We had the most fun with this category, slicing and dicing anything we could get our hands on. Our favorite combination? Sliced broccoli, purple and yellow cauliflower and mushrooms.
Heat oven to 200°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash or wipe clean vegetables, discarding any pieces that are bruised or over-ripe. Core if necessary, then slice or cut into uniform pieces. Toss in a bowl with a bit of olive oil, just to coat, and a good sprinkling of kosher or flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Throw in some chopped herbs, if desired.
Cook, turning vegetables and rotating trays every 30 minutes until dried, 2 to 4 hours.
We think oven drying works well on any fresh herb, but hearty varieties such as rosemary, sage, lavender and thyme work especially well. Heat oven to 150°. Sort through herbs, discarding any discolored or dead leaves. Remove leaves from the stems if desired and arrange herbs in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Don’t crowd the sheet—use a second if necessary. Cook for 30 minutes. Rotate baking sheet and continue to cook until leaves are completely dried, rotating baking sheets every half hour, 2 to 4 hours total. Let herbs cool completely before grinding or packaging.
Tips for Fruit
• Select fruit that is ripe, but not overripe, and free of bruises.
• Oven drying can turn even the blandest of supermarket tomatoes into a flavor-packed treat.
• Don’t crowd the baking sheet or the fruit will steam instead of dry.
• To better preserve the color of oven-dried fruits, use this citrus dip: Combine 1 cup fresh pineapple or orange juice, 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon honey and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Toss with fruit before drying.