Dehydrating Fruit

Dry at 135° for 3-12 hours on average. Time depends on how thin the fruit is sliced. You are looking for pliable but not damp, wet or overly sticky. On some fruits and berries, you will want to do a dip in lemon juice (mixed with water). This will prevent browning of the fruit. If the fruit browns after being cut, dip it. Rehydration is equal amounts water to product.

Rhubarb Leather:

Rhubarb is a perfect ‘lazy’ plant. Once it is established you can pretty much do nothing for it and it will come back every year. Spring is its time to shine – once it gets hot it goes to seed. Our cold spring (has winter ended? hah!) has been producing a great crop. I was out weeding and was thinking of ideas for using up the ample harvest. I hadn’t tried rhubarb leather so I thought…why not?

For harvesting the rhubarb, all you need to do is snap the stalks at the base or tug lightly – they will pop right off.  For most people they will never see Rhubarb with leaves on – the leaf part is poisonous, so promptly go over to your yard waste bin and snap off the leaf part.

rubarb

I rinsed the Rhubarb well and let drip dry. Weighing it out I had about 2 lb. of trimmed stalks. I cut it up into small chunks (about 6-7 or so cups in volume). I placed the Rhubarb into a non-reactive large saucepan with 2 cups water and 1 cinnamon stick. Covered I brought it to a boil, then turned down to medium low heat and simmered for 15 minutes. At that point I took the lid off and cooked for another 30 or so minutes. This helps cook the water off so you have a thick applesauce like texture. For my personal taste I added in 1 cup white sugar and let simmer a bit more. Depending on how tart you like it, start with 1/2 cup sugar and add to taste. The Rhubarb will have fallen into thin shreds with no lumps.

I lined the dehydrator trays with parchment paper (I used a rectangle shaped L’EQUIP dryer). Each tray was two servings. I poured 1/3 cup sauce onto each section. They were dried at 135° for about 9 hours. In the last couple hours once they were tacky (not wet) I flipped them over to get better exposure to the heat.

rhubarb_drying

Once dry (no wet spots, still soft in texture but dry) I let cool at room temperature. A couple hours later I came back and peeled the parchment paper off.

rhubarb_leather

To make fruit rolls cut a piece of plastic wrap a bit bigger, lay the leather on it then lay the extra plastic over the edge then start rolling up like a cigar. This way the leather is touching plastic wrap and won’t stick.

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To preserve the shelf life store them in the refrigerator. Not that they will last long! They are delicious!

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