Dried Fruit Production: What is the Process of Drying Fruit? | Sunrise Fresh

Dried Fruit Production: What is the Process of Drying Fruit? | Sunrise Fresh

Dried fruits are popular as snacks and as part of a wholesome healthy nutrition plan. They are also in high demand from chefs, bakers, and cooks who use them in many of their edible creations. While many of us have tried to use a home dehydrator, it is time-consuming and sometimes not as affordable as we would have hoped. This is where Sunrise Fresh comes in. With our  unique drying process,  we are able to provide consumers, stores and food manufacturers with delicious, highly nutritious dried fruit products that you can use in your home  and commercial food producers can use in their manufacturing processes.

The Dried Fruit Process

At our facilities in Northern California, we use top-notch drying equipment that allows us to extract as much moisture as possible without taking away from the fruit's natural goodness. The drying process that is used is only as good as the fruits that are harvested and at Sunrise Fresh, we procure all of our fruits from producers in California, Oregon, and Washington State, where they are harvested at the peak of ripeness. Every step of the process is closely monitored so that the end product meets or exceeds the highest standards of the industry.

Choosing the Right Fruits

Almost any type of fruit can be dried; from the largest to the smallest, they can all be put through a drying process. There are several different processes involving exposing the fruit to dried heated air, being exposed to the sun directly and some are also dehydrated through a ‘freeze dried’ method.  It's important to choose the right fruits, so that taste and texture are maintained during whatever process is used. Although fruits used for drying (or freezing…)  may not ‘look’ as nice as the fresh fruits you see in your produce aisles, they meet all of the other criteria for taste, nutrition, and safety. Fruits that don't cut the quality standard will not be put through the drying process. All Sunrise Fresh fruits must pass strict inspections to ensure quality on every level including, taste, texture, color, and freshness.

Whole Fruits, Sliced, Diced, or Pureed

The way fruits are dried will depend on their size and texture. Berries, for example, are small enough that they may be dried whole. Apples and pears, on the other hand, are rather thick and won't dry properly unless they are sliced. Slicing and dicing fruits for drying makes them the ideal size and texture for certain recipes. There are also some fruits that can be pureed and blended together to create fruit leathers. No matter how they are dried, many of the fruits are processed in much the same manner.

All dried fruits can also be reconstituted, if needed, by soaking in warm water or cooking them in the same. This is a method sometimes used by chefs to create intensely flavored sauces -without having to cook them down or reduce them.  It also allows year-round access to the flavors of the fruits long after the harvest is done.

Fruits Must Be Properly Prepared

The first step after harvest is for the fresh fruits to be inspected and graded.  “Grade’ refers to size, shape, and presentation all regulated by the USDA.  There may be many ‘grades’ of fruit in one large bin and so sorting of the fresh fruit is required.  This takes place by using electronic sorting equipment that inspects the physical appearance, size, and color of the fruit, and of course a final once over by hand with humans looking at each piece of fruit.

Most fruits are dried and consumed with their peels left on. This is advantageous as the peels retain many nutrients and vitamins - as well as being a great source of fiber.  Most stone fruits, such as peaches, and apricots will have their ‘pits’ removed before drying. The next step is to slice or dice the fruit so that it dries quickly. Smaller fruits can be dried whole, cut in half, or quartered.

Drying Times

Every fruit has its own drying time. This will depend on the size of the fruit and its overall denseness. Most commercial dryers use a temperature that ranges from 125 to 140 (can be above 140, less than that is considered “gently dried) degrees Fahrenheit. If being dried by sunlight, the process may take several weeks. With controlled air drying, the temperature can be adjusted as needed to achieve the desired result. At Sunrise Fresh, we control our air drying systems of all our fruits to a specific percentage of moisture, depending upon whether they are to be used in consumer packaged goods, in baking and cooking - or, our favorite, enrobed in chocolate!

Sunrise Fresh Dried Fruits

Sunrise Fresh is an industry leader when it comes to the highest quality dried fruit products. The company's drying process is second to none when it comes to providing the freshest, highest-quality dried fruits available. They make one solemn guarantee to every one of their customers. They will always receive Just Fruit and Nothing Else! Shop our fruits in convenient consumer re-sealable bags on Amazon, purchase Foodservice and bulk boxes up to 200lbs in our Webstore here, or for larger, industrial quantities, contact us for wholesale pricing and quotes!