I have a pretty large apricot tree in my mum’s garden that every year produces a lot of fresh fruits. As I am living in a fairly dry and warm climate, last year I decided to try to select some of the fruits to dry them in the sun at home on my terrace. My guess was if I leave them outside in the sun and in the windy position they will dry pretty soon.
I asked a couple of people in my neighborhood how to dry apricots in the sun but none of them really had any experience with the drying process. I was not sure about the right temperature for good dehydration. But as I had some experience with drying my figs in the sun I decided to try for myself with a small lot of the fruit.
In my opinion, to dry fruit naturally is very healthy and the best way compared to any other drying process including a convection oven.
First, I chose the best selection of the whole apricots and cut them in two, three, or four pieces, depending on the size of the fruit:
Secondly, I took some leftover wooden sticks that I found in my shed, a piece of chicken wire, some nails, and a hammer and quickly constructed a simple frame (above photo) which is now acting as a drying tray for my freshly cut apricots.
I placed the tray on the old foldable clothes airer right in the corner of my garden. The corner I have chosen was the sunniest and windiest position available in the garden.
After a week of being exposed to the full sunshine and wind, the fruits are already completely finished, dried and ready to be stored. Here is the result:
I was happy with the first result so decided to add more fresh fruit to dry. On the above photo, you can see on the left side apricots that are already dried while on the right side I added more fresh fruit. The pieces of fruit that are already dried are of dark orange/reddish colour while pieces of fresh fruit are still light orange / yellowish.
As far as drying temperature is concerned, I did not check it – the most important thing was to have sunny and dry weather with no rain and low humidity.
Another thing which I have to check for the future is maybe to have a better solution for a drying tray and drying rack: this simple sticks and chicken wire tray I made was fine to start with but I had to use kitchen towels to cover the fruit overnight to protect it of dew so maybe the proper drying tray or rack with some kind of drafty cover might be the way forward.
My plan for next year is to try to also dry apricot seeds (kernels) although I have to check how to use them later on for consumption.
Drying apricots dehydrator
I am now also considering to buy drying apricots dehydrator or some kind of apricot drying machine to try. I am not sure how much is that I have to check if it’s too expensive. In my opinion, perhaps the best way to try is drying apricots in a convection oven as I already have the electric oven in my kitchen with a fan to circulate air around the fruit so no additional cost is involved at this stage.
My sun-dried apricots recipe:
I used dried apricots for breakfast – I mixed them with some cereal and milk. In the evening before, I would just put a couple of pieces of fruit in the bowl with some milk and left it overnight. By morning the fruit was already soft and ready to be eaten as a part of my healthy breakfast. I am now planning to dry more of the fruit next season to last me for the whole winter if possible. In the meantime, I get my regular supply online – check current prices.
Above photo: Some dried apricots that I bought at my local store.