I am a bit of a gadget geek. Having the right tool for the job is essential, and I find that to be especially true in the kitchen. I have all sorts of super cool tools to assist in my culinary endeavors. Sometimes, when I acquire an exciting new tool, I wonder how I ever got along without it. That is precisely the case with my dehydrator.
It’s still a bit of a novelty to me as I’ve only had it for about a year. I am still discovering new things to do with it all the time. I use it weekly to make yogurt and when I find a fabulous price on produce or have a bumper crop from the garden, my dehydrator will soon be humming away.
One of my favorite things about my dehydrator is the ability to dry healthy foods to take along while traveling. I am not much of a fast food fan, unless of course we’re talking about Chick-fil-A. That is another story altogether. Mmmmm… just thinking about that fabulously fried chicken sandwich with extra pickles and a side of waffle fries makes my mouth water.
But I digress. Airport food, fast food, and vending machine foods just aren’t my thing. So when I travel I make darn sure I have some good and healthy, travel friendly snacks to munch on. And, because I am a bit of a cheapskate, ahem, I mean because I am frugal and eating out can pinch the pocketbook, dehydrating my own food is the perfect solution. So with a trip to the beach and four days of road travel just on the horizon, I have been busy making snacks for our family vacation.
I’ve recently fallen in love with kiwi. I don’t know why, but I never really used to care for the fuzzy little fruit. But now I just can’t seem to get enough of it. Since eating it fresh while on the road would be a bit problematic, I decided now would be a good time to try dehydrating it. It must be kiwi season because I am finding loads of it at the grocery that’s perfectly ripe and delightfully sweet and juicy.
The process of preparing the kiwi was pretty fast compared to some other fruits I’ve dried. It was simply a matter of washing, peeling, slicing and then dropping the slices into a Fruit Fresh water bath. Lemon juice, ascorbic acid, citric acid and sodium metabisulfite solutions are also acceptable pretreatments to use when drying fruit. Though it’s not required, pretreating helps keep the fruit from browning during the drying process. Just mix a couple tablespoons of any of these ingredients to a big bowl of water and soak your fruit for a few minutes before putting them on your drying trays. There’s some great information on drying fruits at the Colorado State University Extension web site.
Peeled and sliced, here are my kiwi slices taking a little dip before heading to the dryer.
Then onto the drying tray and into the dehydrator set to 120 degrees.
I don’t remember how long they were in the dehydrator, but if I had to guess I’d say about 7-8 hours.
Wow! The resulting flavor of the dried fruit is fantastic! The first bite was like a little flavor bomb going off in my mouth! The concentrated flavor of the chewy morsel had me digging in for bite after yummy bite. I knew immediately that I had not made nearly enough for the trip. This jar will be long gone before we ever pull out of the driveway and head to the beach. Who am I kidding, this jar is going to be long gone before I even finish writing this post!