Using the sun to dry food is the oldest known method of preserving food, and making delicious and nutritious dried fruit this way is easy. The ideal climate has strong sunlight, with a minimum temperature of 30°C and low humidity. This article will tell you how to dry fruit in the sun without using electricity and without the need for expensive equipment.
Step 1. Prepare a tray to dry with a plastic screen or using gauze tightly stretched into a frame
Interlace a string around the back of the frame and staple at the corners to keep the gauze tight.
Step 2. Harvest the fruits just before they overripe
Choose fruits that have no blemishes.
Step 3. Allow the fruits to cool if they are hot from exposure to the sun
Step 4. Wash, dry, peel (if necessary) and cut the fruit into thin slices
Finely sliced fruit will dry faster. By keeping all the pieces the same size, they will dry evenly.
Step 5. After slicing, avoid oxidizing or darkening the fruit
- Soak the fruit in salt water. Use 6 tablespoons of iodine-free salt with 3.5 l of water. Drain and dry the fruit.
- Bleach apples or apricots by steaming the slices for 5 minutes and then placing them in ice water. Drain and dry the fruit.
- Make a honey "sauce" for peaches, pineapples or bananas by mixing 1 cup sugar, 3 cups water and 1 cup honey.
- Mix warm water, pineapple juice and lemon juice.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of ascorbic acid with 4 cups (1 l) of water for any fruit.
- Mix 1 box of pectin with 1 cup of water and ½ cup of sugar for the peaches, cherries or berries.
Step 6. Arrange the fruits on the tray with space between the slices so they don't touch each other
Step 7. Place a piece of glass over the food to intensify the sun on the fruits, but make sure there is enough space above them for good air circulation
Step 8. Place the tray in the sun for approximately 2-4 days
The exact time depends on the type of fruit and the weather conditions.
Take the fruit indoors when it rains and overnight to prevent moisture from entering them
Step 9. Even the fruits after drying, allowing the moisture from some slices to transfer to the drier slices
This can be done by stirring and mixing the slices for a few days or putting them in paper bags, hanging them on a clothesline and shaking the bags a few times a day for 48 hours.
Step 10. Store dried fruit in an airtight container or ziplock plastic bag
If the containers are kept in a cool, dark place, the fruit will last a minimum of 6 months. Check fruit frequently for mold in the first few weeks of storage and discard suspicious slices
- Store dried fruit in small portions so as not to spoil all the slices if a piece is not completely dry and starts to mold.
- If you want to store dried fruit longer, pasteurize it to destroy insect eggs. To pasteurize, freeze the dried fruit for a few days in a deep freezer or heat it in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 80°C.
- Sprinkle the fruits before storing with sugar or seasoning to prevent them from sticking together.
- Store fruits that have a strong flavor separately.
- Tomatoes can be classified as fruit. Sun-dry small tomatoes by cutting them in half, sprinkle with salt and cover with a net (raised so as not to touch the fruit) and sun-dry for approximately 3 weeks.
- Do not use galvanized metal screens as they can oxidize and leave residue on the fruit.
- Do not dry in the sun if there is a lot of pollution in the air, as the food can become contaminated.