Anyone using this method of drying fruit? It’s a family tradition over here. We like dried apricots, nectarines, and pluots the best.
How does this work? Got a link or something to what you do?
The fresh fruit is halved and pitted and put on wooden trays .The trays are stacked and put under a large box with coffee can underneath the trays. A small hole is cut on bottom of box and top. A small amount of burning sulfer is then placed in coffee can and lit. The sulfer quickly cures the fruit but we let sit for a few hours to making sure not to breathe any sulfur in. The trays are taken out and put in full sun to continue drying for a few days. We bring fruit inside at night and reset next morning. This method is the same method used for most commercial dried apricots in California. They do not brown and are delicious! Burning sulfer is something you shouldn’t do without experience, it’s fumes are bad and care should be taken doing this in an area where no one will breathe any. If you’d like to try some awesome sulfer/sun dried apricots, google Apricot King orchards in Holister California.
I’ve tried the sulfur and other antioxidants. But now just dry mine with no treatment. I like the fruit just as well this way and mostly it looks good.
I find that the sulfer helps maintain color and eating qualities longer than non treated. I like eating mine in the winter when I’m starving for fruit. I agree its not a big difference though. It makes a bigger difference with apricots.
Instead of burning sulfur, I’ve used potassium metabisulfide (used for winemaking) as a dip on apples. Just mix a 1/4 tap in a quart of water and soak for a few seconds. Then dehydrate as usual.
Apples and pears have a lot of pectin which helps preserve the dried fruit. That will work fine with those fruits, Apricots, pluots, and nectarines are better preserved with light sulfur/sun dried. There is a reason this is the commercial drying standard. However if you eat your dried fruit soon you will not need this method. As well you can dehydrate normal and place dried fruit in freezer for pretty good dried fruit, just not great.
The KSO2 (wine sulfur) does contain sulfur and does act as a preservative and prevent color change. It’s just a lot less trouble than burning sulfur. Especially if you have any breathing problems!
Sounds like a neat method. I am not having difficulties with the burning sulfur and am really happy with the results, especially the apricots, which I did not get to harvest this year unfortunately. For most your method will be better though, I like your idea.
The method that works for you is the best method for you! I imagine the scale of the operation make a difference too. I’m usually working with five pounds or so at a time. Plus, I’m asthmatic. Just the idea of burning sulfur makes me wheeze!
My family used to do this when I was a young kid back in the 80s. We used to get a very large refrigerator or freezer box and burn the sulfur in a pie plate at the bottom of the box. The apricots would be placed on wooden racks with wire mesh. I don’t remember smelling the fumes from the burning sulfur ever being a problem as we would do it in a very open space outside.
Really cool, very good idea. I am working on converting our old wine fridge to a dryer to do more volume. The racks should work well with some mesh to hold lots of fruit.