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Using a dehydrator

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Using a dehydrator

Post  LaborDay RN on 1/9/2012, 7:39 pm

I would love some input from those of you who dehydrate veggies from your garden. What are your favorite things to dehydrate and how do you use your dehydrated veggies later?

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Re: Using a dehydrator

Post  camprn on 1/9/2012, 7:54 pm

Tonight I made a red pasta sauce and threw in some home grown dehydrated summer squash and poblano peppers as well as some store bought dehydrated oyster mushrooms.
Here is a thread a few months old where we talked about Food Dehydrators.
I also dry some tomatoes for when I want just a few for things like flavor in sauces, soups & sometimes eggs.

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Re: Using a dehydrator

Post  LaborDay RN on 1/9/2012, 10:51 pm

Camprn: Thanks for the response. Please excuse my ignorance, but I've never cooked with dehydrated foods before. Do they reconstitute when you put them in cooking liquid? If this is the case, I think it would be a great way to preserve tomatoes. Tomatoes do very well here and I usually end up with more than we can eat. I canned years ago but now I usually just freeze. Remember Fred Flinstone closet on the old cartoons? That's how I feel about my freezer now! affraid
I think it's time for a new way to preserve!

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Re: Using a dehydrator

Post  Mamachibi on 1/10/2012, 10:52 am

I LOVE dehydrating veggies. They take up MUCH less space than canned, and I don't have a separate freezer, so I can't really hold much frozen food.

Most of the time, I put my dehydrated veggies in stock the night before in the fridge and let them sit. Then when it's time to make dinner, I toss the whole thing in the soup. If I'm reconstituting bell peppers or onions, like for a meatloaf, I'll use a bit of beef stock for soaking and add the stock to whatever I'm making.

I dried a whole bunch of strawberries last spring, thinking I'd add them to muffins and pancakes this winter, but the kids think they are candy and eat them in their dried state.

I made a bunch of pemmican for our emergency kit, but the kids got into it, so it's time to make more. I made some salmon jerky that is just out of this world, too.

When I went away for the Christmas holidays, I dehydrated a bunch of my sourdough starter. I knew it wouldn't last without feeding it unless it was frozen or dehydrated. It came through great and reconstitutes just fine. I've got a baggie full of starter in my emergency kit now, too.

The kids love it when I put leftover pancakes in the dehydrator. They get crispy like crackers.

I really never dreamed I'd use it so often, but the dehydrator and the crock pot run almost 24/7 here.

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Re: Using a dehydrator

Post  LaborDay RN on 1/10/2012, 11:14 am

Mamachibi: Wow....pemmican.....I had to look that one up! It's new to me. Thanks for all the info on reconstituting the veggies. That's just the info I needed! Very Happy

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Re: Using a dehydrator

Post  ilvalleygal on 1/10/2012, 4:47 pm

I dehydrate almost any "leftover" veggies, even that half onion and half dozen celery stalks left from making stuffing last month.

The dehydrated vegetables do reconstitute well in any hot water or stock but I've had varying success with tomatoes. Last year I blanched them, removed the skin, pureed them and then dehydrated them on the fruit leather trays. Then, peeled the tomato off the plastic tray and put the bits in jars. I grind them in the re-purposed coffee grinder to make a powder for sauces, soups and stews and it works much better than when I tried to dry slices. Maybe next year I'll try to be more patient and start soaking them overnight like Mamachibi recommends.

If I'm using dried veggies in long cooking things like soup or stew, I just toss them in along with the meat and/or beans. I never soak dried veggies overnight so making soups and stews is super easy with all the dicing and chopping already done months ago.

I also have dried eggplant and summer squash which I grind into powder and add to meatballs as a binder or just sprinkle into stews.

Dried carrot slices are amazingly good in stews since they rehydrate slowly. Instead of limp, soggy carrots, these carrots are just cooked and still have some texture after an afternoon in the crockpot.

I read that potatoes can go brown so I was going to blanch and slice them last year, but alas, we had next to no local potato crop due to the long, wet, cold spring.

The only thing I don't dehydrate are green leafy vegetables like kale and chard. It's just easier to blanch and freeze them.

Like Mamachibi, I never imagined the dehydrator would be anything but a fall season thing. Instead, I use it all the time and can't wait for the summer fruits to come in. Yeah, I dehydrate peaches, pears, apples -- anything I can get my hands on when they're in season.

My biggest dehdrator dilemma now is whether to spring for a bigger one or buy a second one like my little workhorse.

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Re: Using a dehydrator

Post  camprn on 1/10/2012, 7:12 pm

I am not sure, but my guess is that LDRN has dry weather and could use a nice solar dehydrator. sunny

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Re: Using a dehydrator

Post  LaborDay RN on 1/12/2012, 6:13 pm

I've been out of town on a mini-vacation (Palm Springs! woo hoo!!).
Thanks for the replies!

Ilvalleygal, thanks for all the info on your experiences. After you dehydrate your fruits and veggies, do you store in jars or bags? (zip lock or vac. seal?).

Camprn: You are correct! Very dry climate here. Very Happy Solar huh?? I'll have to look into that.

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Dehydrator recipes

Post  camprn on 1/15/2012, 1:56 pm

http://www.backpackingchef.com/dehydrating-food.html

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Re: Using a dehydrator

Post  LaborDay RN on 1/15/2012, 2:08 pm

Thanks for posting the link Camprn. It has a great deal of useful information.

