Choosing the Best Fruit to Dehydrate and How to Dry It

Mixed dry fruits spilled out of a jar on a table
The best fruit to dehydrate depends on many factors such as how quickly you need to get them dried, the desired use for them, and how long you intend to store them. Bananas, apricots, pineapples, apples, and berries such as raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries are all popular choices for making dehydrated fruit.

What is the Best Fruit to Dehydrate?

Most fruits can be dehydrated, so the best fruit for you is one that you enjoy eating! There are a lot of fruits that can be dehydrated easily for long term storage or as a healthy, portable and easy snack.

One of my favorite fruits for drying is bananas because of their versatility and nearly universal likeability. Creating dehydrated banana chips is super easy, with minimal prep required, and creates an amazing, tasty snack for kids and grown ups alike.

Dried apricots are another favorite. Not only are they delicious, but they’re relatively easy to create, as there is little prep and no chopping required. The only downside of dried apricots is they take a long time to dry out – up to 24 hours!

Another popular option is to create a dried berry medley. Almost any berries work for this: raspberries, cranberries, and dried strawberries are all excellent toppings for granola, teas, or trail mix.

Finally, if you’re after something with a hint of old school cool, try drying out some pineapple or apple slices. Cut the fruit into thin slices and preserve with a sprinkle of lemon juice for a delicious lunchbox snack!

Dehydrated apples, mangos, and pineapples
Dehydrated apples, pineapples, and mango

How to Dehydrate Fruit with a Food Dehydrator

It’s best to dehydrate fruit that is at its peak so make sure you’re buying good produce. Always get the best fruit you can afford, or wait until your fruit is ripe to pick it from your garden. Keep in mind that blanching in boiling water is not required for fruits – this is usually only needed for starchy veggies such as potato, zucchini, or sugar snap peas.

  1. The first step is to prepare your chosen fruit for the drying process. This generally involves giving everything a good rinse under running water and a scrub to remove any remaining soil, before chopping your fruit into thin slices with a sharp knife – around 1/8” to 1/2” inch thick is a good bet for most fruit.
  2. Once your fresh fruit is sliced, it’s a good idea to pretreat it. The best options for pretreating fruit for food preservation are ascorbic acid or vitamin C powder, though citric acid can also work in a pinch. Add your chosen pre-treatment powder to cold water to create a soaking solution, and allow the fruit to soak for ten minutes before draining and patting dry with a paper towel.
  3. Lay your fruit out on dehydrator trays or on a nonstick pan lined with parchment paper in the oven if you don’t own a food dehydrator.
  4. Set your dehydrator to the temperature for the specific fruit you’ve chosen, or turn the oven on to it’s lowest setting.
  5. Leave the fruit to dehydrate for the recommended drying time – this will vary from fruit to fruit so it is important to know how long to dry the fruit you’ve chosen. Keep turning the fruit at regular intervals to ensure even drying, and check it regularly.
  6. Once the fruit is thoroughly dehydrated, allow it to cool. Store in airtight containers and place in a cool, dark place.

Why Pretreating Fruit is a Good Idea

Pretreating fruit doesn’t affect the taste – what it does is prevent oxidation. Pretreating fruit is optional, but it is generally a good idea to create a delicious, appealing product.

Light fruits – such as apples, plums, and cantaloupe – tend to darken as soon as they are cut up and exposed to the air.

Pretreating the fruit with vitamin C or ascorbic acid keeps your fruit looking fresh and tasty through the dehydrated food process!

What Fruits are the Quickest to Dehydrate?

Fruits with a higher water content tend to dehydrate slower. For this reason, berries – which, due to their size, seem like they should be fast – are actually some of the slower fruits to dry. Some of the quickest fruits to dehydrate are bananas, grapes, kiwi, and tomatoes!

Here is a helpful list, including drying times for some of the most popular fruits:

Type of FruitDehydrating Time
Apples7-15 hours
Apricots20-28 hours
Bananas5-7 hours
Berries10-15 hours
Cherries13-21 hours
Cranberries10-12 hours
Figs22-30 hours
Grapes4-6 hours
Kiwi6-12 hours
Nectarines8-16 hours
Peaches8-16 hours
Pears8-16 hours
Pineapple8-10 hours
Plums22-30 hours
Rhubarb6-10 hours
Strawberries7-15 hours
Tomatoes4-6 hours

What Fruit Cannot Be Dehydrated?

Most fruits can be dehydrated. However, some can be difficult, have special preparation methods, or not have as long of a shelf-life.

One of these is avocados. Avocados have a very high fat content, and tend to go rancid quickly after drying unless you take special care of them. This doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t dehydrate them – if you love avocados and use them regularly, they can be delicious when dried!

Blueberries are a popular fruit to dehydrate – however, you have to be careful to prep them correctly! This involves dropping them quickly into boiling water for 15-30 seconds until their skin cracks. This helps the success of the dehydration process.

Fruit leather is also tough to dry well. It also does not have a long shelf life when dehydrated.

Is Dehydrated Fruit Healthy?

Yes! Dried fruit retains most of the nutritional value of fresh fruit in a more compact package. A one ounce serving of dried fruit counts as one of your five a day – you would need to eat 3 ounces of fresh fruit to say the same.

Dried fruits are also rich in plant compounds that contain antioxidant properties. Antioxidants have been associated with health benefits that include decreased risk of some diseases.

Dehydrated fruit is also an excellent source of fiber. Not only is fiber vital for our gut health, fruit fiber specifically has been linked with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.

One thing to watch out for is the increased sugar content per ounce. Technically, a dried cranberry has the same amount of fruit as a fresh one; however, as they are smaller and easier to consume, people tend to eat more! 3 ounces of dried fruit has a much higher sugar content than 3 ounces of fresh fruit.

Dried cranberries in bowl, next to fresh cranberries scattered on a table.
Fresh and dried cranberries

What are the Benefits of Dehydrated Fruit?

Dried fruit has all the benefits of fresh fruit in a smaller, sweeter package! Because it requires less prep (cutting, washing), it is an excellent option as a quick snack or for kids’ lunchboxes – simply throw it in, and voila!

This also makes it a great option for adding to granola, porridge, smoothies, or teas to get some extra fruit in your diet.

Dried fruit also lasts much better than fresh fruit and takes less storage space. If you are a keen hiker or camper, dehydrated fruit is a good snack to take on your expeditions.

Finally, due to the concentrated sugar content, dried fruit tends to be sweeter and more flavorsome than the fresh alternative. This can make it more appealing for kids and grown ups, helping us to get our five a day!

Shelf-Life and Storage Tips for Dehydrated Fruit

Dried fruits should be stored in airtight containers in a cool, dry, dark place. Mason jars are a lovely option, as they are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Dehydrated fruit can last anywhere from four months to a year in storage. How long it lasts depends mainly on how well it is stored and the temperature of the storage room – fruit kept in hotter rooms will keep for less time.

Jack Fairey

Jack is a writer and keen foodie based in London, England. When he's not writing, he can be found in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes for him and his partner to enjoy!

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