How to Sun Dry Fruit

Using the sun to dry food is the oldest known method of food preservation, and making nutritious and delicious dried fruit this way is easy to do. The ideal climate for sun drying has strong sunshine, with a minimum temperature of 85 degrees Fahrenheit (30 Centigrade) and low humidity. This article will tell you how to sun dry fruit without electricity or the purchase of expensive equipment.


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    Make a drying tray with a plastic screen or using cheesecloth stretched tightly on a frame. Crisscross string on the back of the frame and staple it in the corners to prevent the cheesecloth from sagging.
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    Harvest the fruit just before it becomes over-ripe. Select fruit that is free from blemishes.
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    Allow the fruit to cool if it is warm from growing in the sun.
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    Wash, pit, dry, peel (if necessary) and thinly slice the fruit. Thinly-sliced fruit will dry more quickly. By keeping all the pieces about the same size, they will dry uniformly.
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    Prevent oxidation, or darkening of the fruit, after slicing.
    • Dip the fruit in salt water. Use 6 tablespoons of pickling salt to 1 gallon (3.5 liters) of water. Drain and dry the fruit.
    • Blanch apples or apricots by steaming the slices for 5 minutes, and then putting them in ice cold water. Thoroughly drain and dry the fruit.
    • Make a honey dip for peaches, pineapples or bananas by mixing 1 cup sugar, 3 cups water and 1 cup honey.
    • Combine warm water, pineapple juice and lemon juice for a juice dip.
    • Mix 2 tablespoons ascorbic acid into 4 cups (1 liter) water for any fruits.
    • Boil 1 box of pectin dip with 1 cup water and ½ cup sugar for peaches, cherries or berries.
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    Arrange the fruit on the drying tray with spaces between, so that the pieces don’t touch.
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    Place a piece of glass above the food to intensify the sun on the fruit, but make sure there is enough space above the fruit for good air circulation.
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    Set the tray in the sun for approximately 2-4 days. The actual drying time depends on the type of fruit and outdoor conditions.
    • Take the fruit indoors if it is raining and at night to prevent moisture from collecting on the fruit.
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    Equalize the fruit after drying to allow moisture from some pieces to transfer to the dryer pieces. This can be done by stirring the pieces for a few days or by placing them in paper bags, hanging the bags on a clothesline and shaking the bags a few times a day for a couple of days.
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    Store the dried fruit in a container with a tight-fitting lid or in a zipper-seal bag.
    • If the containers are kept in a cool, dark place, the fruit will last for at least 6 months. #Check the fruit regularly for mold during the first few weeks of storage and discard any doubtful pieces.


  • Store dried fruit in small batches so if a piece did not thoroughly dry and begins to mold, it will not ruin the entire batch.
  • If you want to store the dried fruit for a longer time, pasteurize it to destroy insect eggs. To pasteurize it, freeze the dried fruit for a few days in a deep freezer or heat in an oven for 10-15 minutes at 175 F.
  • Dust the fruit before storing with sugar or spice to prevent the fruit from sticking together.
  • Dry strong-flavored foods by themselves.
  • Tomatoes can be classified as a fruit. Sun dry small tomatoes by cutting them in half, sprinkling with sea salt, covering them with netting (raised up so that it doesn’t touch the fruit) and drying in the sun for about 3 weeks.


  • Do not use screens made from galvanized metal, which can oxidize and leave a residue on the fruit.
  • Do not sun dry fruit where there is a lot of air pollution, as the food can be contaminated.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic screen
  • Cheesecloth
  • Wooden frame
  • String
  • Staples
  • Fruit
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Stockpot
  • Pickling salt
  • Strainer
  • Large bowl
  • Spoon
  • Sugar
  • Honey
  • Pineapple juice
  • Lemon juice
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Pectin dip

Article Info

Categories: Drying Food