Find the best dehydrator for inventive holiday decorations
Making garland from dehydrated fruit is a fun and festive holiday tradition. Unlike other traditional holiday decorations, dehydrated fruit can be a lovely, eco-friendly option for your home. While it might seem like dehydration takes a long time, drying fruit is incredibly easy as long as you have an effective dehydrator.
And once the holidays are over, you’ll be able to find plenty more uses for your new appliance, including crispy snap pea snacks, sun-dried tomatoes and, of course, any kind of jerky you can imagine. Luckily, there are plenty of affordable and high-end food dehydrators to choose from today.
How to dry fruit in a dehydrator
It’s quite simple to make fruit garland. First, wash, dry and peel the fruit. One thing to keep in mind when dehydrating fruit is that many fruits oxidize during the drying process. For example, apples will turn a rich brown and lose some flavor. To prevent this, spritz fruit with a mixture of lemon juice and water.
After treating the fruit, cut it into thin slices between 1/4-1/2 inches. Do your best to keep slice sizes as consistent as possible to ensure all the fruit takes the same amount of time to dry. That way, you won’t end up with some overly leathery pieces or ones that are too moist. If you want to have a variety of thickness to vary the garland, keep the different sized slices on separate trays so you can take each one out when it’s ready. The only exception to this step is berries, which you will have to pierce the skin to give the moisture a way to escape.
Once the fruit’s treated, lay it out on the dehydrator’s trays without overlapping any pieces. Use the dehydrator manual to decipher temperature and time, but 125-140 degrees is the perfect range for drying fruit. Using a temperature near 125 degrees will take a little longer but gives you the most consistent results. If you’re in a hurry, 140 degrees works just fine, too.
After six hours or so, most of the fruit should be leathery to the touch. Remove it from the dehydrator and let it cool. Once it’s cool, check to make sure it’s completely dry. Once it’s cooled and slightly chewy, you can start to make your festive holiday garland. Store any leftovers in a sealed bag at room temperature for a few days and shake them occasionally to ensure there’s no condensation in the bag. This process will ensure your leftover dried fruit lasts a long time and retains plenty of flavors.
How to string dried fruit garland
Find a sturdy string or fishing line and a sturdy needle to pierce the fruit. If you’re making fruit garland with younger ones or small children, make sure to supervise them closely. And if you have curious pets in your home, refrain from using fruits or vegetables that could be toxic to them. Measure the space you intend to decorate, so you have enough string for your project. Once you have the correct measurement on your garland, start to string the dried fruit on one at a time. Vary size, shape and thickness to create a more interesting appearance and texture. Finally, secure the garland and enjoy your new unique holiday decoration.
The best dehydrators for dried fruit garland
The Gardenmaster Pro is widely considered the best home dehydrator on the market because of its simplicity, consistency, capacity and moderate price. Sold by Amazon.
If you demand peak precision in your cooking endeavors, this dehydrator has you covered with precise digital thermostat control. It comes with only four trays, but you can easily add more. Sold by Amazon.
This relatively compact and affordable option offers reliable construction, consistent operation and a wide range of temperatures. Sold by Amazon.
Tribest Sedona Express Digital Food Dehydrator
Consider this commercial model if you need large amounts of dried foods on a consistent basis. It has a significantly higher capacity than most others and heats with remarkable speed. Sold by Amazon.
Excalibur 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator
With a 48-hour timer and 15 square feet of drying space, this dehydrator is great for busy people who don’t have enough time to monitor the process. Sold by Amazon.
Hamilton Beach 32100A Digital Food Dehydrator
Like many Hamilton Beach appliances, this dehydrator proves that you don’t have to spend a fortune for quality kitchen gear. It’s relatively compact and even has a digital LED display. Sold by Amazon.
NutriChef PKFD06 Compact Countertop Food Dehydrator
This dehydrator is about as small and affordable as they come. Unlike other models, it has transparent trays, so you can check on your food without opening the unit. Sold by Amazon.
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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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