Dehydrated Peaches

Dehydrated Peaches

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  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Dehydrate: 36 hrs
  • Servings: 8 servings
  • Yield: 1 pound

Loaded with vitamins, dried peaches are a tasty and portable snack. These little morsels are also great in trail mixes, cake batters, chutneys, pies, cobblers, chewy granola bars, or as cupcake decorations and toppings for yogurt or ice cream. Because dehydrated fruit is very nutrient-dense and higher in sugar than the equivalent piece of fresh fruit, be aware of their caloric content if you're following a weight-loss plan or need to keep your sugar in check.

The more flavorful the fresh peaches you start out with, the more delicious the dehydrated version will be. For this recipe, you can use freestone or clingstone peaches. As their names indicate, the freestone peaches have a pit that is easily removed, and the clingstone ones need the help of a knife. The latter are most sought after for preserving, dehydrating, canning, and baking as they're sweeter and juicier. But either will yield marvelous results.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice
  • 6 pounds ripe, firm peaches (clingstone or freestone, washed)

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Preparing and Dehydrating

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Mix the water and vinegar (or lemon juice) in a non-reactive bowl (glass or ceramic is preferred). Set aside.

  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.

  4. Cut a small "x" on the bottom of each peach using the tip of a paring knife.

  5. Prepare a big bowl with water and ice. You'll use this after blanching the fruit.

  6. Put the peaches into the boiling water for 1 minute. Remove them from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the iced water. Let them soak in the cold water for a few minutes, just until they are cool enough to handle.

  7. Peel the peaches. The blanching should make it easy to peel the skins off of the peaches by hand, but use a knife if you hit any stubborn spots.

  8. Place the peeled peaches in the acidulated water. This step prevents discoloration.

  9. One by one, pit and slice the peaches. If you are working with freestone peaches, run a knife around the circumference of each peach. Its halves should easily twist apart and away from the pit. Slice into 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick slices. If you are working with clingstone peaches, it's easier to remove the peach flesh from the pit using a paring knife. Cut wedges 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick off of the pits. Place all the slices back in the acidulated water.

  10. Once all of the peaches are peeled, pitted, and sliced and have been in the acidulated water, drain them in a colander.

  11. Arrange the peaches on the dehydrator trays so that there is at least a half-inch of space between the slices.

  12. Set the dehydrator's temperature to 135 F/57 C. It might take 8 to 36 hours to fully dry the peaches depending on how thickly you sliced them. The pieces should feel totally dry to the touch, but leathery and somewhat pliable.

  13. You won't be completely sure if the peach pieces are fully dehydrated until they have cooled. Turn off the dehydrator and open it once you think the peaches have the desired texture. Let the peaches cool for 20 to 30 minutes.

Conditioning the Fruit

Even after the peaches are correctly dehydrated there may still be some residual moisture in the fruit that you can't feel. This shouldn't prevent the fruit from being safely preserved and mold-free, but you'll have a tastier and better product if you've conditioned the dried fruit.

  1. Put the dried, cooled fruit pieces into glass jars, only filling the jars about 2/3 full. Cover the jars.

  2. Shake the jars a couple of times a day for 1 week. This process helps redistribute the fruit pieces as well as any moisture they may still contain.

  3. If any condensation shows up on the sides of the jars, your fruit isn't dried well enough yet, and it needs to go back into the dehydrator for a few hours. Use the same temperature as in the initial dehydration process.

  4. Once your dried peaches are conditioned, store them in airtight containers away from direct light or heat. It's okay to fully fill the jars at this point. Properly stored at room temperature, the peaches should last between 6 and 12 months.

  5. Enjoy!

Tip

  • Dehydrating takes time so don't rush the process by increasing the temperature. Longer times at lower temperatures result in better dried fruits.

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