You may wonder about dehydrating frozen fruit because you need to make room in your freezer for other things. Or perhaps your local grocery store is having a sale on frozen fruit, and you’d like to take advantage of the sale. You’d like to buy as much as you can, but don’t have room for it all. Or perhaps you just want to add more dehydrated fruit to your prepper pantry and are looking for an inexpensive and easy way to make it happen. Regardless of the reason, if you’ve asked the question, “Can you dehydrate frozen fruit?” you’re in the right place.
The good news is that you can indeed dehydrate frozen fruit, and there are many benefits of doing so. About 4 pounds of frozen fruit fills up a dehydrator. In about 12 hours, the fruit will be fully dehydrated.
In this article, I’ll cover the benefits of dehydrating frozen fruit, how to prepare frozen fruit for dehydrating, and the best temperatures to use when dehydrating frozen fruit. I’ll also provide some tips for speeding up the process of dehydrating frozen fruit.
So, what are we waiting for? It’s time to learn all about dehydrating frozen fruit!
Benefits of Dehydrating Frozen Fruit
I have to say that frozen fruit is one of my favorite things to dehydrate. Here are the main benefits:
Dehydrating Frozen Fruit is Easy!
The first, and in my opinion, primary benefit of dehydrating frozen fruit is that it’s super easy. The reason it is super easy is that much of the prep work is already done for you.
As an example, if you were to dehydrate fresh pineapple, you have to do a lot of prep work. You must first cut off the top of the pineapple, and skin, and then slice and cut up the pineapple. I love fresh pineapple, but often avoid buying it because it’s a lot of work to prepare it. If you buy frozen pineapple, all that arduous work is already done.
Another fitting example of how much easier it is to dehydrate frozen fruit is cherries. If you buy fresh cherries, before dehydrating them, you must pit them. I bought a handy dandy cherry pitter and it’s still sitting in my cupboard unused because even with a nice little cherry pitter, it’s still a lot of work to pit the cherries.
Here’s one more example – blueberries. To dehydrate blueberries, you have to either poke small holes in every blueberry or blanch the blueberries, and then freeze them before dehydrating.
Regardless of the type of fruit you want to dehydrate, the hard prep work is already done if you buy frozen fruit.
Frozen Fruit is Available in Every Season
The next benefit to dehydrating frozen fruit is that you don’t have to wait around for fruit to come in season. Fruit that is out of season is often unavailable or unaffordable.
Frozen fruit is available year-round. When you get a hankering for a specific fruit, you may find it in the frozen fruit section, even if it’s not available in the produce section.
Frozen Fruit is Harvested and Frozen at the Peak Level of Ripeness
One huge benefit of frozen fruit is that it’s harvested and frozen at the peak level of ripeness. In contrast, fresh fruit that you buy in the grocery store is often harvested before it’s fully ripe. This is so the fruit doesn’t go bad before it ends up on grocery store shelves.
While it’s true that in most cases fresh fruit is more nutritious than processed fruit, the fact that frozen fruit is frozen at the peak level of freshness improves both the nutrition and the taste of the fruit.
How to Prepare Frozen Fruit for Dehydrating
Earlier in this article I mentioned that one of the benefits of dehydrating frozen fruit instead of fresh is that it’s easy. This is indeed true, but in some cases, you may still need a bit of prep work.
For example, frozen pineapple chunks are large enough that it’s best to cut them into smaller pieces before dehydrating. The same is true of other fruits such as frozen peaches and frozen cherries.
If fruit is too thick, it can take a super long time to dehydrate. You may even end up with the problem of case hardening. (More on that problem in a minute!) Cutting frozen fruit is still way easier than working with fresh fruit.
I’ll use cherries as an example. With fresh cherries you must pit them, and then cut them in half before dehydrating them. Since frozen cherries are already pitted, all you have to do is cut them in half before dehydrating.
You may also choose to thaw the frozen fruit in the refrigerator before dehydrating, but that’s not essential.
The only other prep work that I’ve had to do when dehydrating frozen fruit is that sometimes, frozen fruit is clumped together in the package. If that happens, it’s important to break up those clumps before dehydrating.
What Temperature to Use When Dehydrating Frozen Fruit?
