a waxy coating, such as plums, prunes and berries. Place fruit in boiling water for 30 seconds to one minute. Run under cold water. Drain on paper towels.
Mix 2 1/2 tablespoons of ascorbic acid crystals into one quart of chilled water. Soak fruit for 10 minutes. Take fruit out with slotted spoon, and drain.
Preheat oven to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Place treated fruit on drying tray in a single layer. Put the tray of fruit in the oven for four to 12 hours. Drying time depends on the kind and size of fruit: Finely sliced apples take about six hours, while thick-cut peaches can take up to 36 hours.
Allow a handful of pieces to cool to room temperature. Pinch fruit to check for pliability and dryness.
Pack dried fruit in zip-closing bags or moisture-proof glass jars. Put fruit in cool, dark place for storage.
How to Dehydrate Fruit for Teas, Mulled Wine, Flavored Water, and More!
With the end of October and Halloween and the start to the cooler nights and citrus season, I thought it would be fun to teach you how to dehydrate fruit for teas, mulled wine, flavored water, and more!
For the purpose of this blog post, I used grapefruit, lemons, limes, tangerines, and oranges. You can use any citrus you like! Dehydrated berries also work well in drinks.
Generally, citrus fruits contain high amounts of vitamin C. I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to be an expert. That being said, it is a well-known fact that vitamin C helps to combat illness, manage heart disease, and repair UV damage to your skin. (Important Note: Vitamin C helps FIGHT a cold, not prevent it!)
Further, citrus is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin B, and potassium. Overall, citrus is a delicious and healthy snack!
Why Dehydrate Food?
Dehydrating food at home is nothing new. Long before efficient mass production and access to grocery store chains, generations of families dehydrated and dried food as a method of enhancing/changing the flavor and preservation. After all, before refrigeration, how else would one preserve food besides pickling and canning? (Speaking of pickling, try our homemade maneul jangajji, otherwise known as Korean pickled garlic.) How would one make it through long and cold winters when vegetation and game were scarce?
Think about jerky, sun-dried tomatoes, herbs, spices, and candied fruit. All of these common foods are dried and dehydrated. You consume more dehydrated food than you think!
Let’s Tackle Food Waste!
Besides keeping the cultural aspect of dehydration and preservation alive, why dry food? For me, most importantly, it comes down to food waste. Let us look at a lemon, for example. How long do lemons take to go bad sitting on your counter or sliced in your refrigerator? One week? Maybe two? Then, of course, the guilt sets in as you did not finish the entire bag of lemons before they started to mold. We have all been there!
Well, if you dehydrate a lemon, it will last an entire season sitting on your counter in an airtight container. Thankfully, you will no longer need to rush to consume or feel guilt when you accidentally let them sit there too long.
What do you use a dehydrated lemon for, you may ask? Try adding lemon when enjoying your morning cup of green tea, drinking a glass of water, or making a batch of holiday mulled wine. You can also drop it into a boiling pot of soup for depth of flavor, grind it into a powder and use it as a flavor enhancer in yogurt, or dip in chocolate to make a sweet treat. The ideas are limitless!
Just dehydrate to preserve for extended use. That way, you won’t have to worry about your mushrooms, potatoes, citrus, berries, or more going bad anytime soon! If you need to rehydrate, just let it sit in water for a while!
How to Dehydrate Citrus Fruit:
1. Wash Your Fruit in Baking Soda:
First, start by washing your fruit. Washing fruit is incredibly important as we will not remove the peels. Think of all the hands touching the fruit, the grime from transit, and the pesticides used. You don’t want to dehydrate all of those icky germs and chemicals along with your fruit!
To remove pesticides from fruits and vegetables, I recommend washing your fruit in a mixture of cold water and baking soda. For a large mixing bowl, you should add approximately 2 TBSPs of baking soda. Let your citrus fruit soak in the baking soda solution for 5 to 10 minutes.
Note: The method for cleaning your produce with baking soda differs depending on the fruit or vegetable. When cleaning something with a tough outer skin, let it soak in the water. Examples include produce such as apples, oranges, lemons, eggplant, and more. For produce without a tough skin, dip the fruit or vegetable in the solution quickly and rinse as to not create a soggy mess. Examples include berries, spinach, etc.
