I’ve decided peaches are now my favorite fruit. I don’t like anything overly sweet, and peaches have just amount of tang to offset the sweetness. Nectarines are pretty similar, and are preferred by my older daughter, because she is adverse to the fuzz. Apparently, she isn’t the only one. Unable to develop a fuzzless peach, the peach industry created a machine to mechanically brush off most of the fuzz. After this, the sale of peaches rose 50 percent. And although Georgia is known as “the peach state,” they don’t have anything on Washington State peaches.
Last week, I was sent some peaches and nectarines from the Washington State Fruit Commission. This organization is so passionate about their fruit, they encourage people to preserve it, so consumers can enjoy the fruit all year long. This fruit commission has a website called Sweet Preservation, where you can access recipes, free printable canning labels, and more. Preserving is making a comeback, and it’s nice to see an organization promoting this old-timey craft.
I decided to use this batch of fruit to make dehydrated cinnamon peaches and nectarines. Store bought dehydrated fruit is super sweet, because it’s usually coated with sugar and other preservatives. To me, this sugar coating makes the fruit sickening sweet, and takes away from the natural fruit flavor. And, did you know, store-bought dehydrated bananas are fried in coconut oil? Although my dehydrated fruit has no added sugar, and my bananas don’t touch oil, but it’s fun to sprinkle peaches, nectarines, and apples with cinnamon and other warm spices, to give a pie flavor.
I use dehydrated peaches and nectarines in trail mix, granola bars, homemade instant oatmeal, and the fruit rehydrates beautifully in quick breads. Also, they make a darn good quick snack all on their own.
To dehydrate the fruit, I simply wash, peel, and seed. Cut into 1/2 inch slices. I toss all the sliced peaches gently in a bowl with cinnamon.
Place on dehydrator trays, and set dehydrator at 135 for 24 hours, or until done.
In order for fruit to be shelf stable without molding, there needs to be very little moisture. You don’t want to dehydrate them to the point the fruit is like jerky, but you also don’t want so much moisture the fruit molds. Wait until your fruit has cooled off before determining if the fruit is done dehydrating. Store in your pantry, and enjoy!