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In a humid environment, with an abundance of fruit at certain times of the year, what is the best method for drying fruit slices for later use? I don't want to use any type of equipment that needs power/active heating (like an oven)... is it possible to simply slice the fruits and leave in the sun/air?

  • See this question for sun-dried tomatoes: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/6059/sun-drying-tomatoes – John Feltz Dec 22 '16 at 16:15
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    Marti helpfully edited your comment about equipment in (not everyone would've noticed it down down there), but it's still a bit unclear: are you ruling out even solar dehydrators, which are basically glorified boxes that you put in the sun? – Cascabel Dec 22 '16 at 18:26
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    Do you really mean zero new equipment, or minimal cost/bulk/power consumption? If the latter you could probably make a solar dehydrator from a clear plastic box with a few vent holes top and bottom, and a reflective/insulating layer on the north side (northern hemisphere, swap in the southern hemisphere). – Chris H Dec 22 '16 at 19:34
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...a dehydrator.

Unless you have some other constraint you've failed to mention, it's what they are made to do. When we had a gas oven with a standing pilot, that kept the oven warm enough to use as a crude dehydrator; now I just use a common electric heat & fan model.

round dehydrator square dehydrator

images are examples, not endorsements.

  • Great thanks for that, but and I apologize I didn't make myself clear... I don't want to use any type of system, convection or oven etc... is it possible to simply slice the fruits and leave in the sun/air? – Hoooray Dec 22 '16 at 16:02
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    You specified humid, so it will probably just rot, not dry, in that case. – Ecnerwal Dec 22 '16 at 16:06
  • Well, if you're on your boat, and the island has a wet side and a dry side, you might be able to load up on the wet side and sail around to the dry side to "sun-dry" stuff. Otherwise... @Jefromi - feel free to find another image - don't know what's up with that. – Ecnerwal Dec 22 '16 at 16:54
  • Something about indexed color gifs. I just manually put in white background and it's okay now. – Cascabel Dec 22 '16 at 16:57
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    Unless you have a bonafide functioning magic wand that you can wave at your fruit while intoning dehydratous you are left with the real world. In the real world, you need to either start with favorable drying conditions, or to create favorable drying conditions. Since you don't have the former, you need SOMETHING to create lower humidity around your fruit - that is "how you dry things" which you want to learn. Adding heat to air is the easiest way to do that, and is what a dehydrator does. You can also remove water from the air, but that's a higher complexity approach. – Ecnerwal Dec 22 '16 at 20:01
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I saw an episode of Good Eats where Alton Brown uses a regular box fan and air conditioning filters to dehydrate jerky. Looks like the same can be applied to fruit according to his Food Network Post. Not sure if this would work in a humid environment though.

Special equipment: 1 box fan, 4 paper air-conditioning filters, 2 bungee cords, 6 (14 by 14-inch) plastic dehydrator sheets In a large mixing bowl, combine the lemon juice and water. Set aside until ready to use. Peel, core and dice the fruit into 1/2-inch cubes, with the exception of the strawberries. Slice the strawberries 1/8 of an inch thick. Place the fruit into the lemon water and allow to soak for up to 2 minutes. Remove and drain thoroughly. Lay 1 (14 by 14-inch) plastic dehydrator sheet on 1 of the air-conditioning filters. Place the fruit on the plastic dehydrator sheet and cover with another plastic sheet. Repeat this process with remaining plastic sheets and two more filters, stacking on top of the first one. Top these with the remaining empty filter. Next, lay the box fan on its side and lay the filters on top of it. Strap the filters to the fan with two bungee cords. Stand the fan upright, plug in and set to high. Dry for 42 to 48 hours. When dry, the fruit should be pliable but not sticky. You should not be able to squeeze moisture from the fruit. If using a commercial dehydrator, follow the manufacturer's directions. Remove the fruit from filters and store in an airtight container in a cool dry place. Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown, 2007

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/dried-fruit-recipe.html?oc=linkback

  • #Gitmach thank you, I will try a slightly revised version of your idea, and report back, it seems this might be the way forward – Hoooray Dec 23 '16 at 7:14
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    Wait, so you are okay with some equipment? Could you please edit your question so people can tell what you are and aren't okay with? – Cascabel Dec 23 '16 at 7:19
  • @Jefromi I think Hooray doesn't want to use equipment that uses heat. He stated that he didn't want to use "any type of system, connection or oven etc" – gitmach Dec 23 '16 at 17:40
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    @gitmach Probably? Or active heat, i.e. something that needs electricity or flame? But it might also be that bulk is a concern, and they like your suggestion because they already have a box fan. Anyway, that's why I asked a few times for them to just edit the question and tell us. – Cascabel Dec 23 '16 at 17:46

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