For suggestions for specific fruits and vegetables, see the drying guidelines beginning on page
Gently wash all fruits in cold water just before drying to remove dirt, bacteria, and insects. Thoroughly wash fruits that have skins you will not peel off, such as cherries and prunes. Do not soak fruit because extended soaking can cause nutrient loss and waterlog the fruit, which increases drying times.
Remove fruit stems and peels. Peels may be left on some fruits, such as apples and peaches, but they may become bitter or discolor during drying. Core or pit the fruit and cut it into uniform halves, quarters, or slices. Trim away diseased or soft spots.
Wash vegetables in cold water just before drying. If vegetables are covered with soil, wash them under clean running water to prevent the dirt from resettling on the food. Do not allow vegetables to soak in water.
Most vegetables should be peeled and trimmed then cut, sliced, or shredded into uniform pieces. Although peeling some vegetables such as young zucchini and well-washed carrots is optional, unpeeled vegetables tend to be tougher when dried. Remove fibrous or woody portions and damaged areas. You can prepare pieces with a food slicer or food processor.