Originally Posted by Musical_Muse
Thanks for all the wonderful responses
. I would really like to make my own dried fruit. Unfortunately, I have only a gas oven to work with at my apartment right now, so this may be a problem. Maybe if I keep the oven door ajar during the process, as one poster suggested, it will reduce the moisture that is common with gas ovens?
I'm also curious: are there any dried fruits that are made without a lot of processed sugar layered on top? Many of the dried fruit products that I have seen have a lot of processed sugar.
I've been looking up info on the net about drying fruit at home. You CAN do it in the oven without a home dehydrator, but it's of course more expensive to have the oven on for hours with the door propped open.
The temperature that I've seen on several sites is 140F (60C). The door to an electric oven needs to be open only 1 inch, but a gas oven door needs to be open at least 8 inches (20 cm) to let the moisture out.
You don't need to add sugar. A dip of 1/2 lemon juice and 1/2 water will keep some fruits like apples from darkening, but also isn't necessary. I wouldn't use sulfer at all, due to allergic reactions, and one website says not to use sulfer in an oven anyway.
Allow air circulation room around the sides of trays in the oven. Lay fruit out on trays, and shift fruit every 1-2 hours from outer edges to center areas of trays as the fruit on the outside starts drying.
It sounds like fun! I dried fruit in a dehydrator years ago, and was intrigued at the results. Raspberries dried to paper-thin hulls, but retained lots of flavor -- great in cereals and on ice cream! Blackberries dried to sticky raisin consistency, and had much less flavor than they did when fresh. Berry season is short here in northern Germany, and I'm inspired to try my hand at dehydrating again. Thanks for the suggestion!