Syrup blanching fruit before dehydration works as an excellent preservative, and the blanching also relaxes the surface tissue in the fruit, making dehydration and rehydration a faster process. Syrup blanching fruit will result in a much sweeter, dessert-like candied fruit, and is not the healthiest of options for individuals seeking to restrict calories or keep blood glucose levels down. On the other side of the coin, this may be just what long-distance backpackers and individuals wanting to pack calorie dense foods into the backcountry are looking for.
Dehydrated fruits are prone to spoilage when not kept chilled. This can be problematic for long-distance backpackers who sometimes need to store food caches unrefrigerated for several months or more. Syrup blanching can help improve shelf life of some fruits, and is a good alternative to sulfites for sensitive individuals.
Syrup blanching works best for berries, apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, figs, plums, and apricots.
Directions for syrup blanching
- Dissolve 1 cup of corn syrup and 1 cup of sugar in 2 cups of water in a large saucepan.
- Bring to a boil.
- Submerge the prepared fruit in the syrup (use a stainless-steel blanching basket), and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Remove fruit from the syrup and rinse lightly in cool water.
- Transfer the fruit to dehydrator trays and dry as directed.