Macerate peaches and then dehydrate them for chewy goodness and a perfect lunchbox snack.
Every summer I dehydrate a few peaches. Usually I slice, treat in lemon juice so they keep their color, and then dry till crumbly. This method works great if you want to rehydrate them at a later time to top oatmeal or tuck into fruitcake or muffins.
But it’s difficult to achieve the just right amount of dryness at home if you want the fruit snack-ready. Unless you macerate it first. So when the Washington State Fruit Commission sent some beautiful, sun-kissed peaches my way, I plopped a few into a sugar “bath.” The fruit was sent to me as part of the Canbassador program.
What is a Canbassador?
As a Canbassador my job is to make all kinds of wonderful preserved Washington fruit items and then write about them. I must say, it’s one of the best “jobs” I have ever held. Earlier this summer I received cherries from Northwest Cherry Growers, and this month peaches arrived courtesy of Washington State Fruit Commission .
What does it mean to Macerate?
Macerating for our purposes is basically soaking fruit in sugar. The process works much like the candying process in that it “pulls out” water from the cells and replaces it with sugar. Sugar keeps the fruit plump during dehydration. Thus a macerated, dried peach is chewy while a dried peach is more crumbly.
How to Make Macerated Dried Peaches
- Peel, pit, and cut about 3 pounds of peaches into wedges.
- Treat in lemon juice bath for at least 15 minutes. ( ¼ cup lemon juice + ½ gallon water)
- Drain and return peaches to bowl
- Stir in ½ cup white, granulated sugar
- Cover and let sit at least one hour or overnight
- Drain fruit. Reserve syrup to use in iced tea or sparkling water.
- Spread fruit on dehydrator trays.
- Set dehydrator to 135 degrees.
- Dry until pliable and leathery. Length of time will depend on how thick the peaches slices are, how long they macerated, how humid the environment is, etc.
- Condition dried fruit. Put in a zip-top plastic bag. Shake a few times a day for 2-7 days. This helps to equalize the remaining water level in all pieces.
- Store in refrigerator or freezer for 48 hours to ensure that no insect eggs survived the drying process.
- Store in an air-tight container either on the shelf or in the freezer. (I prefer to store in the freezer. It only takes a few minutes for the fruit to thaw, and it ensures a longer shelf life.)
Tips and Hints
For more info on dehydrating fruit, check out our tutorial.
Full disclosure: This recipe was made with peaches I received from the Washington State Fruit Commission.