I Need Tips on Dehydrating Peaches

I got a Nesco 1040 coming tomorrow. Never tried dehydrating anything before. Looked at a couple of You Tube vids and people were using unripe fruit. What’s the optimum stage for a freestone fruit like Winblo that is pumped full of water after almost 6 inches of rain in the last 2 weeks prior to harvest? Do I need a mat to make cleanup easier as I see that the trays break easily if you scrub too hard or is that not a problem with peaches sticking? I like peach skins so I plan on leaving them on. Thanks

I use an Excalibur dehydrator (I believe an older model of this). I have only done plums but I think some of my experience will apply to all stonefruit.

  • Freestone is preferable since you can more readily split the fruit in half and remove the seed.
  • I use mandolin to make quick and uniform slices. You need fruit on the hard/firm side. I prefer thicker slices since they thin out during dehydration
  • Fruit on the most sour side is preferable to me since dehydration sweetens the fruit, which also means dehydrated skin is not nearly as sour.

I guess my experience is different. I like soft ripe sweet fruit. I haven’t seen dehydration sweeten the fruit. Sour in sour out. If you want good dried fruit you need good fresh fruit.

I could be wrong. Try both, firm and soft. See what you like best.

Don’t over dry or run the unit too hot. 125-135 is as hot as I go. I like fruit still soft after drying. Drier will store better. Soft dried is best frozen for maybe 6 months life. A month or two in the fridge.

If you have 1 tsp of sugar dissolved in 1 cup of water, vs the same dissolved in 1 gallon of water, the former will taste sweeter. Dehydration (removal of water) should apply the same principle because it concentrates the sugar.

You can buy liners for the trays, or use parchment paper. But PP slows drying a lot. A fine screened liner works best.
I like them halved or quartered but no smaller. I dry figs whole as the skin protects the flesh from scorching and I think taste better. I like using very low heat and dry a couple days or more. I like the results better when dried slowly.
About 90 degrees works for me. I will go hotter if I need them sooner or am leaving for a few days which I often do throughout the growing season. I will always have a dehydrator.
Soft fruit dries smaller but is very doable. Like strawberries, man are they good!

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That makes sense but it may not be that simple. In most cases I haven’t found dried fruit sweeter than fresh. And if sour fresh, it’s still sour dried. We all have our perceptions which may be wrong. Mine may be wrong.

I agree, taste is complicated. To me, dehydration concentrates flavors.

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The difference of opinion may be due to fresh fruit water content. If the fruit is real watery, then dehydrating may be more likely to enhance sweetness and flavor. If the fresh fruit is already high sugar, then dehydration may have less effect on perceived sweetness. I’d say that I’ve seen that.

Fruit that’s 25+ brix fresh may not change as much when dried.

The OP has watery fruit. So drying may help the sweetness. I’d still rather have it soft and ripe before drying. But then I’m not a fan of sour fruit.

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Thanks for the replies. I am going to start off with what I usually would freeze. Ripe but not a too soft mess.

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Strawberries taste very floral to me after dehydration. I could never figure it out. My favorites are banana, mango, plum dried.

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After reading this thread, I busted out my dehydrator and tried few fruits.

Both sweet and sour are highly accentuated. The plum I got this time from store had very sour skins and dehydrated tasted a bit like warheads. Somehow I didn’t remember it this way or I must have had another less tart plum/pluot in the past. We still like the dehydrated plums, but kids rated them the worst.

On other hand, bananas, pears, peach which lack tartness are sweeter to me dehydrated than fresh. Kids relish these.

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I’ve dehydrated apples and figs. Low heat works well.

Maybe that’s why CA dried apricots are so sour. They’re sour fresh.

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I tried my first batch Sunday. Mostly cut into 1/4 inch wide with skins on. Probably too juicy as it took 11 hours at 135 to get it not sticky but still pliable. The few that were thicker I put in a zip lock to eat soon. The rest turned out to my satisfaction. I will do another batch of my next variety and look forward to doing apples and pears which will be less juicy!

I was impressed how uniform all four trays were as I was thinking surely the top one was going to dry first. Wish I was home to dry more now but just a weekend task when I am home to watch over it.

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