My dehydrator has become an essential kitchen item for me.
What started as an experimental gadget with the possibility of making homemade jerky became an important tool when preparing for camping trips. Instead of buying expensive freeze-dried meals, I dehydrate my own. So far I have dehydrated my pureed black beans, Mexican rice, peppers, tomatoes, and enchilada sauce for camping. I’ve also used the dehydrator to make sweet potato chips and fruit leather slices as go-to snacks. I’ve even used it to dry out the spent grain post brewing beer to make delicious flour for making bread.
After using the dehydrator for months, I have discovered some tips and tricks to make it even easier to perfect dehydrated food.
-When using fresh produce, make sure to use very thinly sliced produce. This is especially important for getting all of the moisture out. You will also save more energy this way because you won’t need to have it on as long.
-Before placing food in the dehydrator, make sure to weigh it. Weigh it again after it’s done dehydrating. Then subtract the two, giving the weight of water removed from the food. This is the same amount of water you’ll need to reconstitute it later.
-As soon as the dehydrator turns off, make sure to remove the food and store it. If it sits out, it risks collecting moisture from the air, ultimately reversing the work the dehydrator just did.
-Don’t dehydrate broccoli or brussel sprouts. I learned this one by trying to dehydrate broccoli before a camping trip. It stinks up the ENTIRE house. I couldn’t even get through an hour of dehydrating before I had to turn it off. If you really want to use these vegetables, I would suggest doing it outside.
-Be cautious dehydrating peppers. The spice fills the air, which can cause watery eyes, coughing, and that slight choking feeling. I suggest doing this outside as well or in a well-ventilated space.
-Don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun! Follow the basic guidelines of your dehydrator and expand it from there.
I use the Excalibur dehydrator and truly love it. We did a lot of research to find the best yet most user-friendly one and this is by far the best one. It holds a lot of food too, so I can dehydrate beans, rice, sauce, and veggies all at the same time. This makes prepping for camping trips even easier!