If you’re new to drying, start with the fruits you like best. Think also about how you will use your dried fruits. Peaches or pears in a tangy stewed fruit? Apples or apricots for lunch box snacks? Berries to toss into muffin or cake batters? Most fruits are easy to dry.
High-quality fruits make the best dried products. Choose firm, fully ripe fruit that is heavy for its size. Handle fruits gently and process them immediately because fruit ready for drying is very fragile. Use overripe or bruised fruits in other ways (for example, as fruit leathers).
Vegetables for drying should be fresh, tender, and just mature. Avoid immature vegetables because their color and flavor tend to be weak or poor. Also avoid excessively mature vegetables, which are inclined to be tough, woody, or fibrous. For the best quality and nutrition, dry vegetables as soon as possible after harvest.