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Feb 27, 2014 08:00 AM

How To Tell When Dehydrated Fruit Is Done!

Yello there, I just got my first dehydrator (a Nesco) and I've quickly become obsessed with dehydrating just about everything in our household, ie mangos, honeydew, watermelon, jerky etc. But I've come across one issue while drying fruits, I can't tell exactly when it's dried enough. I'm looking to store the pieces for a long period of time, probably in glass jars in the cupboard. At first the pieces become squishy, and sticky on the inside when ripped open, but when I try to squeeze water out of them, I can't get any but they do stick to my fingers. But the second phase leaves them brittle, not sticky but crisper. This might sound goofy, but I'm curious because the first phase of cooking, where the pieces are still a little sticky are DELICIOUS but if they won't keep long then I'll have to keep on cookin them. Anyway, any help with how to tell the pieces are finished would be appreciated!

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  1. I would use weight as a guide.

    From what I remember from a food preservation class, a general rule of thumb was to shoot for 85% to 90% weight loss. For example, if you had 1000 grams of fruit, the final weight should be in the 100 to 150 grams dried.

    Search using keywords USDA food preservation dehydration.

    PS. I don't know what you mean by the phases. Does you dehydrator dry foods in two-steps?

    1. i've done a lot of dehydrating.. it's more an art than a science. it also depends on your actual unit. i'm afraid you're going to have to play around a bit with it. check out some recipes online - you should be able to get some general guideline, or at least a minimum time.

      for fruit leather it should not stick to your fingers, at least not too much! give it a little more time - maybe an hour at a time - until it's not so sticky.