A couple of days ago I posted about how I’ve been busy putting up the harvest. There has been a lot of great conversation in the comments on that post. Kimberly in particular had a couple of questions regarding dehydrating.
As I told her, I always assume if one person actually takes the time to ask a question there are probably 3 or 4 out there with similar questions who just don’t ask. So I’m pulling her questions out so you can all see them and share your own answers and experiences with dehydrating.
I just yanked out my dehydrator from storage I got for a wedding present years ago and never used. How did you dehydrate the frozen veggies? Did you thaw them first or just put in frozen? I like the thought of canning and dehydrating better then freezing because of power outages. Do you have a recipe site you go to or something else you use? I lost my directions to my dehydrator.
First of all, I was incredibly flattered that my post had inspired Kimberly to try dehydrating! I’m very new to it myself, but it seems like a great way to preserve food for the long term with minimal hands on time and without a power requirement to keep it preserved (like in freezing). (note: obviously you do use power for the time it takes to run the dehydrator, but after that you are home free!)
Dehydrating the frozen veggies was an experiment for me. It was already past harvest time for things like corn, peppers and peas here when I borrowed the Excalibur dehydrator from my lovely church friend. I wanted to experiment with USING dehydrated vegetables to see if the rather high cost of the dehydrator was worthwhile in my particular case. So I purchased the frozen veggies on sale and poured them, still completely frozen, onto the drying racks and popped them in the dehydrator right before bed and let it run overnight.
The result was great! I immediately rehydrated some of the corn to check it out (sorry, no pictures–I’ll be doing a more in depth post in the future).
One tip I read somewhere (and I’m sorry I can’t give credit, I read so much I can’t remember where I got this) but to ensure that your food is fully dehydrated take a couple of pieces hot out of the dehydrator and put them in a small zippered sandwich baggie for a few minutes. If moisture collects on the inside of the bag then the items are not fully dehydrated! Since I’m paranoid about them not being fully done this tip really boosted my confidence level.
As for information there are some great sources out there I’ve been using:
The Backpacking Chef has fantastic tutorials on dehydrating food. He dehydrates to have low cost, low weight, high nutrition food available when he backpacks, but his tutorials work for anyone preparing dehydrated food. Kimberly will find his section on dehydrating vegetables especially useful-he specifically talks about using frozen vegetables!
If you are more of a visual person then Dehydrate 2 Store is great. Some of her videos are a bit long, but she goes into great detail about how to prepare food (some things need to be blanched, others not), dehydrate it, store it and even use it for cooking! Her video is where I got the idea to take my winter squash (she used pumpkin), cook it, mash it, and then dehydrate it on a sheet. She then powdered hers in a food processor and used the powder to make PUMPKIN PIE!!!
So what about the rest of you? Do any of you dehydrate? What are your favorite resources? Do you have any tips?
Personally something I’m interested in researching (and then convincing Yankee Bill to make for me! Is a solar dehydrator so that in the heat of the summer I don’t have to use any heat or electricity at all!
Jen, your timing as always, is impeccable!
30 minutes ago I was checking prices on food dehydrators! I’m looking at one for making dehydrating fruits & berries for trail mixes and salads (the store bought ones are full of preservatives and lord knows what chemicals) as well as for making jerky. And your dehydrating post popped up in my Google Reader just now.
Looking forward to reading more of your dehydrator experiments and adventures 🙂
Thank you for the info. I’m also looking forward to your future posts on this topic. I’ve tried making kale chips in the oven, but that is different since it involves some oil and spices, not just dehydration.