Tag Archives: Food dehydrator

Easy Delicious Dehydrated Fruit Snacks – Natures Candy

Dehydrated Fruit – Natures Candy

dehydrated fruit natures candy watermelon cantaloupe honeydew pineapple kiwi mango orange lemon

We are heading home from our awesome South Dakota vacation today. I’m so glad that I had made a bunch of dried fruits for the road trip because it was so convenient to have on hand, they didn’t need any refrigeration and it totally satisfied our snacking needs whether we were driving or hiking. At home I chop the dried fruit up into tiny bits to put in my homemade granola. We always keep dried fruit on hand in our house. My hubby takes a baggie to work too so he has snacks.

The Organic Rabbit

Have a sweet tooth? Have kids? Love to snack? Try drying some fruit. It’s candy, but candy that hasn’t  been chemically processed or contains ingredients created in a laboratory. No preservatives and lots of nutritional goodness like vitamins and fiber. Healthy snacking – can it be?

Citrus and apples are the two things that I add anything too. I use coconut palm sugar. The taste resembles a brown sugar/molasses flavor and will brown and sweeten the citrus and apples a bit.

I use dried lemons slices, oranges slices and pink grapefruit slices to flavor my water and tea naturally. One slice will flavor at least 2 glasses of water too. I also eat them as snacks. It’s like a thin taffy. So good.

I only use organic fruits and veggies because I have no interest in drying pesticides and chemicals. Hit up your farmers market for some local organic fruits and veggies and help support local growers in your area at the same time.

driedtomatokiwi

Most people have probably tried dried banana chips or apple chips but have you ever tried dehydrated melon? Holy sweet treat. Dried watermelon is just about the yummiest thing in the world. Watermelon is the sweetest of all the melons when dried with honeydew pulling up a close second. Don’t knock it til you try it, it’s amazing.

DEHYDRATED WATERMELON TASTES LIKE A JOLLY RANCHER

Dehydrating fruits and veggies is pretty much the easier thing you can do. Just cut and dry. My slices are usually around a 1/4 inch thick. For citrus, I dry the rind as well as the flesh. I don’t peel any fruits or vegetables with the exception of bananas and melons. My fruits tend to be crispier at a 1/4 inch thickness and chewier at a 1/2 inch thickness for all other fruits besides watermelon.

watermelonpine

I wrote about dehydrated citrus slices for use in water and bell pepper candy a while ago and talked about my inexpensive dehydrator. This was the best 50 something bucks I ever spent on a kitchen appliance. I can run it constantly for days switching out different fruits and what I’m left with is a huge stash of all natural, sweet and healthy snacks.

The hubby has a wicked sweet tooth and as long as we have a stash of dried fruits on hand, he is a happy camper. Kids will love them and you will love that there aren’t any preservatives or added sugars.

4melonorangepine3

You don’t have to own a dehydrator to dry fruit though. You can easily dry them in your oven. Just set the temperature to 200 degrees and make no plans to use your oven for a while. I usually leave my dehydrator running overnight but I don’t think I would leave my oven on all night. That’s just me, I can be a worrier.

4melonorangepine

The thinner you slice your fruits or vegetables, the crispier they will be and faster they will dry. The thicker they are, the chewier they will be and take a little longer to dry. It’s two totally different snacks. One is almost “chippy” and one is like “taffy” so I usually switch up my slicing sizes.

It doesn’t hurt to have a little extra cutting assistance. I usually pull out the biggest knife, ask the hubby if this one will work and he will most times take the big scary knife out of my hand and show me the correct way to cut the fruit. By the time I’ve “learned” what he taught me, everything is cut. I’m a sneaky Bunny 🙂

hubbycutting

DRYING TIMES FOR CONVENTIONAL OVENS:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place sliced fruit/veggies on parchment paper. You can use multiple parchment paper lined cookie sheets and use both racks. Just remember, the thicker the slices are, the longer they will take to dry.

Most of the time you will be drying for a minimum of 6 hours if using the oven. At 6 hours, flip the fruit/veggies and continue drying if not already dry. If more time is needed, check every couple of hours. You only need to flip them once though.

