Monday, October 10, 2011
Dehydrating Canned Fruit
One of the interesting new concepts that is fascinating to me is to dehydrate canned fruit; specifically canned pineapple.
I’m sure one of the first things that comes to mind when you first hear about this is the question, “Why?” I know that is what I asked when I first heard this idea.
There are several reasons why dehydrating canned pineapple or other fruits might be a good option:
First is the reason of rotation. If you have pineapple that you are not using up fast enough, you can always dehydrate some of you pineapple storage to make room for fresher pineapple. One pound of canned pineapple chunks will dry to about 2 – 3 oz of dried fruit.
Second is because of space concerns. Most of us only have a limited amount of storage space for canned goods, but still want the option of having fruit in our storage. Storing dried pineapple takes up little space and enables us to use the room for other things.
Third is because dried pineapple is an awesome snack and it is expensive and time consuming to dehydrate fresh pineapple, which can take many, many hours to dry, not to mention the time it takes to cut it up and prepare it for drying. The dried canned pineapple is very sweet and makes a delicious treat which is healthy and readily available. Remember, as the fruit dries the flavor intensifies and becomes even sweeter.
Drying canned pineapple is easy to do. The only stipulation really, is that you cut your pineapple in small enough pieces that they dry evenly and don’t take quite as long to dry as larger chunks. The ideal pineapple for drying is the tidbit size as opposed to the chunks. The chunks or slices can be easily cut into uniform chunks however, which will dry quicker and more thoroughly. When cutting pineapple for drying, remember that ¼” thickness is about right. Any less and your pieces will be too small, as it does shrink quite a bit.
Just drain the pineapple well. The juice can be used immediately for drinking or frozen for later use in cooking if you wish. If you have a temperature control on your dehydrator, dry at 135º. Spread the pineapple on your drying trays and dry for between 8 and 16 hours, or even longer depending on the size of your chunks, how juicy the pineapple pieces are, how many trays you are drying at one time and how thinly the pineapple is spread. It may be a good idea to try a can or two first so you can see how your dryer will work and how much time it will take. Watch your first batch carefully and dry only until the pieces are bendable and no juice remains.
I am so grateful that I found this idea because we love pineapple and, other than canned, have never stored any. I’m drying a couple of cases for our storage which I know will become a favorite snack. I understand that fruit cocktail and mandarin oranges also dry well. Has anyone tried these?