Dried fruits are a healthy snack and go-to ingredient in my house but I am weary of the store-bought varieties as they often contain added sugars and chemical preservatives. Sure, you can search out unsweetened dried fruits like raisins, apricots and even tart cherries but you can also experiment at home the DIY way! Considering it is early fall and apples and pears are in season, take a trip to the orchard, stock up and then give this recipe a try!
Drying your own fruits is simple and all your really need is an oven. Here is the step by step.
- Prep your fruit: remove the pits, stones and stems. I like to keep the skin on (extra nutrients) but you make like to peel your fruit if applicable (apples, pears, etc). Halve berries and evenly slice larger fruits.
- Soak the fruit in lemon water for around 15 minutes then pat it dry (this helps to keep the colors more bright)
- Pre-heat your over to 150. Layer a baking sheet with parchment and arrange the fruit in a single layer. You can top the fruit with a silpat to prevent it from curling or let it go wild!
- Let it go–for about 6-7 hours (depending on the thickness of the slices) in the case of apples and pears. It will feel flexible yet tough when its dried. Think leather 🙂
- Cool it, uncovered, overnight to let any additional moisture evaporate.
- Enjoy it or seal it in a jar
Trail Mix Wild Rice Salad (serves 6-8)
- 1 cup long grain brown rice (such as basmati)
- 1 cup wild rice
- 2 cups mint tea (can sub for water)
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon walnut or flax oil
- 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup dried cherries
- ¼ cup dried apples, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 4 scallions, sliced
- Salt and pepper
Combine the tea, water, long grain brown rice and wild rice in a medium sized sauce pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover. Let cook for 40 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool completely.
In a small skillet on medium high heat, add the nuts. Toast them, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and aromatic. Remove from pan and let cool.
In a large bowl combine the cooled, cooked rice, with the oil, vinegar, chopped celery, green onions, dried fruit and nuts. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine. Serve.
Katie Cavuto MS RD