The first things I decided to dehydrate in my new Excalibur were simple: Apples, oranges, and pears. I had them available, and they are so easy to dehydrate, I though it would be a good place to start.
My Excalibur model has a handy guide right on the top of the dehydrator that explains which temperatures items should be dried at (fruits do well at 135 degrees Fahrenheit). I sliced the apples and pears on the thin side with just a chef's knife (no mandoline this time... I didn't feel like dirty-ing up another piece of equipment) and I cored the apples down the center to make "rings." For both the apples and pears, I dipped them in lemon juice before placing on the dehydrator trays to maintain color (prevent browning). The oranges I sliced a bit thicker, as I plan on using them both in cooking, infusing, and crafting.
Thankfully, my new dehydrator has a timer. That means I was able to "set it and forget it!" and turn it on, go to bed, and wake up in the morning to perfectly dried fruit slices. I left the dehydrator on for six hours, and that seemed to do the trick. Everything was dry, but not brittle. I stored each variety of fruit in mason jars that are in my pantry in the moment. For longer-term storage, I would put them in reusable, freezer-safe containers and store the in the freezer (for up to a year).
I'm looking forward to drying more produce, like beet and carrot chips to add to winter salads. Do you have any uses for your dehydrated produce? I'd love some ideas!
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