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How to dry fruit and vegetables at home

Mixture of dried fruit on wooden table
Drying out your fruit and veg is a great method of unlocking nutrients and creating healthy versions of your favourite snacks. Here’s what you need to know about this craze that’s sweeping the UK.

How to dehydrate your fruit and veg in the oven

You can dehydrate your fruit and vegetables in your oven by turning your oven onto its lowest setting. You just need to slice your fruit and vegetables very thinly, put them on a sheet of parchment paper on a baking tray and bake for 6 – 8 hours. Or you can buy a food dehydrator although they range in cost from around £25 - £800. They extract water from food using hot air without cooking it which can make the food even more flavoursome than it is fresh and extend its shelf life too.

Top foods to dehydrate

Here are some of the tastiest you’ll definitely want to try: Apricots They make a great sweet snack on their own, or you could blend them with other fruits to make a smoothie. Strawberries Sprinkle some on top of some granola or yoghurt, they’re delicious! Apples You could easily become hooked once you try dipping some apple slices in peanut butter Blueberries Why not make your own healthy cereal bars with dehydrated blueberries? Peppers Great in a stir-fry or if you want something healthy to snack on between meals. Mushrooms You can add them to soups, omelettes or homemade pizza for extra flavour.

Top dehydrating tips

Whether you have a dehydrator or not, here are the top dehydrating tips from our health experts.  
  1. Vegetables don’t have to be fresh to be dehydrated, you can dehydrate frozen vegetables too.
  2. Fruits dehydrate best if you soak them first before peeling and slicing. You want them to be the same thickness or they’ll dry at different rates.
  3. As well as fruit and vegetables, you can also dehydrate herbs.
  4. Before you dehydrate vegetables that you’d normally cook before eating, such as broccoli, cauliflower or peas, you’re best steaming them first to get the best results.
  5. Vegetables you can eat raw such as cucumber, mushrooms or tomatoes can be dehydrated without cooking. They’ll just need slicing thinly before putting on a dehydrator tray.
  6. Dehydration times vary depending on what you’re drying out and your dehydrator so make sure you check your dehydrator’s instruction manual. Some foods can take up to 38 hours.
  7. Always leave the dried fruits, vegetables or herbs to cool in your dehydrator before storing them in airtight containers.

Our most popular dried fruits

If you don’t want to have to wait that long, why not buy fruit and vegetables that have already been dried? Here are our most popular dried fruits:
  1. Dried dates
  2. Dried apricots
  3. Dried prunes
  4. Banana chips
  5. Sun-dried mango
  6. Cranberries
  7. Dried goji berries
  8. Dried apple rings
  9. Dried figs
  10. Dried strawberries
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