When I was still living in a studio apartment, I once wrote on a social media post that I couldn’t afford a dehydrator. That wasn’t strictly true, as dehydrators are not actually that expensive. I could have bought one for less than $100, that’s a fact. Less by a lot if I tried to find a used one.

But when I wrote that I couldn’t afford one, I wasn’t actually talking about money. I lived in a studio apartment. I couldn’t afford the space even a small dehydrator would take up. Our shelving units that comprised kitchen storage were already quite full with the kitchen equipment that we already had.

And now that that excuse is no longer viable, we did finally go ahead and get a dehydrator. So far, I’m the only one who has used it. I took some Granny Smith applesauce that I’d made and converted it to fruit leather. The applesauce has a distinct advantage in being dehydrated, in that it has already lost a good deal of its water. I don’t actually need to use the fruit leather tray, because the applesauce won’t drip over the sides of the parchment paper lined tray (not the way I make it, anyway).

I experimented with three different techniques to see if there were advantages. I used parchment paper in all three – one with the fruit leather tray, one with the plastic mesh plus the metal tray, and one with just the metal tray. It turned out I liked the metal tray’s results best, though the differences weren’t huge. The fruit leather tray definitely took longer to dry, which the manual had led me to expect.

And, after mentioning my fruit leather adventures to a friend, I also tried a different way to spread it. For my experiments, I’d just scooped some onto the parchment paper and then tried to spread evenly. My friend suggested piping the applesauce into rounds. I didn’t care for the rounds part, but I did like the idea of piping. I had just enough applesauce left for one more experiment. . .

Turns out piping the applesauce allows me to do a much more even layer, though I need to be more careful the next time I do it. I had a couple of high spots on this first go around that took a very long time to dry out. But every time I do it, I learn a bit more and improve my technique. Oh, and not only is the fruit leather delicious, but the kitchen smells great when the machine is running. I’ll probably have to use the fruit leather tray if I do a fresh fruit puree, but maybe the solution is just to “sauce” my fruit before I dehydrate it.

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