Drying vegetables and fruits

I received a food dehydrator as a gift recently, and it has so far successfully yielded nice chewy dried tomatoes.

Currently I have a batch of home-grown figs drying, plus more tomatoes.

Thoughts about which vegetables and fruits yield the best results (whether from a dehydrator, oven or in the sun) and are most worthwhile?*

*I have too many eggplant and have frozen quite a bit, but wonder if drying might be effective too.
**not up for making meat jerky just now, but maybe in the future.

Peaches are a classic; I’ve seen apricots as well and I expect nectarines would work too.

Dried apples are really nice, and can be rehydrated and made into pies.

I love dried grape and cherry tomatoes as snacks; the only problem is that it gets expensive if you are buying them from the store. A pint of them is one day’s snack for me.

Leftover herbs are another obvious candidate for dehydration. I’ve done basil, oregano, sage, thyme and rosemary and they keep for about a year.

I suppose you could make your own raisins, too, though I’ve never tried that. Overripe grapes would probably work pretty well.

My favorites are pears, plums, tomatoes and apples. In that order.

I remember my mother used to make several varieties of fruit leather. The spiced apple butter ones were especially good as were the ones made from tart pie cherries.

I dried some lemons one time. I never could find a use for them. I made a garland last Xmas and hung it on my mantle. But of course apples are classic.

ETA I did pineapple a few times, they are tasty.

Dried apples and bananas are actually good

Mushrooms (assuming you like mushrooms) are great when dried - wild mushrooms are best for this, but even ordinary store-bought white mushrooms become much more intense and savoury if they are sliced and dried - fantastic for soups and sauces.

Has anyone tried dried watermelon? Lol

I have a bumper crop of moderately hot peppers. Might be worthwhile to dry some of them.

Tart dried cherries are delicious, so if you have a tree, keep them in mind for drying.

Don’t be too nervous about taking on jerky down the road. It’s not as tough as you’d think.

It’s actually quite nice.

I just made my first foray into drying peppers. They made some delicious paprika.

(At least the sweet peppers; I also dried some padron peppers, but haven’t tried out that paprika yet. Apparently padron peppers get insanely hot if you let them ripen to red. The paprika was so hot that I stared coughing if I breathed the air above the spice grinder.)

Next up: dried anchos. I’d cook them fresh, but they all ripened at once and we are about to leave town and can’t eat everything we already have in the fridge fast enough!

I’m (air-)drying the hops I harvested today, does that count? It better, because I’m so excited about it I’m posting about it in every thread where it’s remotely relevant.

Seriously, anyone have any experience with air-drying hops? (Mine are on a raised window screen with a ceiling fan and box fan for air circulation, out of the sunlight.) About how long should it take?

Aren’t anchos by definition dried? Otherwise, they’re just poblanos, no?

I never really paid that much attention, but as it turns out, I think I just didn’t label my plants very carefully and they are totally sweet peppers. (Maybe the Macedonia ajvar ones?) So we won’t dry them after all.

I have seen small dried ones in the Middle Eastern grocery store, if memory serves.


I had commercially dried canteloupe last year which was surprisingly good, with a slight citrus flavor.

In my home dehydrator I’ve had success with apples and with mandarin segments. I’ve tried strawberries and the recipe I like is labor-intensive since they need to be boiled in a light syrup first; I tried drying raw unsweetened strawberries and they turned papery and tasteless.