To test, take a piece of each variety out of the oven and let cool on the counter. If after it’s cooled, squeeze the fruit/veggies and see if there is any moisture left. If so, continue drying for a few more hours and test again. You don’t want there to be any moisture because your treats can go rancid if left out too long. But if they are thoroughly dried, they can sit out for a very very long time but they won’t last that long anyway because they are so yummy.

DRYING TIMES FOR DEHYDRATOR:

Place sliced fruit/veggies on trays. Set temperature to 135 degrees and turn dehydrator on.

I check my fruit/veggies starting at the 8 hour mark. At 8 hours, flip the fruit/veggies and continue drying if not already dry. If more time is needed, check every couple of hours. You only need to flip them once though.

To test, take a piece of each variety out of the dehydrator and let cool on the counter. If after it’s cooled, squeeze the fruit/veggies and see if there is any moisture left. If so, continue drying for a few more hours and test again. You don’t want there to be any moisture because your treats can go rancid if left out too long. But if they are thoroughly dried, they can sit out for a very very long time but they won’t last that long anyway because they are so yummy.

 

 

Red and Orange Bell Pepper Candy

Red and Orange Bell Pepper Candy

I’m sure you are trying to wrap your head around the idea of red and orange bell peppers being candy. They aren’t EXACTLY candy but they are very candy-like.

Only 2 ingredients, sweet, crunchy, healthy, full of nutrients, paleo and gluten-free. Holla!

I use red and orange bell peppers because they are naturally sweeter than the green ones. I hardly ever eat the green ones, I just prefer the flavor of the red, yellow or orange peppers better.

bell pepper red orange candy maple syrup organic vegetable fiber antioxidant dehydrate crunchy snack

Once again I used my most favorite of all kitchen appliances, my trusty dehydrator. I love this thing. I not only like it because I can make all natural snacks like my dried citrus slices, but if you are a “prepper” in any capacity, the opportunity to dry and store food is there too.

This tasty snack is not only easy but is:

  • Paleo
  • Gluten-Free
  • High in vitamin C and vitamin A
  • Contains a significant amount of vitamin B6
  • Good source of fiber
  • Low Calorie
  • Good source of lycopene (has been shown to lower risk of certain cancers)
  • Has antioxidants
  • Contain lutein (a phytonutrient that has been proven to have a protective benefit against macular degeneration)

Those are pretty impressive stats for a simple snack. That’s the way good food should be.

Because dehydrating is done at such a low temperature, the foods dried retain most of their nutrients whereas food heated at high temperatures tend to lose a lot of nutrients.

bell pepper red orange candy maple syrup organic vegetable fiber antioxidant dehydrate crunchy snack

Such a simple recipe packed with nutritional value. I can easily eat 2 bell peppers in one snacking episode. That’s a lot of nutrition in a crunchy sweet treat. Now that’s MY kind of snack.

I only had 2 bell peppers to use but my dehydrator could have easily dried 6 which would have given me a lot more snack inventory. You can adjust the recipe very easily to make as much as you would like.

If you have a lot of little hands in the house, make as many as you can because they are addicting and they will go fast.

Red and Orange Bell Pepper Candy
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Red and Orange Bell Pepper Candy
Author:
Recipe type: Snack, Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-Free
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 organic red bell pepper
  • 1 organic orange bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons organic maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Wash bell peppers and slice into strips about ⅓ to ¼ inch.
  2. Place sliced peppers in a dish and pour maple syrup over it. Massage syrup into pepper strips.
  3. Cover and marinate in fridge for a couple of hours.
  4. Place strips on dehydrator trays without them touching each other and set temperature to 125 degrees for 24 hours.
  5. Check on them after about 20 hours by taking one out and letting it cool to see how dry it is. They should be crunchy and brittle, enough that someone else can hear it when you eat it. If they are not dried enough, the moisture trapped inside can go rancid so you want to make sure they are good and dried.
  6. If they aren't all the way dried, continue drying for as long as necessary. Mine took the whole 24 hours.

 

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Dried Citrus Slices for Water and More!

Dried Citrus Slices for Water and More!

