Jul 6, 2023
How do you pronounce Apricot? Is it ah-pree-cots or ey-pree-cots? Whatever your preference is, here’s how to freeze-dry apricots so you’ll have this delicious fruit always. Regardless of how you pronounce it.
You can use two kinds of apricots for freeze-drying: fresh or canned.
Fresh apricot is rich in its own natural juices and has a bright, fruit flavor. Some of the varieties you can choose are:
When choosing apricots, go for those that have a deep orange-gold color. The fruits should be plum and firm, with just a touch of softness.
You would think that any kind of canned apricots are good since they’ve been pre-selected. However, it’s better to be choosy than pick any can you can put your hands on.
Make sure that the apricot pieces have a firm texture and bright orange texture. Go for those packed in their own juice or light syrup. Most importantly, go for well-known reliable brands. They’ve been tested so you don’t have to worry too much over the quality.
If you see the canned apricot halves to be overripe, mushy, or discolored, don’t use them. Avoid those that come in heavy syrup and contain additives. Inspect the label because it always indicates the preservation liquid as well as the presence of additives.
Here’s how to prepare the apricots for freeze-drying.
Wash the apricots well to get out the gunk. This is the best time to QA each fruit and remove the ones that have marks or damage on the skin. There’s no need to peel the apricot because you’ll cut the fruit in half.
Get a paring knife and cut the apricot from the stalk to the style. This is the bottom of the fruit. If you cut along a line that goes around the fruit, you’ll see the pith jutting out for easy removal. If you prefer to have the seed lay flat, cut around the apricot from top to bottom from any side without following the line.
After cutting, put the halves in a water bath with 3 grams of ascorbic acid to 1-gallon cold water. Just like with Fuji apples, this will keep the fruit slices fresh and prevent browning. Of course, this will also increase the tartness of the apricots. You can rinse the apricot halves afterward, but some tartness will remain. Once you rinse your fruits, act quickly to remove all the excess moisture and process them.
Open each can of apricot halves and drain them thoroughly. Wash out the excess syrup to get the “canned” taste out. Afterward, you can either slice each apricot or lay it on the tray as-is.
Slicing is optional since many found success in freeze-drying apricot halves. This makes them look great for presentation when serving desserts. However, we recommend slicing if you want freeze-dried apricot for snacking. The fruit will be lip-puckering tart, so slicing make them easier to eat.
Pre-freezing is optional, but we encourage it for fruit that’s been pre-soaked in water or syrup. Pre-freezing, especially if you have a frost-free freezer, removes about 5%-10% of moisture. The large ice crystals make it easy for your freeze dryer to remove all that moisture as it sublimates them into water vapor. This can help shorten your freeze-drying time considerably, making it free to use sooner than later.
When you pre-freeze, make sure to pre-cool the trays and the chamber. Your freeze dryer should have a temperature of around -8°F (-22 °C) or lower so your food won’t melt.
Once you got the apricot trays ready, it’s time to freeze dry.
What’s good about home freeze dryers, especially Harvest Right, is that you don’t have to do much. You can play with the settings, but you can leave them as-is. Just remember that lowering the drying temperature will prolong the process. If you put it on too high, it will dehydrate your food too fast.
Tip: If you want all the trays of apricots to finish simultaneously, keep the weights equal.
Depending on certain conditions and if you played with your settings, it can take 24-47 hours.
You can choose Mason jars or Mylar bags for storing. Mason jars are great for short-term storage. If you want to snack on the freeze-dried fruit, the jars will work well. They’re easy to open and reseal when needed and reusable too.
Mylar bags, on the other hand, are good for traveling and long-term storage. They’re lightweight, don’t take up a lot of space, and can store your food for 25 years or more.
Are you freeze-drying bought fresh apricots canned, or fruit that came from your garden? Share your find in our comment section.
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