Sulfite dip has long been used to prevent discoloration and spoilage of dried fruits and is considered a safe practice by the FDA for individuals who do not have sulfite sensitivities. Sulfites are strong antioxidants and are found on nearly all commercially dried fruits and are also present in most wine.
Some individuals have unpleasant reactions to sulfites with a wide-range of symptoms and the FDA estimates that sensitive individuals make up around 1% of the population (for more info on sulfite sensitivities, check out this article). If you have sensitivity to sulfites or simply wish to avoid them altogether, consider using an alternative method to prevent browning in your dried fruit:
Alternatives to sulfites for preventing discoloration and oxidation of fruits in drying:
If you're in the 99%, then sulfites are one of the most effective methods for extending the shelf life of dried fruits.
Sulfite dips can be purchased from any home-brewing or wine making supply store, and can be readily found on Amazon.com. You can use sodium bisulfite, sodium sulfite, or sodium meta-bisulfite.
Here you can find inexpensive sulfite products on Amazon:
Directions to use sulfite dips:
- Dissolve 1 teaspoon of sodium bisulfite (or sodium metabisulfite) in 1 quart of tepid water. If using sodium sulfite, double the amount used to 2 teaspoons per quart of water.
- Completely submerge the prepared fruit in the sulfite dip -- 5 minutes for slices, and 15 minutes for larger, halved fruits.
- Drain the fruit and place in drying racks.
- Discard the sulfite dip solution after it has been used once. Do not reuse.