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Homemade dried fruit?  This thread currently has 794 views. Print Print Thread
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ruthiegirl
Tuesday, June 1, 2010, 2:01pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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I want to send DD1 to camp with lots of dried fruit (and maybe dried veggies too?) so she has an alternative if they serve a lot of wheat and/or corn at any given meal. I want to send her with a variety of foods that keep well without refridgeration.

Anyway, we were thinking it might be cheaper to dry food ourselves instead of buying it already dried. This also gives us control over the ingredients (we dont need to put sulphur dioxide or canola oil in anything we dry at home!) I can buy raisins at Costco for a very good price, but other Costco dried fruits are full of junk, and the dried fruits at Trader Joe's are more expensive.

we don't have a dehydrator and it's not in the budget this month. We need to make this work with what's already in our kitchen, or abandon the project.

We tried making dried banana in the toaster oven yesterday, and now we've got a few strawberries and some pear slices in there. We figure, if this works, we'll use the big oven and make large amounts at once. She put fruit slices on a piece of parchment paper, and left it in the toaster oven at 150 degrees F for about a day or so, until it's fully dried. The big oven can only go down to 170 though.

Any tips or techniques on drying fruit in an oven? Does it need to be flipped halfway through or anything like that?

Also, how can we compare the cost of fresh vs dried fruits? We can't just compare price per ounce because dried fruit is more concentrated. I'm not going to go through the trouble of drying bananas if the pre-packaged ones end up costing the same!


Ruth, Single Mother to 19yo   O- Leah , 18yo O- Hannah, and  12yo B+ Jack


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ABJoe
Tuesday, June 1, 2010, 3:58pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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I think the commercial products are probably less expensive than drying it yourself, but the avoids are the motivation for doing it yourself...

Did you weigh the bananas before and after drying?  Or just after drying, if you know the number of bananas that you dried?  This is how to compare the weight of the dried chips to fresh and calculate the cost between fresh and dried...


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DenverFoodie
Tuesday, June 1, 2010, 4:08pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Here's a link that might be helpful.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/432107/how_to_make_homemade_dried_fruit_snacks.html
At least preparing at home you know what you started out with in terms of quality.


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Lola
Tuesday, June 1, 2010, 4:11pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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jerky might also be a good idea


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Chloe
Tuesday, June 1, 2010, 4:27pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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If the fruit isn't dehydrated enough....it will get moldy with time.  I've tried drying fruit in my oven which will go down to 150 but I could see within a few days that the fruit was starting to form mold. Just make sure that you're drying it long enough and that you test some of the fruit and see how long it lasts in its dried state before sending it to camp.  

I don't have a food dehydrator either but my oven did work to dehydrate fruits.

Good luck, Ruthie.   

PS for cost comparison, it takes 25 pounds of fresh fruit to make 5 pounds of dehydrated fruit.


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Chloe  -  Tuesday, June 1, 2010, 5:07pm
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Kathleen
Tuesday, June 1, 2010, 6:44pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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What about making fruit leather?  I bet you could dry it right on parchment paper.  And get it thin enough so mold isn't an issue!  Strawberries with a bit of lemon sounds yummy.


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ruthiegirl
Tuesday, June 1, 2010, 7:19pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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First I'm going to compare prices of dried fruit at Trader Joe's with the prices for fresh fruits at various local stores (looking for lowest prices.) If I can buy dried fruits for the same price as making our own, I'll buy them ready-made.


Ruth, Single Mother to 19yo   O- Leah , 18yo O- Hannah, and  12yo B+ Jack


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Lola
Tuesday, June 1, 2010, 11:39pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Quoted Text
you should plan on getting approximately five pounds of fruit out of every twenty-five pounds of fresh fruit you use. Now you know why buying dried fruit is so expensive, eh?

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/432107/how_to_make_homemade_dried_fruit_snacks.html?cat=22


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ruthiegirl
Friday, June 4, 2010, 2:55pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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It looks like the same link was posted twice, first by DenverFoodie and second by Lola.

I'm concerned that I can't do this properly because the link says to use the oven at 140, but my oven only goes down to 170.

Yesterday, I wrote down some dried fruit prices at Trader Joe's. I'll divide them by 5 so I can easily compare them to fresh fruit prices. A couple had the price per pound on the shelf, and those I can see are very good prices (dried peaches for 4.59/lb is equivilent to less than a dollar per pound of fresh.)

I'm having a brain fart right now with the other prcies. If 4.4oz of dried bananas are $1.29, do I divide 1.29 by 4.4 the other way around? And how do I convert that to prices per pound again? (Yes, I did take algebra in 8th grade but these numbers aren't making sense to me right now.)


Ruth, Single Mother to 19yo   O- Leah , 18yo O- Hannah, and  12yo B+ Jack


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ABJoe
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Quoted from ruthiegirl
If 4.4oz of dried bananas are $1.29, do I divide 1.29 by 4.4 the other way around? And how do I convert that to prices per pound again? (Yes, I did take algebra in 8th grade but these numbers aren't making sense to me right now.)

$1.29/4.4oz.- $0.293$/oz. * 16 = $4.69 / lb.
Quoted from ruthiegirl
I'm concerned that I can't do this properly because the link says to use the oven at 140, but my oven only goes down to 170.

The difference this will make is that the outside will dry slightly faster than the inside, so you may have to dry half-way, then shut the oven off for a short period (my guess is half-hour to an hour) to allow more moisture to move from the center toward the outside, then allow it to dry more.  You may need to watch it to see that it doesn't get too moist and mold in storage...


