dehydrating fruits and veggies

Discussion in 'Fruit and Veg Gardening' started by PepperDude, Oct 25, 2008.

  1. PepperDude

    PepperDude In Flower

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    Does anyone here do this? I just bought a dehydrator and was wondering if anyone else dries the fruits and veggies this way?
     



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  2. eileen

    eileen Resident Taxonomist Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    I've never used one myself Richard but would love to hear all about them. Are they easy to use and economical to buy? Are there any drawbacks with using dehydrators? I look forward to learning all about them. :stew1:
     
  3. Public Designs

    Public Designs Seedling

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    I do not have one but I have a friend who dehydrates a lot of things including beef jerky. He does his in the oven however not in a machine like you have. I would like to hear also how easy it is. They make it look very easy to do on TV
     
  4. glendann

    glendann Official Garden Angel

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    I have never used one or attempted to use one.
     
  5. petunia

    petunia Young Pine

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    I have a dehydrator. Don't use it very often. But when I do, I cut up apples, strawberries, bannanas, pineapple. These will last for about a day, my kids will scarf it down about as fast as its finished. Never tried vege's or beef jerky though. I did blend up blueberries and spread it out to have blueberry roll up. I guess I should use it more then what I do since my kids will eat up the pineapple,bananas, & apple,
     
  6. dooley

    dooley Super Garden Turtle

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    I have one that I used to dry vegetables for soup. I have dried celery, peppers, carrot slices and onion. I guess it could be used for garlic, too. You have to watch it close at the end to make sure it's dry but not browned. I browned a lot of celery to learn that bit. Fruit is a bit harder because you don't want it to dry crunchy like the vegetables. I have a book on it and instructions come with the dehydrator. Mostly it takes a bit of practice and a willingness to experiment with times and fruit and vegetables. But, it does make good soup vegetables. dooley
     
  7. gardenmama

    gardenmama In Flower

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    I have a dehydrator and use it to dry my hot peppers so that I can grind them up. I also use it for herbs. The best thing is to cut apples and bananas, slice them thin and make yummy snacks.
     
  8. EJ

    EJ Allotmenteer Extraordinaire

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    I want one and one is on my wish list if Santa happens to be listening. I use the oven set very low and have dried tomatos, apple rings and have made fruit leather which is delish, and yes, none of it lasts terribly long as it is just so nice.
     
  9. weeds n seeds

    weeds n seeds Seedling

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    You'll find your dehydrator indispensible once you begin using it as just about anything can be dried/stored for future. The round ones, with heat control, are the best: they allow the warm air to circulate up, thru and around the products on trays then exit thru hole in top. This is reason why racks should NOT be tightly packed and spaces left for air to "surround" cut up veggies, etc..
    Some produce has a tendency to discolor soon after being sliced for dehydration: bananas and apples are notorious for this. Problem can be resolved by soaking fresh cut slices in a lemon juice and water solution for several minutes before placing on trays.
    Local humidity plays a large part in drying time you'll find. In very humid country, the process will take a bit longer while in dry country the time may be almost cut in half. Regardless, always set your heat at the recommended temp for what you're processing, especially herbs. Check every few hours to rotate trays if need be, switch the bottom one to top and vice versa.
    If you have "fruit rollup" liners for trays, this is something to try: when canning tomatoes, save the excess juice that's squeezed from them, add herbs and spices for flavoring then let mixture cook down to a rather thick consistency (an added can of tomato paste helps if juice is real runny, or the addition of several plum tomatoes). Let cool; pour into fruit rollup liners already placed on trays, and dehydrate. Follow roll up directions for removing from trays and store: you now will have instant flavoring for soups and stews!
    For a REAL eye opener, try dehydrating rhubarb when in season. First, remove the outer skin; cut in 2 inch lengths (split the stalk if overly large); soak in a mixture of sugar and water before placing on trays, and let 'er go on high heat. When done, pieces will look exactly like little STICKS and will taste about the same way for 8 seconds when placed in the mouth. THEN there's a flavor explosion that'll pop the eyes of everyone that tries the product!
    Thanksgiving is coming (here in the States), celery will be on sale..and what do you do with excess celery? Cut it up and dehydrate it, leaves and all. Cabbage is another "sale" item at certain times of the year, dehydrates beautifully! Any fruit or vegetable (on sale) can be purchased then and dried. If it sounds like WORK, it's not: dehydrating, I believe, is the easiest way of ALL to preserve food and keep the nutrients intact. (With any produce, it's a very good idea to give them a bath of water plus 3-4 tablespoons of Baking Soda added to remove chemicals and pesticides before cutting up for dehydration.)
    I've had my dehydrator 15 years (is a wonder it still works!) and it's in use every summer, sometimes inbetween seasons..there isn't anything you can't dry! Hope you enjoy yours as much as I have mine, and don't be afraid to try differant things..you'll be amazed!
     
  10. bunkie

    bunkie Young Pine

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    wow weeds n seeds, you covered just about everything i dehydrate and the preparations! i have had my same dehydrator for 15 plus years! i wanted to mention cabbage also. after dehydrating it, i use it in soups and stews, and it tastes so fresh, like you just picked it from your garden! broccoli is the same.

    i have a bunch of plums dehydrating now. they are great snacks too like the apples and pears. also, later they can be reconstituted for eating or making jam, etc...

    garlic dries beautifully and makes a great powder. this is the first year i tried dehydrating my hot peppers instead of stringing them. works great! onions too! as well as making powders out of these things, i also learned to powder regular veggies for flavoring dishes. tomatoes, celery, cabbage, everything can be powdered and so easy to use.

    i am definitely going to try your rhubarb sticks weeds n seeds! sounds wonderful! now i can't wait for spring...and it just started snowing...
     
  11. Palm Tree

    Palm Tree Young Pine

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    OOh I could definitely live with a dehydrator. I think it should go on my wishlist. 8)
     
  12. travelingbooklover

    travelingbooklover In Flower

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    I haven't tried using a dehydrator but after reading the posts, I am going to add it to my wish list. I dry tomatoes in the sun as I love sun dried tomatoes and they can be pricey. I either store them in very good virgin olive oil or in the veggie drawer in my fridge.
     
  13. EJ

    EJ Allotmenteer Extraordinaire

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    Dear Santa, now I know I asked for a bread maker and an ice cream maker....but what about a dehydrator instead?
    love Emma