Food Storage Quick Tip #11 : Non-stick dehydrator sheets work in the freezer too.
Every weekday morning I make a couple smoothies for breakfast. My husband drinks his as he travels to work and I drink mine as I plan my day. That means that we go through quite a bit of frozen fruit and it can get expensive.
Since I’m always looking for ways to save a few bucks in the grocery budget I like to buy fresh fruit when it’s on sale and freeze it. This week I purchased 2 pineapples and 1 melon for $5.36, and now I have enough fruit to last us for a few weeks. This is a 50% savings over purchasing bagged fruit in the grocer freezer.
Perfecting my technique
For the longest time, I cut up the fruit and laid it out flat on baking sheets, making sure that the fruit doesn’t touch. This is the accepted way to freeze fruit so you can grab a handful and not have it all stuck together in a big block.
One day I decided to try layering my fruit in a clear dollar store tub. Why not? We have a bunch of them around the house and it’s more compact than cooking sheets. The tubs have proved easier to handle and if you have limited freezer space this may be the only way you can get any quantity of fruit frozen.
The first time I tried my new layering technique I used tin foil.
It worked pretty well but did tend to tear as I was removing the frozen fruit. I knew the concept was a keeper though, and this was my plan for the next few batches.
Next, I tried wax paper – but that was a disaster…the paper completely tears when it gets even a little wet.
Finally, I tried plastic wrap, but it doesn’t really like to be frozen either. The plastic tends to rip as you remove the fruit. Still workable but just not quite right.
Dehydrator sheets are the answer
Then I received some Non-stick Dehydrator Sheets (Amazon) to try with my dehydrator. These work really well for making fruit leather and dehydrating other foods that may stick to the racks. I learned how important these sheets can be when I ruined a batch of strawberries last summer.
For this project you will need:
- 1 plastic tub that fits in your freezer
- Fresh fruit of choice
- Nonstick dehydrator sheets, cut down to fit in your tub
- Cutting board and knife
Place a sheet in the bottom of your tub and begin layering the cut fruit. You can pack it close together, even touching in some places.
Add a non-stick dehydrator sheet between each layer until the tub is full. I placed a sheet on the top and then used the tub lid to secure the whole thing.
No fruit is actually touching the plastic tub, only the dehydrator sheets. Once the fruit is frozen – 4 to 6 hours, or overnight – begin removing the fruit by pulling up the dehydrator sheets.
You will be surprised how easy it is to remove the frozen fruit and I can tell you it’s a huge improvement compared to using foil or plastic wrap. This is my tried and true way to freeze fruit for smoothies from here on out!
What about you — Do you have a time-saving way to prepare your fruit for freezing?
These 14″x14″ dehydrator sheets are easy to clean and dishwasher safe. The sheets are super flexible and perfect for fruit leather and roll-ups plus I’m sure I can come up with more ways to use it.
These reusable sheets can be used with any dehydrator and especially fit the Excalibur dehydrator. They also make great liners for your baking pans and are oven safe. Teflon coated and BPA free.
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