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Home and Farm Food Preservation
Food Preservation Recipes
Chapter XXVIII - Recipes for Drying Fruits

The following fruit drying recipes cover both evaporation by artificial heat and by solar heat. The latter method gives satisfactory results only in climates that are free from frequent summer rains. The general principles of fruit drying will be found discussed in Chap. XII. This chapter should be read in connection with the recipes.

(75) Sun Drying Apricots, Pears, Peaches, and Apples.

1. Apricots, peaches, and apples are allowed to ripen on the trees. Pears are picked when they are full size but still hard and are allowed to ripen in lug boxes or on piles of straw. Fruit for drying must be ripe but not so soft that it will melt down on the drying trays.

2. Cut apricots and peaches in half and remove pits. Peaches may be lye or hand peeled (see Recipe 2), but this is not necessary. Cut pears in half; do not peel. Peel, core, and cut apples in rings about 1/4 inch thick (see apple peeler, Figs. 4 and 58). Place the fruit on trays. These are made of shakes or thin lumber and are 2 x 3 ft., 6 x 3 ft., or 8 x 3 ft. usually. If trays are not available use paper or cloth or wire screen or any flat surface exposed to the sun.

3. Sulphuring. Fig. 39 illustrates a sulphur box. Any closed space in which the trays of fruit may be stacked and exposed to the fumes of burning sulphur may be used. An old pan may be used to hold the sulphur. Place the trays of fruit in the sulphuring house. Place enough sulphur in a pan to burn for the required length of time (see time given below), 5 lbs. per ton will be enough for most fruits. Light the sulphur. This can be done by placing sorie shavings in the pan, lighting these and pouring the sulphur on them. Place the burning sulphur in the sulphur house and close the door. Expose apples to the burning sulphur fumes 30 min.; apricots and peaches 3 hours and pears 6 hours. Sulphuring prevents the fruits darkening and molding during drying.

4. Place the fruit in the sun to dry. Dry until it becomes leathery and tough but not brittle. A better product will be obtained if the trays are stacked one above the other in stacks of 10 or 12 trays each when the fruit is about V4 dry. It will then finish drying in the shade and will be of more uniform quality.

5. Sweating. Sweating consists of equalization of the moisture content. Put the dried fruit in large boxes or in bins and leave a week or 10 days. It is then ready for selling to the packing house.

6. Processing. If the fruit is for home use and is not to be sold to a packing house, it must be sterilized to prevent its being spoiled by insects that come from in- sect eggs deposited on the fruit during drying. To do this plunge the fruit into violently boiling water for about 1 min. Drain. Dry on trays in the sun for a few hours. The dipping destroys insects and their eggs.

7. Packing and Storing. Pack the fruit in heavy paper bags or in jars or other insect proof containers. Plain cloth or burlap bags are not insect proof. Store in a dry place.

8. Precautions. A dry rainless climate is essential to successful sun drying. In case of rain, stack the trays one above the other and cover with a rain shedding cover, or bring the fruit indoors until the rain has passed. Do not use wood for trays that will give a disagreeable flavor or color to the fruit.

(76) Sun Drying Prunes.

1. Allow fruit to ripen thoroughly on the trees, and if possible permit it to drop from the trees before picking.

2. Dipping. Prepare a lye solution of 1/2 an oz. of lye per gallon of water. This will be approximately 1/2 a tablespoonful per gallon or 5 oz. per 10 gallons. Heat this to boiling in an iron or agateware pot; aluminum dissolves. Place the prunes in a wire basket. Immerse them in the boiling lye solution long enough to check or crack the skins slightly over the entire surface. This will require about 10 seconds. The time will vary with the variety of the fruit and its condition. Rinse in cold water after the lye dipping.

3. Spread on trays and dry in the sun. It will usually be necessary to occasionally stir or turn the fruit on the trays during drying to prevent sticking to the trays and molding.

4. Stacking the Trays. When the fruit is about three- fourths dried stack the trays one above the other and allow drying to complete. This will prevent overdrying and gives a more evenly dried product.

5. Storing and Processing. As for apricots. (See Recipe 75.)

(77) Drying Thompson Seedless and Sultana Grapes.