I love adding a slice of fresh lemon or orange to my water or tea. It really helps me get in my bodies required water for the day. Especially when exercising where I lose A LOT of water through sweating.

dried fruit dehydrated citrus vitamin c orange lemon grapefruit coconut sugar sweet water snack healthy

Having fresh slices of citrus on hand isn’t exactly convenient. My solution is to dehydrate mine so that I can have them on hand any time I want. Not only do I add them to my water and tea but I use them for soups and cooking too. As long as they are dehydrated thoroughly, they won’t go bad and I can make a big batch at one time.

dried fruit dehydrated citrus vitamin c orange lemon grapefruit coconut sugar sweet water snack healthy

One of my first kitchen appliances that I actually called “my favorite” was my food dehydrator.  I originally purchased it after buying dried veggie chips at the grocery store and wondered how I could make my own. I did a little research and found out that food dehydrators don’t have to be super expensive.

What I also learned was that by dehydrating foods or heating them a very low temperature, they retain their natural nutrients and attributes. When we cook at higher temperatures, we lose some of those awesome benefits because they are cooked or boiled away. That’s why nutritionists will tell you that it’s much healthier to eat raw fruits and veggies rather than cooking them so you can maximize the benefits.

nesco deydrator fruit food dried herb jerky meat vegetable low  heatThe dehydrator I use is a Nesco dehydrator. It’s one of the most inexpensive ones out there. Since I was just starting on my dehydrating journey, I got myself a 20% off coupon and went to my local Bed Bath & Beyond. I ended up paying a little over $50.

Let me tell you, I’ve really gotten my money’s worth out of this handy dandy super easy to use dehydrator. I’ve had my dehydrator for almost a year and have used the crap out of it! Sometimes I’ll have it running for days at a time.

I dehydrate all kinds of things:

  • Fruits (citrus, bananas, pineapple, cherries, blueberries, cranberries, grapes, apples, pears, etc) to use in homemade granola or just to snack on.
  • Veggies (bell peppers, chickpeas, kale, spinach, green beans, sweet potatoes, etc).
  • Herbs to use in my recipes
  • I’ve also dabbled in making my own jerky

dried fruit dehydrated citrus vitamin c orange lemon grapefruit coconut sugar sweet water snack healthy

Making dried citrus slices is among the list of super easy, almost fool-proof things to dehydrate.  There are only ingredients: citrus and coconut palm sugar. You can use regular sugar if you want but I prefer coconut palm sugar for several reasons. I love the taste of it (it resembles light brown sugar) and it’s lower on the glycemic index list.

I sliced my organic citrus about a quarter inch thick, maybe a little less, spread them out on parchment paper and sprinkled with coconut palm sugar. I rubbed the palm sugar in with my fingers to make sure it got it into the rinds as well.

dried fruit dehydrated citrus vitamin c orange lemon grapefruit coconut sugar sweet water snack healthy

You can actually dehydrate all the foods listed above in a conventional oven but it does tie up your oven for a long period of time but if that doesn’t matter to you then you can set your oven to a temp of 200 degrees.

dried fruit dehydrated citrus vitamin c orange lemon grapefruit coconut sugar sweet water snack healthy

Make sure you flip the citrus half way through the drying process whether you are using an oven or dehydrator.

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Dried Citrus Slices for Your Water
 
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Total time
 
Dried Citrus Slices for Your Water
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Ingredients
  • Your choice of citrus. I used 1 pink grapefruit, 1 seedless orange and 1 lemon (all organic)
  • ¼ - ½ cup of coconut palm sugar (or white sugar)
Instructions
  1. Slice citrus about a ¼ inch thick, maybe a little less if you can.
  2. Place slices on parchment paper and sprinkle with coconut palm sugar.
  3. Either place citrus in your dehydrator trays and set to 135 degrees for 8 to 9 hours, flipping halfway through.
  4. Or place citrus on the parchment paper on a cookie sheet in the oven at 200 degrees for 6 hours, flipping halfway through.
  5. After drying, take a piece or two from the dehydrator or the oven and let it cool for a few minutes to see if after cooled all the moisture is out of the slices. The rinds should be very hard and no moisture in the flesh. If there is still moisture, the slices can go rancid so you want them as dry as possible so they have a long shelf life.

 

I like to snack on my slices, not so much the rind because it can be bitter sometimes but when I use them for water, tea or cooking I include the whole slice, rind included. One slice flavors my water perfectly and lasts through a couple of refills. Plus you get a little dose of vitamin C with your water.

dried fruit dehydrated citrus vitamin c orange lemon grapefruit coconut sugar sweet water snack healthy

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