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Can a consumer safely dry apples in a back car window on a sunny day?

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Drying apples in the back of her car is technically an alternative to sun drying. Sun drying is a good option if you have many consecutive days with temperatures ranging in the 90s, relatively low humidity, and low air pollution levels. Sun dried fruit should be placed in direct sunlight for the first two or three days of drying. After that, the fruit can be placed in the shade. Food that would be dried in a dehydrator or oven in 6 to 8 hours can take up to 4 or 5 days in the sun. The drying food must be covered with protective screening, nylon netting, or cheesecloth. Sulfuring the fruit also helps deter insects. Good air circulation is just as important as sun. Freezing dried fruit significantly extends its shelf life. For example, at cool temperatures (34 F) apples have a shelf life of between 18 to 24 months. Whereas, in the freezer (0 F) apples have a shelf life of 5 to 8 years.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, NC State University in July 2004

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