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I have a recipe that calls for dehydrating raspberries and lemon rind with the following technique:

  • Scatter raspberries and pieces of lemon rind over a sheet of baking paper on a plate.
  • Place in the microwave on the lowest possible setting for 40-45 minutes until dehydrated.

The dehydration is done so that the fruit can then be ground up into a powder for a dessert and you can see how the dehyration technique above would work.

However, I don't have currently own a microwave oven. Is there an alternative technique to achieve the dehydration?

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On a shoe rack in a clothes dryer? –  jontyc Jan 24 '12 at 11:30
    
@jontyc very interesting idea - but how do you keep them on the rack? –  rumtscho Jan 24 '12 at 11:41
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The racks I'm aware of don't rotate with the drum, for example: i963.photobucket.com/albums/ae113/wilxsmith/Laundry%20Center/…. But double check there are no stray raspberries before doing the next load of whites :) –  jontyc Jan 24 '12 at 13:05
    
I think your recipe means oven, not microwave. Microwaves don't really have a "lowest possible setting", for one thing. 45 minutes in a microwave is a really long time. And since they work by exciting water, if it did manage to dry out the fruit the microwave would get less and less effective as the fruit dried. Try an ordinary oven on the lowest possible setting. –  Kate Gregory Jan 25 '12 at 21:19
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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

There are any number of home dehydrators available commercially, such as the Nesco FD-75PR. I have one like this and it works well. However, as Alton Brown demonstrates in this excerpt from Good Eats, a dehydrator for fruit can be constructed quickly and easily as well.

[Edit] In the video Alton demonstrates using a typical box fan, home AC filters and inexpensive plastic mesh, all bound with a couple of bungie cords to create a simple, but effective, dehydrator. If the video remains down you can also find it on You Tube by searching for "Alton Brown Fruit Dehydrator". (thanks for the update @Aaronut)

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The video appears to be down. As we've often asked in the past, please provide some context for links; what does Alton Brown use to make the dehydrator and what is the general procedure? –  Aaronut Jan 24 '12 at 12:03
    
wilderness-survival.net/forums/… appears to have a partial transcript, and goodeatsfanpage.com/season11/dried_fruit/witheringbites.htm has a full one. –  Yamikuronue Jan 24 '12 at 15:59
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You post does say where you are located. If your in the SW then sun drying might be an option. Otherwize you will have to use artificial means.

When drying fruit, its air dryness and volume of air that matters rather than heat. While heating does allow more moisture to be absorbed from your food, overheating it (in an oven or one of those counter top dehydrators) tends to give the food a slightly cooked taste, whichI find a little unpleasant.

So I would do this:

  1. find a nice dry place in your house.
  2. put a cooling rack (or aything that will support the fruit and allow air movement through. eg. cheese cloth) in front of a fan so the air is blowing over the fruit at a good rate.
  3. If its very cool in you chosen location apply a bit of heat with a blow heater or a light build to raise the temp of the air blowing over the fruit just a bit. We are not looking to cook the fruit here.
  4. Leave for 24-48 hrs

You may want t try rubbing a bit of the juice from the lemon on the berries to help preserve their color during the drying process.

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If you have an oven and it has a low setting, you can use that. Generally the lower the better--I haven't seen an oven that goes below 150 F. Even then, I don't trust the oven's built in thermostat. Instead, I get a cheap bi-metal oven thermometer, which is far more reliable...but I digress. I've dehydrated tomatoes with varying success using an oven. I was quite surprised that they could get a brownish color from 200 F--the lowest on my oven.

Any gentle, low temperature heat source would work. You could dehydrate your raspberries if the sunlight in your area is sufficiently strong.

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Yes, sun is definitely the best way to dry them. However, you need heat, strong sun rays, and lowish air humidity for that, probably won't work in winter (although it is probably the perfect moment if the OP happens to live in Australia). –  rumtscho Jan 24 '12 at 11:40
    
OP lives in London. –  Mien Jan 24 '12 at 17:26
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