I am about to encourage you to use your microwave for a lot longer than you ever have before—and about 30 minutes beyond your comfort zone.
But hear me out.
Instead of buying a fancy fruit dehydrator or spending all of your money on the packages of unsweetened dried mango from Trader Joe's (don't pretend you don't do that), you can dehydrate fruit in the microwave.
Dried mango, made in the microwave.
Yes, it takes a looooong time (I dehydrated apples, pears, and mango, and each took between 30 and 45 minutes). And while I, too, am a little skeeved out by blitzing food for that long, my love of dried fruit overcame any discomfort.
Because what happens is kind of amazing. Put your sliced fruit in the microwave, check back some time later, and you'll have pieces that are somewhere between fruit leather and apple chips in texture. Soft and gummy in some places, dry and crispy in others, they will satisfy your desires for fruit roll-ups.
Yes, I made these dried pears in the microwave, too.
Here's how I did it:
1. Cut the fruit into thin slices. There's no need to use a mandoline, though if you want consistency, I'm sure it won't hurt. I will say that the thinner pieces—the slices I practically shaved off the fruit—stuck to the microwave surface. The thick pieces, as I'm sure you'd imagine, were squishier and gummier when they came out of the microwave (which was not something I minded!). Basically, try to get thin slices, but don't go crazy.
2. Wash and dry the rotating plate of the microwave, as you'll be placing your fruit directly onto it. If you have a microwave-safe silicone mat, like a Silpat, you can use that (though it might not fit nicely into your microwave).
3. Put the fruit slices onto the microwave plate, giving them some breathing room (at least an inch or two).
4. Set the timer for 30 minutes!
5. But not so fast! Make sure you're using the "defrost" setting. Below is a picture of what happened to my mango slices when I accidentally zapped them on the regular microwave setting (for just a couple of minutes):
Don't let this happen to you! Use the "defrost" setting only.
6. Check back 30 minutes later and flip the fruit (be careful: It'll be hot!). It might be finished, or it might use a few minutes if you're finding that it's really moist. While the sliced apple needed only between 30 and 33 minutes, both the pear and the mango (juicier fruits!) needed closer to 45.
Apple slices after 30 minutes. Some slices started to brown more quickly than others.
7. Transfer the fruit to a cooling rack. If it's still not as crisp as you'd like, you can dehydrate it further in a low temperature (200° to 275° F) oven. Since I prefer my fruit with a little bit of give and chew, I left it as is.
8. Admire what your microwave has done for you, and answer "yes" to this question.
Would you try dehydrating fruit in the microwave or does it make you uncomfortable? Speak your mind in the comments below.