1. Raisin making requires a dry hot climate free from rains. Dip the ripe grapes in a lye solution as directed for prunes. Rinse in water.

2. Unsulphured Raisins. Dry in the sun until three-fourths dry. Stack the trays and allow drying to complete. During drying it will be necessary to turn the grapes by inverting one tray over another. This is done when the grapes are dried about one half. It is done to equalize drying. This gives a brown raisin. If a bleached, white raisin is desired, proceed as directed in step 3.

3. Sulphured Raisins. If a bleached white product is desired, place the (lipped grapes on trays and expose to fumes of burning sulphur for 3 hours. Then dry in the sun in usual way.

(78) Drying Muscat and Currant Grapes.

1. These varieties are not dipped or sulphured. Pick when ripe. Spread on trays and expose to the sun.

2. When about one-half dry turn the grapes by placing an empty tray over the loaded tray. Turn the two quickly and remove the upper one. This exposes to the sun the grapes that were previously on the bottom of the bunches and next to the tray.

3. When the grapes are about three-fourths dry, stack the trays and allow the grapes to finish drying in the stack.

(79) Packing Raisins.

1. Raisins are usually commercially packed as follows: The stems are removed by stemming machine. The seeds of Muscat raisins are removed by a seeding machine. The raisins are packed in wax paper-lined cartons. They must be stored secure from insects. Dipping in boiling water before packing will kill insect eggs.

(80) Sun Drying Cherries.

1. Cherries may be dried in the same way as directed for prunes or may be dried without dipping.

(81) Sun Drying Figs.

1. Allow time figs to partially dry oil trees and drop of their own accord. A dry hot climate is necessary.

2. Place on trays and dry in the sun.

3. Bleaching. If a bleached fig is desired, dip the dried white figs in boiling water for about 3 min. Expose to sulphur fumes 3 hours. Dry in the sun.

4. Packing and Storing. Commercially the dried figs are slit from stem to calyx on one side and spread flat. They are packed and pressed into bricks. These are wrapped in paraffined paper and placed in cartons. For home use they may be sterilized by dipping in boiling water 1 min.; drying a short time and then packing in insect proof containers.

(82) Drying Fruits in Evaporators.

1. In rainy or moist climates, or late in the season, artificial dryers may become necessary. Build one to suit your needs. (See Chap. XII, par. 67, for description and figures of evaporators.) Trays with wire screen bottoms will be needed to facilitate the passage of heat. A thermometer will be necessary.

2. Prepare the fruit for drying as previously described under Recipes 75 to 81, inclusive, and place on the dryer trays. If the fruit is to be sulphured, sulphur as directed in preceding recipes.

3. Apples. Start the evaporator at 110 F. and gradually raise to 140 F. near the end of drying. They should dry in 8 hours or less. Apples should be sulphured for 20 min. before drying.

4. Apricots and Peaches. A temperature of 120 F. may be used to start.. Gradually increase to 140. F. They should be dry in 6 hours.

5. Berries. Dry very slowly at first (110 to 120 F.), for about 2 hours, starting at 110 F. and gradually reaching 120 F. in the above time. Gradually increase to 130 F. and complete most of the drying at this temperature. Too rapid heating causes dripping and melting. They should dry in 5 hours.

6. Cherries. Start at 110 F. and increase slowly to 150 F. About 4 hours will he necessary.

7. Pears. Dry after cutting in half and sulphuring 6 hours. Start at 110 F. and increase slowly to 140 F.
Or peel, core, cut in eighths and dry without sulphuring as above.

8. Prunes. Dip as in Recipe 76. Dry as directed for cherries above.

9. Grapes. All grapes should be dipped in boiling lye solution of 1/2 oz. per gallon, and rinsed in cold water before drying. See .Recipe 77. Start drying at 110 F. and increase to 140 F. Temperatures above 140 F. will give a "scorched " or caramelized taste to the raisins.

10. Figs. Allow to dry as much as possible on the trees. Place in the evaporator. Start at 110 F. and increase slowly to 140 F.

11. Processing and Storing. Artificially evaporated fruits contain no insect eggs. As soon as dry, pack in insect proof packages and store in a dry place.

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