Studies have shown that most produce tests positive for residue of two or more pesticides. Baking soda actually helps to remove many of these pesky pesticides off the skin of fruits and vegetables!
Further Information About Cleaning Fruits and Veggies:
You can read further about this topic in this article from the Huffington Post. It contains some really interesting information. For example, did you know the statement on lettuce packages claiming your lettuce is “triple washed” is not a regulated claim or verified by the FDA? Amazingly, it is actually a marketing tactic and ploy. Think about it, how often are foodborne outbreaks related to leafy greens? OFTEN!!! So yeah, wash your lettuce and read the article.
Another short and simple article comes from “Health and Wellness Alerts” created by UC Berkeley School of Public Health.
Hopefully, I will have an article out soon discussing this topic further.
2. Slice Your Fruit:
After you wash and pat dry your fruit, thinly cut slices. Your slice should be between 1/8th- and 1/4th-inch thick. For those outside of America, approximately half a centimeter will do.
If you are slicing grapefruit and plan to use it in a mug with your water or tea, I highly recommend cutting it in half as well. Grapefruits are large. A whole slice may not fit well into your mug.
3. How to Dehydrate Fruit in the Oven:
When dehydrating citrus, preheat your oven to 175°F (approximately 79.5°C). Then, line your baking trays with parchment paper.
Place the sliced fruit on the trays. Do not let the fruit touch one another. Every few hours, rotate and shift the trays.
- Lemons: 4 to 6 hours
- Limes: 4 to 6 hours
- Tangerines: 5 to 6 hours
- Oranges: 6 to 8 hours
- Grapefruit: 8 to 9 hours
Unfortunately, dehydrating is not an exact science, especially with different types and performance levels of ovens. Because of this, it may take more or less time for your fruit to fully dehydrate. So, let me tell you what you are looking for:
The fruit should be completely dry. Your fingers should not get sticky with juice when touching the fruit. It will not be hard as a rock. Instead, you can expect the fruit to still be slightly pliable!
4. How to Dehydrate Fruit in a Dehydrator:
When dehydrating fruit, I prefer to use a dehydrator. A dehydrator guarantees better uniformity. Also, they are built to sit running for extremely long periods of time, often up to 24 hours. I can start dehydrating in the evening and peacefully sleep through the night with it running. Unfortunately, I do not feel safe doing the same with my oven.
If you do leave it running overnight, make sure to place it on a flat surface without anything laying on top, across, or near it. Let the machine breath!
I personally own an Excalibur dehydrator. Thankfully, there are dehydrators available for different price ranges. I’ve listed some below under my Amazon picks.
Place your sliced fruit directly onto your dehydrator shelves. Once again, do not let your fruit touch one another. Each slice should have its own space! Every few hours, rotate your dehydrator shelves. I also recommend changing the order.
Your dehydrator should be set to 135°F (approximately 57°C). Let all your fruit sit in the dehydrator for 12 hours. You can extend the time to 14 hours if you are not satisfied with how well your slices have dried.
Note: Sometimes the larger fruit, such as oranges and grapefruit, can take more time. If you check your smaller fruit, and it seems to be done, go ahead and remove it!
Rose, Citrus, Berry and Apple Homemade Tea
Homemade tea blend with citrus, berries, apples, roses and white tea is an invigorating infusion of sweet fruity flavors and the lively taste of antioxidant rich white tea.
HOMEMADE TEA WITH FRUITS AND HERBS
The idea of this tea actually comes from my husband, who is an ardent aficionado of all kinds of tea. A while back he had made a great concoction using fruits dried in our food dehydrator and combined with some white tea, dried herbs and flowers.
It was so soothing and refreshing. So, I wanted to recreate that. And if you have been following this blog, you may remember another easy treat made with chocolate and dried fruit (oranges).
There are many varieties of commercially available teas of this kind. But if you have a food dehydrator at home, you can easily make your own copycat teavana tea creations – all for a fraction of the cost and it is so much fun.
