Brand new dehydrator

Hi all, I’m about to start dehydrating my Italian prune plums for the first time. Will they look like boxed prunes? I want them to look great and be edible for the holidays this winter. I have no idea how to store them, but my research has not yet begun. I will need some of your guidance for sure. Many thanks in advance. I believe my dehydrator has either three or five shelves.

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Ooh, this sounds great, mrsg. What brand dehydrator did you end up with? Fruitnut dehydrates a lot of his fruit. Mostly in the sun, but I would be very interested to see what others say, and how yours turn out! Be sure to snap some before and after pics!

MrsG, I’ve never dehydrated prune plums, but I’ve done lots of other fruits and veggies. I’ve always used a dehydrator because even though I have a lot of sun, I also have lots of humidity and critters that would like to help relieve me of my fruit.

With thicker things, like figs, I generally pierce the skin in a few places. I’ve also tried giving the figs a short dunk in simmering water because I read that recommendation for tenderizing the skin somewhere. I also dry them on the lowest setting I can get away with because I prefer to avoid caramelizing the sugars. That changes the taste. With fruits like that my goal isn’t for a crispy dry, but for a flexible one with a bit of moisture still retained. Because I prefer lower temperature drying, the process usually takes longer.

I run the dehydrator outside because I try to avoid adding heat to the house in summer. But I bring it in and turn it off for the night. I’ve learned that even if I think there is still a long way to go, if I leave it running overnight the fruit will get over-dried.

Once they are dried to the point that I want, I let them cool and put them in an airtight container. Then I store them either refrigerated or frozen. They last longer when kept cool. Originally I kept them at cool room temperature and in a dark, sealed container. It was very disappointing a few months later to find off smelling or even molding fruit. Perhaps people in drier environments would not have that problem. But we have humidity in the winter as well as the summer. (An advantage to that is that one can walk across carpet year round without building up a static charge.)

Congratulations on your new dehydrator! May your land be productive and give you abundant opportunities to put it to work.


I cannot thank you enough for you advice and help. xxoo

Mrsg, I’m thinking about a new dehydrator also, how did your prunes turn out?

The plums now prunes were excellent. I had to toss bags of them in the freezer so my husband wouldn’t eat them all! I also made fabulous dried tomatoes. They are now re-hydrating in a bottle of excellent olive oil. It worked beautifully. It was not the most expensive dehydrator was it was more than adequate for a two person household with too many (never too many really) trees! I’ll turn the prunes into ‘sugar plums’ for Christmas eve dinner!

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Dehydrators are great! We bought a Nesco and have another one I forget. Last summer we dried grapes, slices of Asian pears, slices of Hollywood plum, tomatoes, peppers. We cut figs in half so they dry faster. I used a mandolin to slice summer squash, brushed on olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and dried to crispy. Really good, have to be eaten quickly because those absorb humidity fairly fast. I ate an entire squash in a day.

We are eating the dried fruits now as a snack mix. Between that and freezer jams, our orchard feeds us year round.

Bear, the other thing about dehydrators that hasn’t been mentioned is that is makes the kitchen smell great while its on! Better than potpourri!

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I’ve always been hesitant to purchase a dehydrator as I feared it would become one of classic unitaskers that was never used and just took up space. Similar to the ice cream maker and the bread maker sitting in my basement right now. But seeing what people have done here makes me want to look into purchasing one. Plus, I’ve heard they can be used to make venison jerky. So good!

And fruit leather. Its all good!

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