Here are two very easy and beginner-friendly methods for drying grapefruit at home.
Drying grapefruit is a great way to use leftover fruits, or if you bought too much when it’s in season. You can also dry grapefruit if you want to use as garnish, topping or as candied dessert. This can also be a good way to store grapefruit for later use while retaining its flavor.
How to Dry Grapefruit
How to prepare grapefruit for drying
Choose a nice ripe grapefruit at the peak of its ripeness. The skin should be smooth and free of bruises or blemishes.
The following are steps to prepare your chosen grapefruits before the drying process.
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- First, clean the grapefruit under running water. This will remove any debris, dirt, or anything that can compromise the flavor or cleanliness of grapefruit after it has been dried. Never use soap when cleaning the grapefruit.
- Gently dry the grapefruit with a clean kitchen towel. Dry it as much as you can but not too hard that it bruises the surface of the fruit.
You will need to slice the fruit into thinner rounds. Each round should be at least 0.64 cm or about ¼ of an inch thick. When slicing, make sure to get uniform thickness. This is necessary so that each slice will dry evenly and properly. Thinner edges will tend to start to burn (if drying in the oven) while the thicker edge is still not properly dried.
You may also choose to dry grapefruit segments instead of rounds. Make sure that the segments are also of uniform thickness.
To make it easier for you, slice the grapefruit in rounds then cut in half for the segments.
Drying grapefruit in the oven
The oven is one of the most convenient ways to successfully dry grapefruit. Set the oven temperature to its lowest setting. Citrus fruits such as grapefruit dry best when down slowly using low temperatures.
The process is as follows…
1. Set the oven temperature
As mentioned above, set your oven to its lowest setting. On average, most ovens have the lowest temperature setting at 79°C (175°F). Resist the urge to turn up the heat to get the fruit to dry faster. This can cause poor flavor retention. Set the rack in the middle position. This will ensure that there will be even heat distribution during the drying process.
2. Prepare the pan
Use a shallow baking pan or cookie sheet. To keep the rounds from sticking to the pan, use parchment paper. Cut a length of parchment paper that matches the size of your pan. It should close fit so that none of the paper gets in touch with the oven’s heating element/s. Parchment paper will also make it much easier to remove the dried citrus afterward.
3. Arrange the grapefruit rounds
Place the sliced grapefruit rounds on the pan lined with parchment paper. Make sure that all the pieces lay flat. The slices should not be touching each other. This ensures that heat is evenly distributed around the slices for uniform drying.
DO not overcrowd the pan. Give some space in between the slices to enable uniform heat circulation during the drying process.
If the slices are very juicy, use a paper towel to blot some of the extra juices.
You can sprinkle some sugar over the grapefruit slices. This creates a shiny top on the dried fruit. This can also add some sweetness because on its own, dried grapefruit can be a bit bitter.
You can skip the sugar if you want. The fruit slices will still dry beautifully.
4. Dry grapefruit in the oven
Place the pan in the oven, on the middle rack. Putting the pan too low in the oven will burn the fruit instead of drying them.
Set the timer for 2 hours.
Check on the slices occasionally. You may rotate the pan after the 1st hour to ensure that the slices are drying uniformly. This can help, especially if you do not have a convection oven or one with a fan that distributes heat inside.
5. Flip the grapefruit slices
Oven the oven door and take the pan out, but keep the oven on. Flip the slices using a pair of tongs. Make sure the slices are flat. Maintain the space in between. Return the pan into the oven.
Set the timer for another 3 hours to complete the drying process.
6. Check for doneness
After the second timer goes off, take the fruit out of the oven. Check that the slices are indeed dry by lightly pressing your finger on top of them. If the slices are still damp or feel damp, return to the oven. Set for another 30 minutes.
Check then repeat for another 30 minutes as necessary.
Once the slices feel dry, transfer to a cooling rack.
Use a pair of tongs to transfer the slices from the pan and onto the cooling rack. Leave to cool.
Once cooled, these dried grapefruit can be eaten or used immediately. You can dip in chocolate, or use as garnish or decorations to many different dishes.
Drying grapefruit with the dehydrator
A dehydrator can make the entire process simpler and faster. To dry grapefruit in a dehydrator:
- Prepare the fruit in the same manner as described above. Slice into rounds or half-rounds. You make also remove the peel then gently separate the segments. The dehydrator can dry segments much better, with better flavor and appearance than drying in an oven.
- You can drizzle sugar over the slices or segments. You make also toss a small amount of olive oil (about 1 tablespoon or 15 mL) and some salt (about ¼ teaspoon). You can also dry the fruit without any add-ons.
- Arrange the slices or segments evenly on the dehydrator mesh sheet. No overlapping or overcrowding.
- Place in the dehydrator. Set for 6 hours at 57°C or 135°F.
- Check after 4 hours. Touch the slices to see if they still damp. Continue drying if still damp. If dried, take the slices out. Segments typically dry up to 8 hours. For slices, about 4 to 6 hours, depending on the thickness ad amount of juice in the fruit.
- Once dry, take out and cool before using. If not, you store them for future use.
How to store dried grapefruit properly
Dried grapefruit should be fully cooled before storing it. Choose a clean, airtight container. Make sure that the container is free of any moisture. Place the slices and close the lid securely.
Store in a dry, cool place.
Avoid putting the container near heat sources. Avoid getting it exposed to moisture, either. Dried grapefruit keeps well for up to 1 month if properly dried. If there is still some moisture left or if exposed to moisture, molds can grow.
If molds start to appear, dried grapefruit is no longer safe to eat. Throw it out and just make another batch.