but i find that sulphite preservatives (220-228) upset my stomach, and make me really uncomfortable. i don't want to inflict this on arty, but i want him to be able to eat dried fruit as a snack (and in dishes like porridge etc).
so i decided to have a go at making my own. it was really easy!
1 cup lemon juice
3 cups water
- peel and core fruit, and slice into pieces approx 5mm thick
- combine lemon juice and water in a bowl
- in batches, soak the fruit slices in the juice for no more than 4 minutes
- using paper towel, or a clean tea towel, gently blot excess moisture from fruit
- arrange slices carefully on trays of dehydrator, ensuring that no pieces are touching each other
- dehydrate for around 7-10 hours (this will vary depending on your machine). they are ready when they are still flexible, but no moisture comes out when you pinch them hard between your fingers.
- store in airtight containers in a cool dark place, such as a pantry or kitchen cupboard.
i expected these to be nice, but a bit funny looking. i was so pleasantly surprised by how they turned out. they didn't discolour at all, so they look appetizing, and the flavour is SO GOOD. i had no idea how much the commercial drying processes alters the taste - there's just no comparison with the home made kind. these just taste like distilled apple essence. scrummy!
i already owned a food dehydrator, because i use it to dry my own herbs, so that was handy. they cost around $100, so i wouldn't have gone out and bought one just for experimenting with. if you want to give this a go, maybe see if anyone you know has a dehydrator languishing in their attic or pantry that you can borrow. and check out gumtree, ebay, or a similar site for a second hand one if you decide you want to have a few goes!
n.b. it's a bit hard to say from what age these are suitable for babies - arty's gotten all his teeth early, so would have handled nomming on these from about 8 months, but babies that aren't as adept at chewing would need to wait til after a year.
use your judgement, and if in doubt, wait til they're a bit bigger.