from the January 1985 "Drying Times"

by Barb Moody

It is easy to use dried fruit in recipes that call for fresh or frozen fruit. Follow these simple guidelines to insure perfect results every time.

In general, use half as much dried fruit as you would fresh. Since dried fruit does not pack as well as fresh fruit, be generous with your measurements. (Use "heaping" portions.)

For most recipes, fruit that is used has very little extra water in its fresh form. When substituting dried fruit in these recipes, reconstitute the fruit using equal parts of liquid and fruit.

For recipes calling for fruit in sauces (compotes, dumplings, toppings, etc.), use twice as much liquid as fruit.

Instead of using water to reconstitute fruit, substitute a complimentary fruit juice. This not only enhances the flavor but it adds sweetness thus reducing the amount of extra sweetener needed.

If there is excess liquid after fruit is reconstituted, drain it off but don't throw it away. Try to reuse it as part of the liquid used in the recipe. For instance, many recipes call for milk. Substitute evaporated or dry milk and use excess liquid to make the milk.

Fruit will reconstitute faster in hot liquids or if simmered. If you prefer not to cook or heat fruit, it should be soaked for several hours or overnight. Using a tightly sealed container that can be shaken or turned over, helps to mix fruit with water.

The smaller the pieces of fruit, the faster it will reconstitute. Shredded fruit will dehydrate quickly, usually in 15 minutes or so. Diced fruit will usually take 2 or 3 hours. Whole fruit should be allowed to soak overnight.