February 2, 2011

Not So Fast Food

About six weeks ago I purchased an inexpensive food dehydrator, that is a food dryer. As a diabetic I am unable to eat most of the dried fruits at the supermarkets because many of them have sugar added to make them taste nicer. Of course the package suggests that they are a healthier food choice, but really, many of them are as bad as chocolate.

I looked at different ways I could obtain dried fruits without added sugar but they were either impossible to find or far too expensive. When I looked into purchasing a food dehydrator, I almost fell off my chair at the prices. Finally I found one for about one third of the cost of the average "good" one, and it seems to work just fine.

It's been rather interesting experimenting with different fruits to see how they turn out in the dryer. I've always loved the banana chips that one can buy in the supermarket, but they are full of sugar/honey which is why they taste so yum! So my first experiment was to chop up Cavendish bananas rather thinly and try a batch of them in the dryer.

I learned a valuable experience with this one - bananas do not really go dry in a hydrater. They remain soft and pliable but have a texture much like rubber without the nice banana flavour! That was rather a disappointment because I quite love bananas.

In the same batch I tried some orange slices but when dried, they tasted like eating old dried up oranges and were also rather unpleasant. 

I began to despair that I would ever find fruit that would turn out ok and wasn't expensive to purchase. Nashi pears also known as Ya pears came down to a very reasonable price at the supermarket, so I purchased about ten of them. I cut them thinly and placed them into the dryer and about five hours later, hey presto they were ready. AND they tasted quite delicious. I've been enjoying them with some nuts and sultanas.

The current batch of fruit that I'm drying are blood plums and nectarines and I'm hoping that I'll have some success with them.

A friend of mine suggested making fruit roll ups by mashing bits of left-over fruit together, including bananas, cutting baking paper to size and layering the pulped fruit over the top of the baking paper inside the dryer. Once its dry, just cut up and roll them. Hopefully I'll have a go at making that next to see what the result is like.

I'll let you know how the plums and nectarines turned out. They'll probably be quite sour I suspect.

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