Monday, July 16, 2012

Dehydrating Apricots and a Giveaway!

I'll be honest. I'm not a fan of apricots. In fact, I never have been. To me, they're peach imposter's. Posers. In my eyes, this humble little fruit will never rise to the same level of greatness as their larger cousins. Nor will they ever be a favorite of mine. But if they are dehydrated, their likeability factor rises tremendously.

Apricots are high in potassium, fiber, and vitamins A & C. Once dried, apricots can be used in many ways; added to baked goods, sauces, granola or oatmeal, trail mix, or eaten plain. My favorite way to use dried apricots is in place of raisins in oatmeal cookies. Yum!

Dehydrating apricots is a simple process. If you have a dehydrator, or access to one, a knife, some lemon juice, and a bowl is all you'll need.

Here's how:

Fill a large plastic or glass bowl with 1 gallon of cold water. Add 1 cup bottled lemon juice to the water. This will keep the apricots from turning brown. (As they dry, the apricots turn a yellowish brown, but that is normal.) 

Wash the apricots in cold water. Cut each apricot in half and carefully remove the pit. Place the halves in the lemon water. Continue until bowl is full, but all of the apricots are fully submerged. Allow to soak for 10 minutes.

Remove from water and gently shake excess water from the apricots. Lay cut side down onto dehydrator trays, being careful not to crowd the fruit. This will allow the air to flow around and dry the apricots evenly. (I actually added more to the above tray.)

Set the temperature to 130F. and plug the unit in. Allow the fruit to dry until the pieces have no moisture pockets in them (which will cause mold to occur), but are not brittle. If they get too dry, don't worry, they can still be used in recipes after rehydrating.

With my dehydrator, I dried the fruit for approximately 24 hours, rotating the trays once. (The newer dehydrators will probably take less time; consult your owner's manual for their suggested times.) Mine were probably done at about 20 hours, but I refuse to get up in the middle of the night unless someone leaves the all-you-can-eat buffet sign on in the chicken coop. Priorities, you know.

Speaking of priorities...

How about a giveaway!?!

Once of my favorite books on preserving foods is the Ball Blue Book of Preserving. Not only does it have simple canning instructions for the beginner, it also has some fancy schmancy recipes, like; Apricot-Orange Conserve, Fig Pickles, Chow-Chow Relish, Clam Chowder Base, Spiced Pineapple in Pineapple Juice, and Curried Fruit Compote. There are recipes for preserving dairy, freezing fruits, veggies, and pie fillings, dehydrating foods, and making jerky. I cannot tell you how many times I've look through this book. The pages of mine are dog-eared, and many of the pages have to be pulled apart from all the sticky residue. But I love it. And it loves me. I own several different food preservation books,  but this one is my favorite, hands-down.

So, here's how to enter:

*You must be a follower of this blog. I'm sorry to have to require this, but my last giveaway yielded a lot of anonymous comments and even more spam. This will count as 1 entry. Already a follower? Leave me a comment telling me so, and you're entered!

*For a second entry, leave a comment telling me what foods you're excited about preserving this year. New to food preservation? That's okay~what would you like to learn?

Hurry ~ this giveaway ends next Monday! I will announce the winner on Tuesday, July 24, 2012. Good luck!!


Christina said...

I'm a follower! I have recently started canning meat and I think that I'm kinda addicted. I'm scared to think what might happen if I got a dehydrator. I might never leave the kitchen.

Clint Baker said...

Already a follower!

Clint Baker said...

I can't wait to can my jalapeno peppers!

Carolyn Renee said...

I'm the opposite, I like apricots more than I like peaches. But not that it matters because we have neither apricots NOR peaches this year! Bummer of a fruit tree fail because of the drought I guess :(

So, as for the giveaway, I'd LOVE to enter! I'm already a follower.

And for food preservation, as we have almost NO extra to preserve this summer from the garden, I'm looking to preserve the wild grapes and persimmons - if they make it through the drought.

