Monday, May 16, 2011

Dried Mango & Pineapple

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This post combines two experiences, Costco...the place where I can't get out the door without spending $100, and Trader Joe's, a fun new experience for me (wish they had one here). I had been enjoying the dried mangoes from Trader Joe's...they are so tasty and soft and chewy and thought maybe I should dig out my dehydrator from the basement and try doing some myself. I had gone to Costco and they had cases of mangoes for only $5.99! (I picked up a pineapple too, another fruit that I really love).

Turns out, mangoes dry up pretty nice, but it took me 3 tries to find the right amount of time to get fruit that was dry, but not crispy (started with 10 hours, but they turned out like mango chips, tried 8 hours overnight, but even though they seemed pliable, when they cooled off, again, crispy, 5-6 hours was about right). I didn't add anything to the fruit...just sliced it and put it in the dehydrator.

Use ripe mangoes (if they aren't soft and sweet now, they won't be tasty dried either). I peeled them and then sliced them about 1/4 inch thick (maybe a bit thinner-the pineapple about the same, but you don't want to slice it too thin, otherwise, you get mango chips instead of chewy mango). The fruit will shrink considerably. Its important to try and have all the slices the same thickness so that they dry at the same rate. I sliced off the long side, then turned the mango a 1/4 turn and sliced off the next side and just kept turning it until I had sliced everything away from the pit.

Spray the trays of the dehydrator with non-stick cooking spray and lay the slices on the tray. Leave plenty of space around the fruit-the air has to be able to circulate, so don't crowd it. (I think I got my dehydrator at Walmart).

In my dehydrator I found that 5-6 hours was about the right amount of time and that the bottom tray was best left empty (it got too hot). You want the fruit to look dry to the touch (as opposed to wet or juicy looking), but still be very soft and pliable. I'd suggest that your first try be when you are going to be home the whole time so you can check on it. Once you figure out the right timing, you can plan for letting it run without your constant supervision.

Yup, they turned out very tasty. Not quite as soft as the TJ ones, but pretty irresistible (the pineapple is also super yummy).

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