This section is from the book "Save It For Winter.", by Frederick Fry Rockwell. Also available from Amazon: Save It For Winter; Modern Methods Of Canning, Dehydrating, Preserving And Storing Vegetables And Fruit For Winter Use, With Comments On The Best ... For Saving, And When And How To Grow Them.
These "hard" fruits are all easily dried, except that in the case of apples, very early and sweet varieties are not so good as the long-keeping varieties.
The simplest method of preparing apples is to core, and slice 1/4 inch thick-preferably with a machine. Dip at once into water, to which salt has been added in the proportion of eight teaspoonfuls to a gallon. Dry off surface moisture, and then spread on papers and dry in sun until product has become tough and leathery.
For drying in heat, prepare and cut into eighths, putting at once into cold water to which salt-one ounce to the gallon-has been added. Dry out gradually in a temperature of 150 degrees. Allow four or five hours, or as much longer as may seem necessary.
For dehydrating, slice into 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick rings, or shred as directed for sweet potatoes.
Pears may be treated in the same manner except that they should be steamed for ten minutes or so before drying. This applies also to quinces.
Wash and pit, if a large variety is being used. Small cherries may be dried with the pits in. Spread out thin and dry in sun.
Or: wash, rough dry, and spread in very thin layers with pits in and dry from 2 to 4 hours with temperature of 110 to 150 degrees F.
A better product is obtained if the fruits are peeled before drying. Remove stones, pits, and cut into halves, or smaller pieces if large fruit is being used, and spread on trays to dry. In evaporating or dehydrating, use same temperature as for apples.
For plums, remove pits, cut into halves, and dry.
Or: Cover with boiling water; let stand for 20 minutes; drain; rough dry; and dry for 4 to 6 hours, gradually raising the temperature from 110 to 150 degrees F.
Apricots may be treated in the same way.
Only Varieties with good, thick solid flesh are suitable for drying in this way.
Prepare carefully, spread thinly, and dry until the fruit can be pressed between the thumb and finger without making a stain. Do not dry until hard.
Or: Prepare carefully, spread in thin layers, and dry slowly in heat, gradually raising the temperature from 110 to 125 degrees F. The temperature should not be allowed to go above 130 for the first hour or two, until the fruit is fairly well dried, as otherwise there will be loss of juice by dripping. Dry from 2 to 4 hours at 140 degrees.
Blackberries, dewberries, and huckleberries should be given the same treatment.