PRO TIPS AND TRICKS
- It is important to choose fruits that are in the peak of the season. This will optimize the flavor and sweetness you can derive from the fruits. So pick fresh, ripe and sweet fruits.
- Make sure to not let the fruits over-dehydrate. Otherwise they may turn dark and have more of a caramelized flavor, rather than a fresh fruity flavor.
- If you do not have a dehydrator, here is a resource for drying fruits in the oven (but I have not tried it myself).
- Try to choose fruit, floral and herb flavors that will blend well together.
- When using white tea, you can use more of it in the blend as it is much milder and it can also be be steeped longer. But you could also try green tea.
The best thing about this is that you will not need to use added sugar, as the dried fruits will release their sweetness during the tea infusion. Besides, that perception of sweetness is further heightened due to the sweet fruit flavors.
Have you tried white tea? It is much lighter in taste and color than black or green tea. Rather it results in a beverage that is pale yellow in color.
White teas are typically made from young or minimally processed leaves of the plant. It comes mostly from China and some parts of northern India. So, during my trips to India, I make sure to bring back some of it!
IS WHITE TEA GOOD FOR YOU?
- White tea is rich in polyphenols with antioxidant properties. In fact, some research suggests that it may have more antioxidant potential than even green tea!
- It has been lauded for its anti-aging benefits and role in disease prevention. Some studies have shown that it may be beneficial in lowering blood pressure as well.
- Drinking white tea regularly has also been associated with greater bone density, healthier teeth and skin. And the good thing is that white tea will not stain the teeth like the darker teas!
Ways To Dehydrate Fruit At Home & 7 Delicious Recipes
Dried apples, bananas, apricots, plums and fragrant strawberries all make for happy, healthy snacks that can be added to your breakfast muesli or eaten on the go.
Kids just happen to love them too!
They are a luxury item, costing a small fortune when bought from the store, and they often contain sulfur dioxide as a preservative.
Sulfite sensitivity can be a problem for those with asthma, so it is best to steer clear of the big brands and always watch the ingredients.
To avoid sulfites in dried fruit, learn to dehydrate your favorites in the sun, the oven or dehydrator.
They may not last as long as conventionally produced snacks, but when you have a bag of cinnamon apple chips, how long are they really going to last anyway?
Once you know how to make your own, you can dehydrate a batch as often as you wish!
Dehydrating fruit is one of the most ancient ways to preserve food, having been discovered thousands of years ago. It is one of the best ways to prepare your favorite summer foods for long-term storage, outside of preserving jams, that is.
How To Make Sun-Dried Fruit
Using the power of the sun is the most low-tech, and low-cost, solution you can find for dehydrating fruits and vegetables. However, this only works in climates where the temperatures rise to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (30 Celsius) or more, so it is a location dependent way of dehydrating fruit.
It does produce the most flavorful results of any drying method, so if sun is what you have, use it!
The humidity level is also something to consider (the lower the better), there must be adequate air flow around the slices of fruit and it is beneficial if the sun shines much of the day.
Also note, that you will have to bring in the racks of fruit at night, and take them back out into the sun each morning, once the temperatures have risen. It takes anywhere from 2 to 6 days to sufficiently dry out a rack of fruit under the summer sun.
Equipment needed for sun drying fruit
Tempting as it may be to lay sliced fruit directly on a baking sheet and set it outside in the sun, this simply won’t do.
It may take a small investment to purchase or make your own drying racks, which are also suitable for vegetables and herbs – the ability to dehydrate your food is catching!
These multi-functional drying racks can be made from wooden slats, woven twigs, bamboo or a stainless steel mesh with a frame. Make sure that the metal is food-grade, not to leave toxic residues on the precious dried fruit.
This stainless steel drying rack is ideal for dehydrating your own fruits at home.
The best fruits to dry in the sun
- Grapes (raisins)
Pretreating fruit for sun drying
Be thorough in washing all fruit, and always cut uniform slices to ensure that they dry as evenly as possible. In the case of pears and apples, you can soak them in fresh lemon juice or an ascorbic acid mixture to help them prevent from browning.
Remember to use cheesecloth or netting to keep flies, bees and other insects off the fruit while drying.
