Dehydrating is the process of removing water using the sun or a machine, whereas drying happens naturally. At least that is how we see it.
Dehydrated and dried foods store longer than canned goods, and are nutritionally and visually more like the original state when rehydrated.
On the down side, they can take more time to prepare.
There is likely not a single food item that cannot be dehydrated. Some might say watermelon is the exception, but we have done it and although it is a sticky process, it was a wonderful treat.
If you are new to this method, consider getting or borrowing a good book on the subject. Social media groups are also a wonderful source of practical advice.
Here are a few lists to get you started on these wonderful ways to store food:
|Dry Beans||Let dry on the plant or shell and dry on a paper plate.|
|Field or Popcorn||Allow to dry on the stalk or in an airy place after drying has begun.|
|Citrus Peels||Chop and let sit for 24 hours then grind to a powder.|
|Herbs||Hang inverted in a paper bag until dry. Note Basil turns an off color.|
|Hot Peppers||Pull thread through stem with a needle and hang to dry.|
DEHYDRATING, No Prep Needed (Other than washing of course.)
|Grated horseradish||Use caution. Really.|
|Celery Leaves||Make a wonderful powder.|
|Mushrooms||These dehydrate great. Even if you don't grow them buy them on sale.|
|Garlic||Make your own garlic powder|
|Okra||Grind to use as a thickener.|
|Cucumber||Grind to a powder for smoothies or salad dressing.|
|Pineapple||Great in trail mix.|
|Grapes||We didn't think these were worth the effort personally.|
The majority of veggies need to be blanched, that is, dropped briefly into boiling water, before dehydrating. Generally the amount of time depends on the size and thickness of the veggie, but this is a generalization.The longest time is for sliced potatoes, 7 minutes; most everything else 4-6 minutes.
Beets should be cooked first and peeled, than you are good to go. Likewise, dropping tomatoes into boiling water for a few minutes then is icy water will help crack the skins. Then just slice and dehydrate.
Fruits others than the ones listed will need to be dipped in orange or lemon juice to prevent discoloration.
You can dehydrate pumpkin to use as a flour, and likewise other veggies, like our cauliflower breadcrumbs.
Our 1 exception to all this is onions. We prefer to roast both the green tops and the chopped bulbs over low heat in an iron skillet.
Read more on the blog here.