If you haven’t already thawed the frozen fruit, I recommend setting your dehydrator at 145 degrees Fahrenheit for the first hour. Reduce the temperature to 125 degrees Fahrenheit the remaining time.
Using 145 degrees for the first hour thaws the fruit and very slightly begins the process of dehydrating it. You may be tempted to keep running the dehydrator at 145 degrees Fahrenheit so that the frozen fruit dehydrates faster. Don’t do that! While it’s true that food dehydrates faster when you use a higher temperature, if you dehydrate food at too high of a temperature for too long, you risk “case hardening.”
Case hardening is when the outside of the fruit or vegetable dries first and becomes hard, but the inside is still soft and moist. If the outside is hard, the moisture on the inside can’t escape, and no matter how long you dehydrate the fruit or vegetable, the inside doesn’t dry. If the inside isn’t dry, your dehydrated fruit will mold. You don’t want that to happen!
The two things that cause case hardening are running the dehydrator at too high of a temperature and cutting the pieces of the fruit or vegetable too large. Therefore, it’s important to cut large frozen fruit pieces into smaller pieces, and why you don’t want to dehydrate frozen fruit at 145 degrees for too long.
Some people recommend dehydrating frozen fruit at 145 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours. However, I’m more comfortable doing so for only an hour.
How to Speed Up the Process of Dehydrating Frozen Fruit
Dehydrating food in general takes a lot of time, but frozen fruit takes even longer than fresh. So, what can you do to speed up the process of dehydrating frozen fruit? I’m so glad you asked! Here are a few tips that I’ve found helpful when it comes to speeding up the dehydration process.
Allow the Frozen Fruit to Thaw
Allowing the frozen fruit to thaw before dehydrating increases the TOTAL time that the process takes, since you need to leave the frozen fruit in the fridge for several hours. But unless you are in a big hurry, that’s not a big deal because it’s completely hands off time.
If you completely thaw the fruit before dehydrating it, and drain off any juice, the fruit dehydrates faster. If you start with thawed fruit, set the temperature on your dehydrator to 125 degrees Fahrenheit right from the beginning.
Since you don’t have to change the temperature on your dehydrator, starting with thawed fruit is the preferred method if you’re not going to be around to change the temperature on your dehydrator after the first hour.
Cut the Frozen Fruit into Smaller Pieces
I already mentioned that with frozen fruit cut into large pieces, it’s important to cut the fruit before dehydrating it.
If you want the fruit to dehydrate even faster, cut it into even smaller pieces. For instance, frozen sliced peaches are pretty large, so I always cut them at least in half, and sometimes into fourths before dehydrating them. If I want them to dry faster, I’d cut each slice into six pieces before dehydrating them.
Preheat Your Dehydrator
Some people state that you MUST preheat your dehydrator. To be completely honest, I seldom think about preheating my dehydrator. But if you want to speed up the process of dehydrating frozen fruit, preheat your dehydrator while you’re preparing the fruit.
Avoid Dehydrating Frozen Fruit Mixes
I love buying frozen fruit mixes. They are delicious, and the bigger the variety of fruit, the more variety you have in nutrients. But I learned the hard way that it’s a bad idea to dehydrate frozen fruit mixes. The reason is that with frozen fruit mixes, you have fruit of assorted sizes. Unfortunately, some of the fruit dries faster or slower than others.
I learned this less when I dehydrated the Great Value Frozen Cherry Berry Blend. This was by far the most delicious frozen fruit that I’ve ever dehydrated. However, the cherries took way longer to dehydrate than the blueberries and strawberries. I decided at once that if I ever dehydrate cherries again, I would do them separately, and cut them in half.
If you do decide to dehydrate frozen fruit blends, take the time to cut the larger pieces of fruit into sizes similar to the smallest fruit in the blend. Even so, there may be some variation in how long the different types of fruit take to dehydrate, because some fruit is moister or denser than other fruit. So, for best results, avoid dehydrating frozen fruit blends.
Give Dehydrating Frozen Fruit a Try!
I definitely recommend giving dehydrating frozen fruit a try. Especially if you’re newer to dehydrating, since dehydrating frozen fruit is so easy, it’s a great dehydrating project for beginners. But even if you have a lot of dehydrating experience, frozen fruit is a great project, because after all, we all deserve a break when it comes to the work we do to build up our long-term food storage.
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