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ruthiegirl
Friday, June 4, 2010, 3:32pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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And $4.69 / 5 = $0.938 per pound equivilent of fresh bananas. I can get fresh bananas for cheaper than that.


Ruth, Single Mother to 19yo   O- Leah , 18yo O- Hannah, and  12yo B+ Jack


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Goldie
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Quoted Text
I'm concerned that I can't do this properly because the link says to use the oven at 140, but my oven only goes down to 170.


leave the oven door open a little.. if it takes a little longer so what..


Quoted Text
Quoted Text
you should plan on getting approximately five pounds of fruit out of every twenty-five pounds of fresh fruit you use. Now you know why buying dried fruit is so expensive, eh?


that is interesting.. so one prune would be enough for ONE snack???? man one plum is easier.. Prunes are so good..

as for price.. I dry only fruit and vegetables . meat. if I have to much and must use it up.. then after its dried I freeze it for further preservation.. ( out of site out of mind) fruit dried has to much sugar for me..


Being here is invaluable, but not enough. We need ALL the Doctors. I needed them for a very small cancer spot-I could never feel!!! Please do your mammograms! Doing so saved me from cancer later on. I am grateful! Thanks for learning from my experience! I was lucky! I wish the same for YOU!
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ABJoe
Friday, June 4, 2010, 5:12pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Quoted from Goldie
leave the oven door open a little.. if it takes a little longer so what..

Leaving the door open will also cause the oven to burn significantly more to get the same result...   Also, heating the house more...

Of course, life is full of trade-offs...


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JJR
Friday, June 4, 2010, 7:38pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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How long is camp?


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ruthiegirl
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4 weeks, with Visiting Day after 2 weeks (when I could bring her more food, if necessary.)


Ruth, Single Mother to 19yo   O- Leah , 18yo O- Hannah, and  12yo B+ Jack


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Lola
Friday, June 4, 2010, 8:22pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Quoted Text
leave the oven door open a little.. if it takes a little longer so what..



then there s the cost of electricity or gas to sum up into the total cost, if you want to be like very precise....

don t forget to add that to the equation


''Just follow the book, don't look for magic fixes to get you off the hook. Do the work.'' Dr.D.'98
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Goldie
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Quoted Text
Leaving the door open will also cause the oven to burn significantly more to get the same result...   Also, heating the house more...

Of course, life is full of trade-offs...


RIGHT.. for me the tradeoff is in not throwing food out for lack of ability to eat (banana)  on time before they spoils..

or having foods that are delish in a chewy way???  mmm  


Being here is invaluable, but not enough. We need ALL the Doctors. I needed them for a very small cancer spot-I could never feel!!! Please do your mammograms! Doing so saved me from cancer later on. I am grateful! Thanks for learning from my experience! I was lucky! I wish the same for YOU!
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JJR
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Give her some bananas for the first week and unripe plantains for the next.  Raisins, nuts, rice cakes, what else would last a bit, hmmmmmm.......  Cherries?  Grapes will last a couple of days.  A canteloupe might last 3 or 4 days but she'd have to share it when she cuts it up or get a cooler.  You don't have to refrigerate dates until they are open if you can find a small enough box of them.

I bought a few lar a bars from the Vitamin Shoppe and they have pure ingredients.  Dates and nuts.  Etc.  They're not terribly expensive, although they're kind of small.  But you don't want them too big because they're rich.


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"Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." - Phillipians 4:8
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ruthiegirl
Thursday, June 10, 2010, 3:42pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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Yeah, this is getting too complicated, and it looks like it's not even saving me that much money. I'm planning to get her a whole bunch of fruit from Trader Joe's, plus raisins from Costco, and [/i]MAYBE[/i] do a single batch of bananas and/or strawberries.


Ruth, Single Mother to 19yo   O- Leah , 18yo O- Hannah, and  12yo B+ Jack


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deblynn3
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dry your fruit in the oven on the top part (part with the holes) of your broiler pan or on clean screen. Window screen will work fine this will allow air to go around your fruit. Don't pack the fruit tight for the same reason. Put in zipper bags with the air pushed out. And save those little gel packs in your pill bottles to but in the are for moisture


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ruthiegirl
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I don't have either of those available.  We've been using cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, and flipping over halfway through if necessary.


Ruth, Single Mother to 19yo   O- Leah , 18yo O- Hannah, and  12yo B+ Jack


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battle dwarf
Saturday, June 12, 2010, 7:40am Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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nutsonline.com has several fruits in their dried fruits collection with no preservatives and none of their freeze dried fruits/berries have anything added to them. i have naturaly dried peaches but sadly those have been out of stock all season due to the bad crop last year. hoping they will have them back this fall as it has been a great year for alot of things so far.
a dehydrater really is a great investment and not really cotsly. you can get a small modle for around 25$ or if you are lucky you can often find them in garage sales and acutions for a song. with out the preservatives and oils they will not be as soft or as...pretty as the normal sort and you will need to refidgerate juicier fruits like peaches. yo can make frute leather out of most things that will last practicly forever. and if you wanted to make your own sweet potato chips it is wonderful becuse the ones you get that are so crunchie are dried before frying and you could use olive oil for it.
hummmm, now i have that mandolin slicer i really aught to try this, the thinner slices would make great chips....


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