Monday, January 13, 2014

A year of fruit drying

For Christmas 2012, Ben bought the family a fruit drier. We've been eating its produce for a year and I can confidently say that it's been a good buy for pleasure and thrift - the winner was this Christmas bowl of dried fruit, bought fresh at the supermarket and then dried, all for a fraction of the cost of the pre-prepared basket:
Clockwise starting from the bottom, we have dried apple (soak the pieces in water with a little lemon juice as you chop them), coconut (a new one - fantastic!), mango (an old favourite), grapes (new to us as our own grape harvest this year was crummy, and much moister and more tasty than bought raisins) and, in the middle, pear.
Here's the machine itself - obviously you have to factor in the cost of the electricity, and we try to cut the pieces fairly small as chunks take a long, long time to dry out, but I guess we've saved a bit of money and have certainly had fun and produced healthy (ish) products from seasonal produce. Here's a list of everything I can remember Ben drying over the year:
 
From our own, or friends' gardens:
chillis (he ran the drier out on the patio for this, for which we were all grateful!)
cherries
bay leaves
 
From the shops when they were cheap:
apple
pineapple
mango
pear (which went mouldy a bit quickly, so we need to try again)
cranberries
coconut
 
For decorations:
orange, lemon and lime slices
 
Some of these have become absolute staples, particularly the dried mango, which is so much cheaper when you buy fresh fruit in season than in pre-prepared dried packs. The chillis were also really successful, as drying them in bunches hanging around the place may be decorative but really gathers dust. Have any of you tried drying fruit and veg? Do you have any more suggestions for us?

9 comments:

Lululiz said...

I love dried fruit, especially apple and apricots! Your fruit bowl looks so yummy, and drying fruit when it is in season and cheap is such a great idea.

Pom Pom said...

Hi Floss! How nice! I've never tried it, but I do love dried fruit.

Betty said...

I have never seen a machine like that here, Floss but heard about it, very healthy as it evaporates the moisture whilst leaving all the concentrated goodness intact. Your Christmas fruit bowl looks really delicious, I should think it looks pretty when stored in jars (if it doesn't get eaten too fast!) Betty.

Angela said...

My SIL dries tomatoes - but does it by leaving them on a tray in their Land Rover when it is parked outside in the sunshine!
Did you get the machine in France or the UK??
The fruit looks lovely

Fat Dormouse said...

Nice to see you back, Floss!
I would suggest bananas would be a good thing to dry - banana chips in flapjacks or in banana teabread might be then very scrummy.

I love dried apricots, but they're not so keen on me (I won't give you any more information on that!) Like Angela I suggest dried tomatoes might be good too.

Can you dry vegetables as well, do you think?

Cindi said...

I dried lots of tomatoes last summer. Like tomato candy, very good.

Mrs. Cozy Home said...

These look absolutely delicious, they would last one minute flat in my house :)

Purrfect Haven said...

lots to learn and a delight to too. Lovely to visit again, Helen, Darcy and Bingley xxx

green glamour said...

great blog hx