Fruits may be dried in the sun until the surface begins to
wrinkle, then finished in the drier. With stone fruits, such as peaches,
plums, apricots and cherries, none but fruits that are fresh, ripe and in
perfect condition should be used. With apples, pears and quinces, effective
thrift calls for using the sound portions of fruit that may be partially
wormy or imperfect. When properly dried, fruits should be entirely free from
moisture when pressed between the fingers on removal from drier and should
be leathery and pliable.
Apples, pears, peaches and apricots are subject to chemical
changes as soon as the skin is removed or the flesh exposed to the air. To
stop these changes and so preserve the natural appearance, color and flavor,
it is necessary, before drying, to sulphur these fruits, as they can not be
blanched. Blanching causes loss of sugars in the blanching process and
dripping of the juice occurs when blanched fruits are subjected to the heat
of the drier. Sulphuring does not affect the food value of the fruits and is
not injurious to persons using them.
Provide a box large enough to enclose a stack of trays. This may be
a packing box or a frame covered with canvas, building paper or wall-board.
Stack the filled trays on bricks or blocks of wood which will hold the
bottom tray several inches above the ground. The trays should be separated
from each other by blocks of wood. Beneath this stack place one or two
sticks of sulphur in an old saucepan, shovel or other holder. Set fire to
this sulphur by using coals or lighted shavings and invert the box to cover
trays and reach to the ground. Add sulphur as needed during the time
specified in the directions. The time varies with various fruits and is
given in special directions on pages 27 and 28.
Apples and Pears
Pare, core and slice, dropping slices into cold water
containing eight level teaspoonfuls of salt to the gallon, if a
light-colored product is desired. Leaving them for a short time in salt
water will prevent discoloration. (If preferred, core the whole fruit, after
peeling, and slice into rings, dipping these for a minute or two into cold
salted water as described above.)
To sulphur spread in trays of wire 1 to 1-1/2 inches deep. Put each
tray as soon as filled into the sulphuring box for 20 to 30 minutes. When
the product feels moist on the surface and shows a lightened color, the
sulphuring is complete.
Begin drying at 130° F. and raise this
gradually to 175° F. Stir or rearrange fruit occasionally to insure even
drying. The fruit is dry when a handful of slices is pressed and separate
when released, leaving no moisture on the hand.
Select ripe fruit before it drops from the tree. Remove pits
by cutting fruit open with a sharp knife. Apricots are usually dried with
the skins on. Arrange the halves on trays with pit cavity uppermost, and
dry. If desired, they may be sulphured before drying—the time 1-1/2 to 2
hours, or until liquid collects in the stone cavity.
Start drying at a temperature of 130°
to 145° F. and raise it gradually to 165° F. Remove from the drier when
pliable and leathery.
Dry as soon as possible after
picking. Spread in thin layers and put each tray as soon as filled into the
drier. It may be necessary to spread cheesecloth over wire mesh bottoms of
trays to keep berries from falling through.
It is not advisable to dry such fruits as red raspberries, currants
and strawberries, unless no other conservative methods are convenient.
Start the drying at a temperature of 135° to 145° F. and raise it
gradually toward the end of the drying process to 150° to 155° F. Properly
dried berries rattle somewhat when stirred and show no moisture when
Pick over well and wash. Remove
surface moisture by draining. Spread unpitted in thin layers.
Start drying at a temperature not above 120° F. and raise gradually
to 150° F. Properly dried cherries are leathery.
Select ripe figs and pick over
thoroughly. Wash, drain well and spread in single layers on drying trays. If
dried in the sun, turn daily, protect from insects by glass or netting and
bring indoors at night. When applying artificial heat, start drying at a
temperature of 120° F. and raise this gradually to 140° F. When nearly dry,
immerse figs for 2 or 3 minutes in boiling brine (1/4 pound salt to every 3
quarts water, or 1 pound to 3 gallons.) Drain, and finish the drying.