Thanks for the giveaway! :)

Tina said...

I'm a follower of your blog! Loving it!

We are canning peaches this week and last week. We have previously made some blackberry and blueberry jams. Even made a batch of blueberry peach jam. Yummy!
Hoping to can up some chicken stock, and chicken soup this year too. Didn't get a garden, so don't know if there will be any veggies this year.

Maxine said...

Hi Kim! Been reading the blog for quite some time and never realized that I hadn't joined until now. But I HAVE become an "official" follower now....:) I'm looking forward to canning stocks this year. I REFUSE to buy a can of any type of stock this year. So chicken, beef, vegetable and onion stock will be filling up the pantry soon!

small farm girl said...

I'm already a follower! I'm going to start canning meat this year. I'm also going to try some different types of jams.

Crazynursea said...

I just started following you. Very new to the whole concept of blogs. I am a recently retire senior who purchased my FEMA version of a Tin Can. When my children were little I froze everything. Now with no freezer and very limited space I have started to look at the whole concept of dehydrating and canning. I am amazed at what you can dehydrate. No need to worry about lack of power. I am busy watching Craig's list for a dehydrator. Veggies and fruits are my first order...especially carrots...and then apples as I have lots. Next is beans. Saw that if I cooked them and then dehydrated they could be used as almost an instant food. Wow!! Would sure beat the 24 hrs that I take!!

Aimee said...

Already a follower!!!

Aimee said...

I am so looking forward to canning up my own grape juice this year. My grape vines are producing fruit for the first time this year!

Annnightflyer said...

It's funny how people back then dried their food and how we dry it now.Some things you can still hang up and dry.Remember when they say dry britches(beans),I'm from the good ol south.I'm a new follower hope I count.

Candy C. said...

I love dried apricots, especially in granola! Yummy! :)
Don't enter me, I already have my own dog-eared copy of that lovely book, just wanted to say what an awesome giveaway gift!
I bought a pressure canner this year and I'm waiting for it to arrive so I'm going to try some different things like beans.

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Already a follower, Love your blog and I will can anything that survives this horrific drought we are having.

Rae said...

Definitely a follower. :)

Wild red huckleberry jelly is going up this coming weekend. Later in the season I'm planning on blackberry preserves and jam (only time of year I don't despise blackberries is when there's fruit!), grape jelly, and applesauce.

Cider is on our list of exciting new to-do's this fall, and I really need to try my hand at canning some of the older meat from the freezer, if only to use it for healthy dog food. :)

We use our dehydrator all the time. Jerky and dried fruits mostly, though I've used it for herbs, and we used it last year to dehydrate peppers and tomatoes. Dehydrated cherry tomatoes are a fabulous snack.

Jenny said...

I'm a follower!

My favorite thing to preserve so far this year is sauerkraut. I'm new to making my own sauerkraut and I'm pretty much obsessed with it. Otherwise, I've got cucumbers coming out my ears and I'm not sure if I'm quite as excited about canning them but I'm definitely getting ready.

Luvdaylilies said...

New follower=)
I have made quite a few batches of Jam this year and I'm so enjoying the chance to test recipes and share with my family, friends and coworkers!
I guess my favorite thing to preserve is Peach Jam as far as canning goes=)
Delicious stuff and a great way to share something special with those you really care about=)
Thanks for a chance,
Lethea B
Luvdaylilies at bellsouth dot net

♡♥♬ Carolsue ♡♥♬ said...

I am a public follower of yours on GFC (Carolsue).
Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

♡♥♬ Carolsue ♡♥♬ said...

I have not done a lot of preserving, but I'd love to make some jam and jelly!
Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

prairie said...

I am subscribed to your blog

prairie said...

This year I am looking at dehydrating mushrooms after irradiating in the sunlight. I have very low vitamin d levels and osteomalcia from this. I read about irradiating the mushrooms and dehydrating them which will supply huge amonts of vitamin d