Apricots are a popular fruit that is consumed by millions of people across the world. They are not only yummy, but they are also very nutritious. A recent study revealed that just 100g of fresh or dried apricots can enrich you with 12% of vitamin A and C and 6% potassium, a vital mineral that helps to enhance your overall health and wellness. Apricots are also rich in fiber which helps to lower bad cholesterol, high in antioxidants which helps your body to get rid of toxins and calcium with helps in the formation and development of bones. Unfortunately, apricots are highly perishables and fresh apricots can only last for a few days when stored in a refrigerator. If you want this highly nutritious fruit to last for long, then you need to dry them. Dried apricots can last up to 2.5 years and still maintain their nutritional value. But the big question is, how are apricots dried? In this article, we are going to give you step by step process on how to dehydrate apricots at home.
1. Ensure that the apricots are fully ripe
- One of the biggest mistakes that people make is dehydrated under-ripe apricots. If you do so, then you will not enjoy them because they will be bitter. Therefore, before you start the dehydration process, ensure that they are fully ripe so as to enjoy their delicious taste when they are dried.
2. Wash the fruits thoroughly
- Before you start the drying process, ensure that you wash each fruit thoroughly with clean water to remove dirt, debris, insects, and dirt that have mounted on its outer skin. Experts advise that you should only wash the apricot if you want to use it. This is because once this fruit is washed, water usually gets inside core making it rot. Therefore, you should not wash them if you are not planning to use them immediately.
3. Cut the apricot along the seam
- Cut the apricot along the seam with a sharp knife to split the fruits into half. Remove any bad spot then place them into the dehydrator sheets. If you are not planning to consume your apricots within 2-3 months, then we recommend that you should pre-treat them before dehydrating them. This will help to prevent browning. This can be done using lemon juice. Also, make sure you remove any bad spot on the fruit.
4. Turn the apricot halves inside out
- Take each half of the apricot then press them up with your thumb to turn the fruit inside out. This will help expose the interior of the fruit to the heat for even drying. Gently place the apricots on trays and ensure that you leave space between them so that they can all dehydrate properly. We recommend that you place at most 10 apricots per tray and they should be evenly spaced.
5. Dehydrate the apricots
- Before you start dehydrating the apricots, make sure the dehydrator is placed in a well-ventilated area with plenty of space. This will help prevent your house from getting too hot. Gently place the dehydrator sheets with apricots to the dehydrator. Dehydrate the apricots for a period between 16- 20 hours while rotating the trays after a few hours for even cooking. Once the apricots have fully dehydrated, unplug the dehydrator then allow the dried apricots to cool down completely before removing them from the dehydrator.
6. Store the apricot
- The place where you store the dried apricot is very important. We recommend that you store the apricots in mason jars or a resealable jar. Make sure that you remove as much air as you can to prevent moisture or mold build up. Place them in a cool dark place like the pantry. Place them in the refrigerator if you to store them for a long period of time.
Where should you place the dehydrator to avoid overheating your home?
- Because the dehydrator produces a lot of heat, where you place this machine is very important. Experts recommend that it should be placed in a well-ventilated place because it will get hot when you switch it on. There should not be anything behind or above the dehydrator to block airflow. If you live a warm dry area, then you could place it outside or in the garage with the door partially open or on the patio to prevent overheating the house. However, if you keep it outside or on your patio then you should watch out for insects such as ants which are usually attracted by the smell of food.
Should apricots be peeled?
- Not for drying and most recipes don’t require you to peel off the soft skin. The only time when you may be required to peel the skin if when you are using apricots as an ingredient to prepare baked foods. In this case, the skin needs to be peeled off because it can change the appearance and texture of the end product. If you have to peel the skin off, then all that you need to do is place the fresh apricot in boiling water for about 20 seconds then drop them immediately into ice water. This will make the skin to peel off easily.
Do apricots need to be pre-treated?
- It is not a must to pre-treat apricots before storage if you are planning to consume within a short period of time (less than 2 months). However, if you want to store them for a long period of time (more than 2 years) then pre-treating is necessary. Also, pre-treatment generally improves the appearance of dried apricots and will help to prevent browning of fruits prior to dehydrating. If you pre-treat the apricot, then it should be stored in freezer bags or in airtight containers. If you are using freezer bags, then you should ensure that all air is removed before sealing the bag. This will help to keep mold and moisture away.