When it is nearly dry to your liking, move the racks to a more shaded area to prevent them from “cooking”.
How To Oven Dry Fruit
If the sun doesn’t happen to shine down upon your short dehydrating season, and you haven’t yet stumbled upon a dehydrator to get the task done, there is always the oven. And what a great job it can do!
Here it is possible to use the baking sheets you already own, no special equipment is needed, though parchment paper is a blessing, when it comes to removing the dried fruits from the pan.
Just as with sun drying, you first need to prepare your produce by thoroughly washing the ripe fruits or berries.
Pit what needs pitting, remove stems and seeds at the same time. Then cut the slices evenly thin, so they can all dry out in a similar time, making sure that the slices do not touch.
Oven temperatures for dehydrating fruit
Preheat your oven to its lowest temperatures, between 130-160 degrees Fahrenheit and place your baking tray full of fruit into the gentle heat.
More important than the temperature, however, is the airflow. If your oven has a fan, use it. If not, make sure to open the door frequently to let out excess moisture.
And be prepared to wait!
It will take several hours with minimal attention, keeping in mind that some fruits will need to be flipped a few times for the best results.
In general, it takes apples 6 to 10 hours to achieve that perfect crispiness you adore. Bananas take 2 to 3 hours to dehydrate in the oven at a slightly higher temperature of 225 F, and strawberries take 2 and a half hours at 200 F.
Ovens vary, so learning how to dehydrate fruit, does take some trial and error.
Using your oven as a dehydrator is the least energy efficient way to dry food, but if you are only making a few small batches a year, then it beats buying a bulky dehydrator, especially when you are not going to use it often.
Best fruits to dehydrate in the oven
How To Dry Fruit With A Dehydrator
If you really adore dried fruit and consume it year round, rather than on the random occasion, then a professional dehydrator may just be the gift for you!
There are an abundance of models to choose from, so think carefully about your dehydrating needs.
How much space do you have to share with a new appliance, how often will it be in use? Perhaps you could make extra dehydrated fruits for gifts. You could even consider selling your dehydrated foods as a way to make money from your homestead?
This is the most popular affordable dehydrator for those wishing to dabble with dehydrating. For the more serious dehydrators, this piece of kit is ideal
With a dehydrator anything and everything is possible. Papayas, pineapples, lemons, limes, kiwis, no problem.
Benefits of dehydrated foods
- Dried fruits take up little space
- Perfect for travel as they are light weight and usually not very fragile
- Takes neither freezer, nor refrigerator to store them (saves energy)
- Ready-to-eat treats
- Can be added to soups, salads, oatmeal or smoothies
- Allows you to buy in season and save for later or to preserve your garden bounty.
4 Dehydrated Fruit Recipes
1. Dehydrated Blueberries
When it comes to blueberries, fresh is best, frozen is nice, yet when dried, they can make it feel like summer all year long. Dehydrating blueberries is super simple:
- Rinse organic blueberries and dry them thoroughly, the drier the better.
- To speed up the dehydration process, with the tip of a sharp knife, poke a small hole in each berry.
- Spread on trays with screens.
- Set your dehydrator to 135 F and leave for 24 hours or longer, until done.
- Store in an airtight container.
2. Dehydrated Watermelon
Watermelon candy is a sweet gift from nature.
Strips of “unwatery” watermelon are very curious things indeed. Use them as fruit tortillas for yogurt or devour them plain and simple. Once you try them, you will wish you would have made more
3. Fruit Leather
Fruit leather is the perfect snack for hiking (or taking a quick break on the homestead) and the opportunities for exciting flavors are absolutely endless.
These recipes include a fruit roll-up made with rhubarb, strawberries and honey; and another with blueberries, banana, chia seeds and dates. You might also try one with raspberries, peaches and honey. Which one will you try first?
4. Dehydrated Pineapple Chunks
Dehydrated pineapple chunks are health-affirming bites of tasty nutrition. Pineapples have anti-inflammatory properties and are rich in vitamin C, so they are a great snack to have on hand when you are feeling down.
Cut the fresh pineapple in 1/4 inch slices, set in the dehydrator trays and allow them to “bake” overnight.