10 Recipes for DIY Dried Foods, From Kale Chips to Rose Hips

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Dried food

credit: razvan.orendovici

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Drying your own berries can be startling: 4 cups of fresh fruit reduces to about 1 -- but even with the diminishing returns, volume-wise, the bonus of getting to use local, organic produce more than makes up for it.

The Seattle Times recommends the dipping method -- here's the process:

For strawberries, hull 4 cups and cut each berry lengthwise into thirds. For blueberries, blanch them briefly in boiling for about 30 seconds to tenderize the tough skins. Pat dry, then dip.

Honey dip: Combine 1-½ cups water with ½ cup sugar in a medium pan on medium-low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then boil for about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the stove and and stir in ½ cup honey, and allow to cool. Dip the berries a few at a time in honey mix and remove with a slotted spoon to a cookie sheet lined with a dishtowel to soak up the syrup. (Try not to eat all of the fruit at this point.)

Pectin dip: Mix 1 box of powdered pectin and 1 cup of water in a pan, and bring to a boil, stirring, until boiling. Add ½ cup sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from the stove and stir in cold water so that the mix equals about 2 cups. Cool a bit, dip fruit in and remove, then spread on a baking sheet lined with a dishtowel to finish draining.

Set the oven to 150 degrees and cover baking sheets with cheesecloth -- don't allow any cheesecloth to hang over -- lay fruit on the cheescloth and place them in the oven, leaving the door slightly open and place a fan nearby to keep the air circulating. Bake until dry. (Depending on the weather and humidity, this can take up to 6 to 8 hours -- a dehydrator would come in handy here, too.)