Last Updated on April 14, 2022
Got a surplus of peaches or nectarines? Count yourself lucky, ‘cuz once you know how to dehydrate peaches, you can make piles of the most amazingly delicious dried peaches and nectarines. Here’s what to know about dehydrating peaches and how to make the process as quick and easy as possible.
One of the best parts of summer (in my opinion, anyhow) is all the wonderfully flavorful fresh fruit. But sometimes — shall we say I have a good deal of experience with this? — the lure of the fragrant fruits of summer can lead to overbuying. And as yummy as all that fruit is, we simply can’t get through it all before it starts to spoil.
Dehydrating peaches to the rescue! I cannot begin to describe how amazing these dried peaches taste. So full of flavor and sweetness, they’re so much better than any sweetened “fruit snack.” And since they’re just fruit, you don’t have to feel guilty about eating them. Wooohoo!
And you will want to eat them in large quantities, I promise. Dehydrated peaches and nectarines are SO good!!
WHY CONSIDER DEHYDRATING PEACHES?
If you haven’t done much dehydrating, there are several compelling reasons to dehydrate peaches. Foremost among them in my opinion is a way to turn something that might go to waste into something you wish you had more of. Here’s more on dehydrating food if you’re a newbie.
Ever bite into a peach and think, meh? Though many peaches sing with flavor, sometimes they just don’t taste great fresh. When that exact same ‘meh’ peach sits on the dehydrator for a few hours and all the water is sucked out of it, all the flavor is concentrated and the texture can transform from mushy to mmmmmm.
I like fruit quite firm, so when peaches, pears, or plums get too soft for fresh eating, onto the dehydrator they go to make little dried fruit leathers we ration out carefully because we all love them so much.
When the dehydrator comes out, everyone gets excited for the first rounds of dried fruits, homemade fruit leather made from rhubarb, and later on this utterly divine apple pear fruit leather. When the plum and apple trees in our edible yard start inundating us with more than we can eat, we slice ’em up and have jars and jars of delicious sweet snacks stored for when fresh fruit is in shorter supply.
Anytime we run the dehydrator, we do at least a couple trays’ worth of chewy dried bananas, which seriously taste like candy — only way better! You need these in your life if you’ve got a sweet tooth and are trying to limit sugar intake. Unlike processed, chemical-filled candies, dried bananas contain just one inexpensive ingredient and are packed with nutrients like potassium and B-6, which are great for your immune system, sleep, and more.
REASONS TO LOVE DEHYDRATING PEACHES
- Dehydrating peaches turns fruit that would otherwise go to waste into an incredibly tasty treat, saving money and helping reduce your “foodprint”
- These chewy, delicious dried peaches can satisfy a sweet tooth without compromising healthy eating goals
- Dried fruit takes up very little space
- Dried peaches taste AMAZING!
- Did I mention they taste amazing?
Are you sold on dehydrating peaches? Read on so you can make your own delicious 1-ingredient chewy, delicious dried peaches!
TIPS FOR DEHYDRATING PEACHES
When you bring home a big haul of peaches, be sure to go through them and pull out any that are already bruised or too soft for fresh eating to get on the dehydrator right away. Set aside whatever you know you’ll eat fresh and plan to dehydrate the rest so you have plenty of these flavorful dehydrated peaches for the next time you crave something sweet and chewy.
Fully ripe but not yet mushy peaches will come out best.
Let’s talk about how to make dehydrating peaches as easy and quick as we possibly can. There are some optional steps in dehydrating peaches that I pretty much always skip, and you can choose to do the same to save time.
Optional skin removal: Many recipes tell you to remove the skin of the peaches, but it’s really not necessary. You can if the fuzz is an issue for you, or just dehydrate nectarines so you don’t need to bother.
Pre-treating with acid: Some recipes suggest a dunk in lemon juice to prevent browning, but I never do. Dehydrated peaches taste wonderful and look just fine without this step, and who needs another step when you’ve got a huge pile of fruit to chop? If you’re giving them as a gift or want to impress someone, yes, a soak in an acidic juice will make the color more vibrant. I’ve included that step in the recipe in case you want it.
My go-to for all things dehydrating, Mary Bell, says pre-treating your fruits is only cosmetic and can impart a lemony flavor you may not want. She favors orange and pineapple juice if you do want to prevent browning. Here’s more information on pre-treating your dehydrated peaches from Colorado State University extension.
If you have a choice, “freestone” peaches will be easier to prepare than “cling” peaches, because you won’t need to cut carefully around the peach pit. A freestone peach pit will be easy to pop out without the flesh clinging to it. But if you have cling peaches, don’t worry. Cutting around the pit isn’t a big deal. I’ve also read the texture of freestone peaches when dried isn’t quite as wonderful as cling peaches.
Each tray can hold about 4 medium-size peaches. If you have extra room on your trays or other fruit that’s likely not to get eaten before it spoils, go ahead and put that on as well. We usually do a mix of plums, peaches, and bananas, with maybe some canteloupe that isn’t quite as delicious as it might be.
In fall, we dehydrate plenty of apples to make deliciously chewy dried apple snacks. Here’s how to dehydrate apples.
