People have been drying fruit for thousands of years, such as grapes, plums and figs. Eventually all popular fruits native to the regions populated by humans were dried and stored. One of the reasons for this method of preservation is that the flavors and sugars of the fruit become concentrated. Dried fruit has four to five times the number of calories that fresh fruit has. Dried fruit takes up less space and is lighter to carry for traveling. Dried fruit has to be stored correctly to remain good.
Fruit-drying is a common way of preserving fruits to be consumed outside of their peak season. Fruit can be dried in the sun on screens or trays, or in home drying machines. Sun-drying takes more time and often results in nutrient loss. Home fruit dryers often finish drying a load of fruit on one 24-hour period. Sun-drying takes up to four times that long.
Storing at Room Temperature
Room temperature is ideal for storing dried fruit. Do not store dried fruit in direct sunlight or near any heat source. Also, store the fruit in a tightly sealed container. Oxygen will further dry the fruit out, making it harder than a rock; it will also promote deterioration and spoilage. The ideal room temperature is at or below 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). Any air-tight container will do for room temperature storage, including glass or plastic jars, zipper bags, plastic containers with lids, or any other appropriate air-tight container. If ambient air conditions are generally humid, it may be appropriate to refrigerate dried fruit. Under the right conditions, dried fruit will store for 12 months.
Freezing Dried Fruit
Dried fruit can be stored frozen as well. Store fruit in an air-tight container that resists freezer burn so the fruit will last longer. When you are ready to eat frozen dried fruit, it will not take long to defrost after removing it from the freezer. Optimum frozen storage temperature is at 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius). At this temperature, frozen dried fruit will last for at least 12 months.
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