Drying is a simple technique for reducing food waste and preserving food; it can be done in the sun, in an oven, in a convection oven or in a dehydrator.

The key is to get a stable temperature and if not in an oven, ensure a constant air flow. The ideal temperature is between 55° to 60°C for fruit and vegetables to minimize the loss of heat sensitive vitamins A & C.

Food for drying should be cut to an even size so they dry at the same rate. Test the dried fruit by tearing it, if small beads of water appear on the cut surface it needs further drying. When stored in an air tight container the moisture will find equilibrium within the fruit, so if some fruit parts (like the edges) and thin pieces are too dry they will absorb some of the moisture from other pieces.

Store dried foods in a cool, dark and dry place. The cooler and darker the storage the longer the dried foods will last with nutritional value intact. The best temperature is 15°C down to below freezing.

Consider drying your own homemade bread crumbs and homemade tea and other infusions, for fruit leather, for snacks, for meals to take camping & hiking and for craft and potpourri. Our favourites are apple and rhubarb leather, dried mango, pineapple, apple and pear slices, and dried tomatoes.