Timing tip: I recommend starting your dehydrating in the morning so you can check for doneness and let the ones that need it run longer. If you start later in the day, you may find undone pieces at bedtime that you can either leave and restart the dehydrator the following morning, or run on a timer for a few additional hours.
Leaving the dehydrator running while you sleep risks overdrying your peaches. Crispy peach chips just aren’t as yummy, though you can leave them to absorb moisture from the air, and they may become more pliable.
EQUIPMENT NEEDED FOR DEHYDRATING PEACHES
You can dehydrate peaches in the oven, but using a dehydrator is far easier and will add less heat to your house, especially as drying fruit can take quite awhile. Dehydrators can hold more food, use a fan to help food dry evenly, and can dry foods at lower temperatures. The recipe below includes oven instructions, but if you think you might want to dehydrate food regularly, a dehydrator is a great investment, and not an especially big one. You can share with a friend to cut the cost.
Here’s the dehydrator I use, going strong after more than 10 years of regular use. When it finally conks out, I’ll be adding one of these models with stainless steel trays to my holiday wish list in order to skip the plastic.
Many dehydrators come with a fine mesh mat that goes over the dehydrator tray. Using these can help prevent sticking.
HOW TO DEHYDRATE PEACHES
- 20 ripe peaches or nectarines, organic if possible
- Rinse off your fruit, or use a fruit wash if you like.
- Cut off any bruised spots and toss them in the compost.
- Optional: If you would like to remove the skin, make an 'X' with a knife in the bottom of each peach submerge in boiling water for 10-20 seconds. Don't leave them in too long, or you'll wind up cooking the peaches. Allow them to cool. The peel should slip off in your hand. Use a knife to pry off any skin that sticks.
- Slice peaches about 1/4 inch thick, trying to make them as uniform as possible. You can slice them thicker or even dry halves, but they will take considerably longer to dry, up to 24 hours if you're doing halves.
- Optional pre-treatment: If you wish to prevent browning, soak your peach slices for a few minutes in a bowl of 1 part lemon juice diluted in 8 parts water or in pineapple or orange juice. Drain.
- Place peach slices around the dehydrator tray, leaving room between them to allow airflow. Place skin side down when you have pieces with skin covering one side. They will be less likely to stick.
- Set dehydrator to 135 degrees and allow to run 5-6 hours.
- Oven instructions: Arrange sliced peaches on lined cookie sheets and set oven to lowest temperature, usually 150-170 degrees. You may need to leave the door open a crack to allow excess heat and moisture to escape. Check after 5 hours. You can also try slicing peaches thinner to cut drying time.
- Check your peaches for doneness. Dried peaches should feel pliable and leathery, with no soft spots where more moisture needs to be removed. If you bite into one of these spots, you'll immediately sense the difference between fully dried and still partly fresh fruit. Once you know what they look and feel like, you can tell pretty easily by touching them. Spots that need to dry further will have a lot more give to the touch.
- Take off any pieces that are fully done and return those that aren't to the dehydrator for 1-2 hour intervals until they are completely dry.
- If your dried peaches stayed in a little too long and aren't chewy enough, leaving them in a jar with the lid off should help them re-absorb some moisture from the air. Plan to eat these right away rather than store them.
- If you're not eating your dried peaches right away, once they've cooled, place in an airtight container and store in a cool, dark place.
Dried peaches should keep in an airtight container for up to a year.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: about 8 slices
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 72Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 3gSugar: 15gProtein: 2g
Nutritional information was auto-generated based on serving size, number of servings, and typical information for the ingredients listed. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, please calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients and amounts used, using your preferred nutrition calculator. Under no circumstances shall this website or author be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on the given nutritional information. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate and complete.
Pro tip if you have kids: Consider getting these fantastic videos that teach kids to cook. Katie Kimball’s “Kids Cook Real Food” series really helped engage my 7- and 9-year-old daughters, who have been only intermittently interested in helping with cooking projects.
Watching other kids learn how to use knives and other kitchen equipment noticeably helped move them forward in their cooking skills and motivated them to want to learn more. Now that they know how to chop so many fruits and vegetables, I can get some badly-needed help prepping all this fruit for the dehydrator. Check out the Kids Cook Real Food series here.
HOW TO USE DEHYDRATED PEACHES
We devour ours pretty quickly as a sweet treat in place of less healthy options. But bits of dehydrated peaches would also be a great addition to homemade granola or as a topping on chia pudding or overnight oats.
HOW LONG DO DEHYDRATED PEACHES KEEP?
If you live somewhere with long winters like I do, consider hiding a jar of dehydrated peaches from your family to keep till fresh summer fruit is a distant memory. You’ll be thrilled to bite into these chewy bits of summer on a frigid day in January.
They should keep up to a year, but I’d be very surprised if they lasted that long!
Have you tried dehydrating peaches? Leave a comment if you love them, too!
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Susannah is a proud garden geek and energy nerd who loves healthy food and natural remedies. Her work has appeared in Mother Earth Living, Ensia, Northern Gardener, Sierra, and on numerous websites. Her first book, Everything Elderberry, released in September 2020 and has been a #1 new release in holistic medicine, naturopathy, herb gardening, and other categories. Find out more and grab your copy here.