Apricot is one such food that is popularly devoured both fresh and dried. Packed with loads of minerals and vitamins, the sweet and tangy fruit also is a great fiber source. Dehydrating apricots is a renowned practice around the globe. Dried apricots serve as a popular delectable and chewy snack that can fit in a lunch box, your handbag, and the drawer at your work table. The best way to consume apricots year-round is to dehydrate and store them properly. Before jumping on how to dehydrate apricots, let’s first know few facts about apricots.
What are Dehydrated Apricots?
Dehydrated or dried apricots are freshly preserved apricots that have been slowly dried by removing all the moisture. Left behind is a dried, shrunken fruit dense in energy, nutrients, and fiber. The practice of drying apricots was first introduced thousands of years ago in medieval times. The procedure was done to preserve the quality of apricots before transporting them from Asia to Europe via the silk route. Once considered royalty, the delicacy was accessible to a few people only unlike today.
How to Dehydrate Apricots in a Dehydrator?
Fresh apricots do not last more than a few weeks. In contrast, the dehydrated ones can last up to 2 years. Apricots can be dried in a dehydrator or an oven, which can be done quickly at home. Store them in a mason jar and place them either in the fridge or your pantry.
Follow these steps to dehydrate apricots in a dehydrator:
Step No 1: Prepare the Apricots
Make sure you choose ripe apricots, that are not overly soft and tender. Discard the bruised apricots or cut that specific part and throw the ones that have mold growth on them. Once you have selected your apricots, wash them thoroughly with cool and running water. You may rub them with your hands to remove any stubborn dirt or debris. Remove the pits by pulling apart the apricot into two halves using a knife or your fingers. Now pop the central portion of each half to expose it to the air.
Tip: Do not peel the apricots as the peel is highly nutritious and safe to eat.
Step No 2: Pretreating the Apricots
Before popping the apricot halves into the Dehydrator, you need to pre-treat them with Vitamin C. This helps prevent browning due to oxidation. This also helps retain the Vitamin C content in the apricots while drying. For this, you need to mix a teaspoon of vitamin C tablets (500 mg) crushed into a powder and mix it into a quart of water. Shift the apricots into the mixture and leave them soaked for 5 minutes. You can occasionally stir them to ensure every piece is evenly coated with the vitamin C mixture.
Step No 3:Place in the Dehydrator
It’s now time for the fun part. Place all the apricot halves on a dehydrator tray. Make sure they are not stacked over each other and are at a little distance from each other. Set the temperature of the Dehydrator at 140 F. Let them dry in the Dehydrator for over 18 to 24 hours. The apricot slices must be pliable to touch.
Pro Tip: Before placing the apricot slices in the dehydrator, make sure the apricot slices are evenly sized. This way all of them dehydrate equally.
Step no 4: Store Properly.
Once dried, it’s time to store your snack. Before doing that, cool them for a while. You can try different storage techniques such as:
- Vacuum Bags
- Mason Jars
- Polythene Bag
Keep the stored apricots away from humidity, sun exposure, and heat. There is no need to freeze the dehydrated apricots. However, you can try freezing the dehydrated apricots if you live in areas where the climate is humid.
How Do I Know When My Apricots are Dried?
You must take careful steps while drying out the apricots. Make sure not to under-dry or over-dry them. If you are a beginner, you must be wondering how do I know when my apricots are dried? Well, here are a few points that you must keep in mind to get the perfectly dried apricots:
- After placing them in the Dehydrator, you must take a peek after 12 hours. At this stage, press the center of the fruit inside out to expose the most part. You can also flip them if you have done this step already.
- Take a piece out and allow it to cool completely to perform the moisture test.
- The apricots will first be sticky and dry up as the moisture evaporates.
- When the apricots are completely dried, they will be:
- Make sure they are not crunchy.
- Look out for the bright orange patches as they are the indicators of moisture content.
How Long Will Dehydrated Apricots Last?
If you wish to consume your favorite snack for a long time, you must refrigerate it. Keeping at a cool temperature will let them last for over a year. When left out at room temperature, the dried apricots will only last 2 to 3 months as they can absorb moisture from the air again. Likewise, do not store them at a very high temperature as it directly affects the nutritional value and the fruit’s color.
How Do You Make Dried Apricots at Home?
Making dried apricots is a practice that all of us should do at home. It is a simple method to get a highly nutritious, sweet, and delicious snack and a healthy alternative to sugary snacks on the market. Here are four easy ways you can get the perfect chewy dried apricots:
The methods are simple and quick and can be done quickly at home. The initial steps are the same in all the processes, such as washing, slicing, blanching, pat-drying, and arranging.
Apricots are rich in vitamins and nutrients and render multiple health benefits to our health. Dried apricots are a centuries-old delicacy and a quick preservation technique to enjoy the delicious fruit all year. Apricots can be dried in multiple ways; however, our recommended method is using a food dehydrator. The process takes up to 24 hours and requires efficient storage later.