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Monday, April 5, 2010

Dehydrating

I was blogging about wanting to try dehydrating foods last summer. I am a frugal shopper.( ok I 'm cheap!) I had been looking for a dehydrator at a thrift store and just never found one ( still haven't) Well, my mom apparently reads my blog. I got a package out of the blue last summer. A Nesco American Harvestor Pro. I love my mom!!

I began drying everything I could think of. I made a few mistakes along the way, but that's how you learn! Imagine my surprise this Christmas when the package arrived and there were 8 more trays and 5 more each of fruit roll up trays and mesh net!

Dehydrating is a great way to preserve food for long term storage. And if you have a vacuum sealer they will store even longer, as moisture is the main reason for spoilage. I vacuum my dried food in canning jars.

One of the first mistakes I made was with drying potato's. I now know that they should be cooked first. Most veggies need to be blanched before drying. Dehydrating isn't exact science. Its easy, but you might have to play around a bit to see if you need to dry foods longer. Sometimes you might just need to make thinner slices. Oh, and the higher the water content of your fruits or veggies the larger you can cut them as they will shrink more during the process.

Lots of fruits can be dried easily. With some like apples or bananas they should be "treated" first. Rinsing them in a lemon water mix will help keep them from turning brown. Dried fruit is a nice addition to oatmeal and works well in store bought cereals as well. My niece gives dried apple rings to her baby to help with his teething. Kids LOVE fruit roll-ups and they are easy easy to make.
For those of you lucky enough to have strawberries,raspberries, blue berries and such- they dry well too!

Did you know you can dehydrate spaghetti sauce? And tomato sauce? Just think of the possibilities! Its alot easier to store spaghetti in a small baggie that that big bulky can and it rehydrates just fine.

The easiest fruits and vegetables to dry are apples, bananas, berries, cherries, peaches, apricots, pears, peas, corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, potatoes, mushrooms, green beans and carrots.

Dehydrating is a great way to save money too! I caught a deal on ten pound bags of potato's for $1.89 a bag. That's half price in my neck of the woods! Well, it is really difficult for the two of us to eat that many potato's before they start to go bad. But with my dehydrator I was able to take advantage of the sale and increase my food preps.
We use alot of onions around here so when I caught them on sale for $0.49 lb I jumped all over it. That week I dried 10 pounds of onions. If you have ever seen the sticker price on a jar of chopped dried onions you know why this one makes sense! For $2.00 I ended up with 3 of the larger size containers they come in. You know, the ones that cost about $4.00 each?
One tip about drying onions ( and hot Peppers) DO IT OUTSIDE! The smell is overpowering. As a matter of fact, onions and peppers are the reason I am still looking for a second dehydrator.

One last thing ... this is one of the best sites I have found on dehydrating. http://www.dehydrate2store.com

3 comments:

Gen-IL Homesteader said...

What a sweet mom you have!!! I've been using my dehydrator more and more lately, too. I'm cheap, too (and proud of it!:)) and I've dehydrated lots of clearance apples and sale bananas lately! You know, we grow berries here, but I always freeze my leftovers. I've never thought about dehydrating, but that would be another great way to save freezer space! Thanks for the tip! How do you prepare the taters and how do you reuse them after rehydrating?

SciFiChick said...

Tell ya what Gen- I'll do a post about it for ya. Thanks, I needed some ideas!

Gen-IL Homesteader said...

Yay! Thanks! Plus, I need more ideas of what to dehydrate and what to do with stuff! Win-Win!

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