Friday, 28 September 2012

Trying to make dried fruit thingies at home

About three weeks ago I saw a new dried fruit product from Safari called Fruit Temptations. They're these bite-sized squares without sugary coatings and they looked like just what I've had in mind. So, I bought them. I went for the pineapple one because I'm not crazy about their other option, apricot (never been my favourite fruit). These Fruit Temptations are presented as being high in fibre and naturally low in fat and containing 50% fruit. They're like those fruit dainties but without the sugar inside and on top. I'm always looking out for nice treats for race snacks.

The only thing that puts me off them are the preservatives and other additives - surely it should be possible to make your own at home?

I've got a food dehydrator and I've been planning to try out some fruit dehydrating. I've read about using dehydrators to make dried fruit rolls from fruit puree. I've had my dad's juicer for about a year and occasionally I make my own juice. I then hit on the idea of juicing fruit and using the resulting pulp to dehydrate into bite-sized squares.

Now that summer is on its way there are more fruits around so this week I bought a bunch and this evening I worked up some combinations.

It's a bit of a pain juicing each one separately but it worked out quite nicely and I've got some tasty fruit juice to drink. The strawberry came out pretty tart and is a good demonstration of how much sugar is probably added to that yummy fresh strawberry juice you can buy...

The juice part: strawberry, kiwi (very thick), apple and ginger. The pineapple juice didn't make it this far; it was down the hatch before you could say, "I'm thirsty".
With the juice all out, I was left with pulp.

Back (L-R): mashed banana, pineapple, apple (it discolours immediately)
Front (L-R): ginger (too fibrous, I used a dash of the juice in one mix), kiwi (it's really just the seeds that remain) and strawberry (divine colour!)
Then I made some mixes, like banana and apple and cinnamon; and strawberry and banana; and apple and apple and pineapple and, an inspired combo, pineapple and quinoa (a grain - actually, it's a pseudograin 'cos it is actually a seed - but that's semantics).

I put the mush mixes on the dehydrator trays. The only thing is that the five mesh-like trays (not good for liquids) come with only one plastic thingamajig, which is for liquids, so I improvised. Testing out plastic bag vs baking paper...

Left tray: strawberry and banana; and, I think, pineapple and banana
Middle tray: apple, banana and cinnamon; maybe strawberry and apple and banana; and a blob of just strawberry
Right tray: pineapple and quinoa; and kiwi pulp (aiming for a fruit roll here - I dumped the seeds in as an after thought)
These have been dehydrating for a few hours and I've turned over most of the mixes on the left and middle trays. Sticking is less on the baking paper and the plastic than the special sheet that comes with the dehydrator. They're all drying very well and I'm optimistic that results will be palatable. I've left the timer on for another few hours. It will be fun to check this out in the morning. I really have high hopes for the pineapple-quinoa mix, which could prove to be excellent race food.

Lookin' good! The mixes all taste pretty decent. They're not as sweet as commercial options.
I peeled the kiwi off the plastic base and it came out well - thin, smooth, shiny and quite tart in taste.

The quinoa-pineapple mix is a bit bland but certainly not offensive. I'll have to work on this. I definitely like the strawberry mixes despite strawberries being a fruit that I don't enjoy eating as is (great in smoothies). I'm looking forward to playing with mango concoctions later in summer.

It is also worth testing puree vs juice-free pulp.

1 comment:

Lobby said...

Oh yum, those look divine, good job L:)