Here at Anchor & Den, we take pride in our Apothecary-inspired beverage program. We love to play around with fruits and herbs and incorporate them whenever we can into our drinks. One way we love to do this is with garnishes! There is nothing wrong with a wedge of lime or lemon for your drink but sometimes changing it up can give your cocktail a stylish cool look and gets people asking, “Hey! What’s that?”
Dehydrated fruits are used for many things: infusions, cooking and even preserving; they are like nature's candy! We use them a lot at A&D, they look pretty on top or in a cocktail, but also they are super tasty as well! If you want to impress your guests at your next gathering, you can create delicious and beautiful garnishes at home and it requires no special equipment. Read on to find out more…
Here at A&D we use a dehydrator to make our dried fruits, you can find these machines in any home store, Walmart or the internet (Amazon have lots!) If you don’t have a dehydrator don’t you worry you can make them in any standard oven – all you need is your fruits, parchment paper and sheet pans. Easy peasy!
The method is very simple. You're simply heating the fruit at a low temperature to allow enough water to evaporate so the chance of bacterial growth is minimized.
Step 1: Prep your fruit
Choose ripe or just overly ripe fruits and berries. For example, we use strawberries, apples, bananas, oranges, lemons, pineapple and raspberries.
Wash in cold water
Remove any blemishes
Remove any pits or stones from stone fruits
Remove any stems from berries
Cut and slice fruits evenly so that they will dry within the same time frame
Step 2: Soak it
To keep fruit looking pretty and minimize discoloration, soak it in lemon juice and water.
Soak fruit for 10 minutes, drain and blot dry with a lint-free towel.
Step 3: To the Oven/ Dehydrator
Preheat the oven to 130-160 degrees F. Use a lower temperature for thinly sliced fruits such as apples or pears. Strawberries and other whole berries love the higher heat.
Place parchment paper onto sheet pans. Arrange fruit in a single layer, and do not allow pieces to touch. Place fruit into the oven and rotate pans every 2 hours.
If you have a dehydrator it’s even easier. Just place your fruits evenly on the provided trays and most machines have designated settings for particular items. Turn it on and let the magic happen. Dried fruit should feel like leather but still be pliable so when you get this consistency they are ready!
General Cooking Times
Pineapple 12 hours
Bananas 6 hours
Apples 6 hours
Citrus (oranges, lemons and grapefruits) 8-10 hours
Cherries 12 hours
Strawberries/Raspberries 12 hours
Bananas 12 hours
Pears 6 hours
Mango 6 hours
Step 4: Cure it!
When the fruit is ready, remove it from the oven and place in glass or plastic containers to "cure." Leave the container open for 4-5 days so that any moisture left from the drying process can evaporate. Shake the container every day or so to move the fruit around.
Seal the containers after 5 days and enjoy your dried fruits. We recommend garnishing a tropical fruity drink like a rum punch with a half wheel of pineapple, or a cozy warm style drink like a hot toddy with an apple slice and dusted with cinnamon. Del-ish!