Friday, August 16, 2013

Dehydrating 101

Today's guest author is Chrystal from Self Sufficient Mom blog. She is a law enforcement wife and stay at home mom of 4. Living on an urban ranch with more animals than she cares to count. She loves to learn the many ways of being self-sufficient. Teaches horseback riding lessons to both the young & old and is a novice soap maker. Check out her Facebook page over at Desert Mountain Soaps!

She has generously agreed to share some of her tips and tricks on dehydrating fruits & veggies with us! 

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Is it hard to dehydrate your own food? No! It’s super easy & rewarding.

How long does it take? Typically about 8 hours but can be more or less depending on temperature of hydrator & thickness of food.



Dehydrating fruits & veggies can be a great way to use any excess you may have from gardening or a great sale. Fruits can be eaten like fruit snacks or candy! Veggies can be rehydrated to use in recipes. There are as many types of dehydrators out there as there are fruit to be dried. The best ones will have an adjustable thermostat; although convenient it is not a necessity.

Ok to begin, select the fruit or veggie you desire to dehydrate. Wash & prepare that fruit as if you were going to eat it now. For example if you peel it before eating it do that now.

The key to successful dehydrating is not to cut your fruit or veggies too thick or too thin. I find that about 3/16 of an inch to be ideal. Now, I do not expect you to measure each piece to be completely accurate. Eyeballing it turns out just fine. You can also use a mandolin with adjustable thickness settings to make slicing easier. If it is something that has the potential to brown (ie: bananas, apples, pears, peaches, etc.) make sure you treat it with some lemon juice or citric acid to prevent the browning.

Now that you are all sliced up and ready to go, pull out the trays to your dehydrator and load them up with food. Make sure none of the slices are touching because that can cause them to stick together when they are finished. Once all your food is loaded place the trays back on the dehydrator and plug it in. Adjust any temps or time settings & let it be.

After about 4-5 hours I usually check to see how things are going & remove any thinner pieces that are finished already. You want it to be firm but not crispy for fruit. Veggies can be crispy as you will add water to them to rehydrate them. If there are any soft spots that means there is still water in the food. You want the water to be dehydrated out, so let it stay in if you find any soft spots. I also like to flip the food as it’s going, but that is not necessary, I’m a control freak. LOL

Here is a time chart I found on Discount Juicers.

FRUITS
Apples
7-15 hours
Apricots
20-28 hours
Bananas
6-10 hours
Berries
10-15 hours
Cherries
13-21 hours
Cranberries
10-12 hours
Figs
22-30 hours
Grapes
22-30 hours
Kiwi
7-15 hours
Nectarines
8-16 hours
Peaches
8-16 hours
Pears
8-16 hours
Persimmons
11-19 hours
Pineapple
10-18 hours
Prune Plums
22-30 hours
Rhubarb
6-10 hours
Strawberries
7-15 hours
Watermelon
8-10 hours
VEGETABLES
Asparagus
5-6 hours
Beans, Green or Wax
8-12 hours
Beets
8-12 hours
Broccoli
10-14 hours
Cabbage
7-11 hours
Carrots
6-10 hours
Celery
3-10 hours
Corn
6-10 hours
Cucumber
4-8 hours
Eggplant
4-8 hours
Greens
3-7 hours
Mushrooms
3-7 hours
Okra
4-8 hours
Onions
4-8 hours
Parsnips
7-11 hours
Peas
4-8 hours
Peppers / Hot Peppers
4-8 hours
Popcorn
4-8 hours
potatoes
6-14 hours
pumpkin
7-11 hours
Summer Squash
10-14 hours
Tomatoes
5-9 hours
Turnips
8-12 hours
Winter Squash
7-11 hours
Yams
7-11 hours
Zucchini
7-11 hours
OTHER
Leather & Fruit Rolls
4-6 hours
Jerky
4-6 hours
Fish Jerky
12-14 hours
Herbs & Spices
2-4 hours
Nuts
10-14 hours
Recrisping
1 hour


Once your food is done just place in a Ziploc bag & keep in a cool dry place. You can also can the dried food so it will last longer or to add to your food storage.
  

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