Dehydrating Fruits and Vegetables

10807006_sDehydrating Fruits and Vegetables, has always held an interest for me. A few years ago I purchased a 7 layer dehydrator but did very little with it. At the time, I was working a full time job and not really thinking long term about my health as much as I should have been. A short time ago, I decided that it was time to get back to dehydrating my own fruits and vegetables. I really enjoy dried Mango, Papaya, Pineapple and bananas.  This all works well with our home in Mexico because we have all those items plus coconut, and guava, That is when I discovered that my wife had given my dehydrator away to a friend.

This weekend I got a new one. It is only 5 layers but that will work just nicely. I don’t like to purchase dried fruit because most of the time, chemicals have been added to preserve it. Example, the next time you see a package of dried mango, look at the package, there is a good chance that it has been processed in Thailand. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with it, I just have a habit of asking “how long ago was it processes?” and “what are the health standards of the country where it is produced?” If I can’t answer those questions, then I just as soon pass and make my own.

Dehydration is a way that you can preserve meat, fruits and vegetables while also saving precious freezer space. The basics of dehydrating are pretty simple. You wash your food, cut it into pieces of the same size, put it in your dehydrator with spaces in between each piece, set the heat level, dry and store. Yes, it really is that simple. Even better while you’re food’s dehydrating you can attend to other tasks that you want to get done.

The Farmer’s Market
When dehydrating, as with all other culinary techniques, fresher is better. If you want that amazing taste like it just came from the farm, go where you can get good products, especially organics. Here you can buy in bulk, do one large batch of dehydrating and then have enough of your goods for the whole winter or longer.

What you need:

While you can use your oven or microwave for dehydrating, if you plan on doing a lot of it get yourself a multi-tiered dehydrator so you can do a lot of one item or several different items at the same time, which saves electricity. You’ll also need air tight storage units (zip bags work fine), a good kitchen knife, and labels. That’s pretty much it. A 700 watt round dehydrator with 7 levels goes for about $60; a 400 watt for $40. That is not a huge investment for safe preserving at home.

Advantages:

Besides saving storage space, there’s several other advantages to dehydrating. First, it helps create a waste-free kitchen. All those ends and pieces that normally get thrown out now get put to work. Carrot tops, celery ends, fruit rinds – all of it can be used in dry form for soups and sauces.

Second, you can pre-season your foods so that when you use the dehydrated form, there’s no spicing necessary. This is a great time saver.

Third, dehydrated goods make a great foundation for gift items when creating kitchen baskets during the holidays.

Forth: They are great snacks when you are trying to control you weight or you just like to eat healthy. Great to add to the school lunch box and/or an after school snack.

Uses:

So how can you use the food you dehydrate? You can use it as it is for soups, stews, baking etc. bearing in mind that the dry item absorbs moisture, so adjust your recipe accordingly.

Make the item (like fruit) into leathers for a refreshing and healthy treat.

Shelf Life:

Once dehydrated, if properly stored dehydrated food stays fresh for at least a year.

For more information on the Food Dehydrator I am presently using, check out http://chefwilliamlikes.me/Food Dehydrators

Chef WilliamFor more exciting recipes check out Chef William’s Mexican cookbook at http://chefwilliamlikes.me/Traditional Mexican Fiesta Recipes

Eat Healthy, Laugh Often and Enjoy Life~

Healthy Food choices

CHEF WILLIAM Color

Eat Healthy, Laugh Often and Enjoy Life~

Healthy Food choices

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10 Responses to Dehydrating Fruits and Vegetables

  1. Amy
    Twitter:
    says:

    What great advice, Chef. I have a dehydrator down in my basement, but I oftentimes forget to get it out and use it when I have extra. But I’m going to dust it off and put it someplace handier so I’m reminded to use it! I love to dehydrate heirloom tomato slices in the fall, but I do keep them in bags in the freezer.
    Amy recently posted..Radish Sammages: a simple-but-perfect summer lunchMy Profile

    • Chef William says:

      Exactly what happened to me, I stored mine and when my wife felt I had forgotten about it,
      she gave it away. Now I have a new one and will keep it where I will reminded to use
      it. Tomorrow I am picking up two pounds of ginger and a couple of pineapples and drying
      them to enjoy on my next road trip to Mexico.
      Chef William recently posted..Dehydrating Fruits and Vegetables My Profile

  2. Wonderful wonderful ideas and great advice, I’ll be sharing with my tribe right now.
    Anita-Clare Field recently posted..Blessed Are The Cheesemakers – Dutch MistressMy Profile

    • Chef William says:

      It really can cut costs and allow a person to take full advantage of their garden harvest.
      I am going to be drying a lot of fruit as it ripens at our place in Mexico. Vegetables
      always but fruit I tend to eat from the tree and forget that I will want some after the
      season has passed.
      Chef William recently posted..Dehydrating Fruits and Vegetables My Profile

  3. I love dehydrating! Herbs are another awesome food to dehydrate for yourself. They are easy, quick and I think have more flavor than what you can normally purchase. Again, answering the question of how old is this?
    Arla DeField – SayingNoWithoutFeelingGuilty.com recently posted..Complete Series “All About Saying NO E-Course”My Profile

    • Chef William says:

      Dehydrating Herbs is a much faster way than hanging them somewhere and waiting as we did
      in the old days. And the taste is great, plus it gives us an even greater reason to plant
      them in the first place. We get to enjoy them all season, fresh from the plant, and then
      whenever we wish to between seasons.
      Chef William recently posted..Dehydrating Fruits and Vegetables My Profile

  4. You are always one step ahead of me! I just bought a dehydrater last weekend. My first attempt was so-so so I am grateful for your post. I bought it off of a friend who no longer uses it. Her use when she had it? To dry flower arrangements. I also plan on trying to make jerky. But first – doing a creation for July when we are posting fruits for our Sweet Taste of Saturday.
    Carolina HeartStrings recently posted..OATMEAL TOFFEE COOKIE BARSMy Profile

    • Chef William says:

      I do look forward to your July sweet taste of Saturday with the fruit you have dehydrated.
      There is so much that can be done this way. At the end of the season, don’t forget to dry
      the extra herbs from your garden. My wife gets a lot of honey from a local bee keeper and
      I keep the empty jars after she has enjoyed the honey, as they are perfect to keep my
      dried herbs in.
      Chef William recently posted..Dehydrating Fruits and Vegetables My Profile

  5. Debbie
    Twitter:
    says:

    I just got a dehydrator just before I came to CA last week, to visit my new granddaughter. Next week after I am home a few days, I will be getting my dehydrator out. Thank you for your article.

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