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Re: Using a dehydrator

Post  Goosegirl on 1/15/2012, 8:30 pm

@camprn wrote:http://www.backpackingchef.com/dehydrating-food.html

Great link! Backpacking is what got me to buy a dehydrator in the first place!

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Re: Using a dehydrator

Post  camprn on 1/29/2012, 7:47 am

Here is a nice publication about dehydrating fresh food.
http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/dry/csu_dry_vegetables.pdf

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Re: Using a dehydrator

Post  LaborDay RN on 1/29/2012, 7:56 am

Thanks for posting this Camprn! You always find the most interesting information. thanks

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Re: Using a dehydrator

Post  camprn on 1/29/2012, 8:16 am

@LaborDay RN wrote:Thanks for posting this Camprn! You always find the most interesting information.
Thanks for that LDRN! What a Face

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Re: Using a dehydrator

Post  jpatti on 1/29/2012, 2:17 pm

Mostly, I use dried veggies in soups. That way they rehydrate while cooking and I don't have to do much to them.

Other uses, you have to soak in hot water before cooking with them to rehydrate them.

The other big use is when I have one of those recipes that calls for 1 TB tomato paste, I use dried tomatoes cause I hate the whole keeping a jar of tomato paste in the fridge until it goes bad thing that always follows. Wink Instead, I pulverize dried tomatoes in my blender and "make" paste or sauce or whatever I need from the tomato powder.

Here's my notes:

1 onion = 1 1/2 TB onion powder = 1/4 cup dried minced onions

1 bell pepper = 1/4 cup dried pepper flakes

1 medium carrot = 3 TB dried carrots

1 stalk celery = 1 TB dried celery

1 cup greens (any type) = 2-3 TB powdered greens

1 lb greens = 1 1/4 cup dried greens

tomato paste = 1 part tomato powder + 1 part water

tomato sauce = 1 part tomato powder + 3 parts water

tomato soup = 1 part tomato powder + 1 part water + 2 parts cream

tomato juice = 1 part tomato powder + 24 parts water

1 cup sweet peas = 1/4 cup dried peas

1 cup green beans = 1/3 cup dried green beans

1 cup sweet corn = 1/3 cup dried corn

1 cup mushrooms = 1 cup dried mushrooms

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Re: Using a dehydrator

Post  Furbalsmom on 1/29/2012, 2:48 pm

Jpatti,

Thanks so much for sharing your dehydrated veggie conversion information, especially for making tomato paste, sauce and soup. Love It!

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Re: Using a dehydrator

Post  RoOsTeR on 9/9/2012, 12:35 pm

The wife is working today, so I'm being a bad boy hobbling around the kitchen. I had some puny looking tomatoes so I decided slicing them, sprinkling with just a tad of kosher salt and placing in the dehydrator would be simple enough. Maybe I'll have tomato chips by Sunday Night Football kickoff Razz



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Re: Using a dehydrator

Post  Mamachibi on 9/9/2012, 1:08 pm

Hey, Rooster...zucchini chips are excellent too. Sprinkle them with some salt and whatever spices or herbs you think you'd like. YUM!!

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Re: Using a dehydrator

Post  RoOsTeR on 9/9/2012, 1:33 pm

Mamachibi, those do sound good! I'll need chips tomorrow for Monday Night Football too Cool

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Re: Using a dehydrator

Post  rowena___. on 9/9/2012, 2:00 pm

if your tomatoes dry that quickly, you will have set a world record! mine usually take at least 24 hours.

our family eats zucchini chips as if they were candy.

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Re: Using a dehydrator

Post  southern gardener on 9/9/2012, 2:01 pm

@Mamachibi wrote:Hey, Rooster...zucchini chips are excellent too. Sprinkle them with some salt and whatever spices or herbs you think you'd like. YUM!!

those sound yummy. How thick to you slice the zucchini? Last year, I read a recipe to make dehydrated tomatoes on the dashboard of your car in HOT weather. I thought, "what the heck". Invited the neighbor kids over to pick tomatoes, season them any way they liked. I just put out all kinds of spices. We put them on paper plates, and put them on the dashboard in the sun. A couple of hours later, they were done, and they were some of the best sun dried tomatoes I've ever had!

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Re: Using a dehydrator

Post  Mamachibi on 9/9/2012, 4:15 pm

I don't have a food processor, so I just cut them thin with a knife. I do make them pretty thin, but not see-through!

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Re: Using a dehydrator

Post  No_Such_Reality on 9/10/2012, 1:12 pm

I made sweet potato chips this weekend. Turned out okay, not great. I didn't get enough salt on them. They were bland. Now with them dried, no ability to salt.

I used the 1/8" setting on the mandolin, only took about 9 hours to dry but over dried them. Next time I'll shoot for a morning set up as I suspect they'll only take 4-5 hours.

Has anyone experimented with a spritz of oil on the chip recipes? I've got those pump up oil sprayers so it's like an aerosol can but filled with pressure and olive oil. Or possibly doing a little brine soak before drying?


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Re: Using a dehydrator

Post  RoOsTeR on 9/10/2012, 1:23 pm

I'm not sure about sweet potato chips. I've never done them but I have dissolved salt in a bit of warm water before and brushed veggies with it before going into the dehydrator. I also sprinkle coarse ground sea salt on things like the tomatoes I did.
I don't know how you did your sweet potato chips, but lots of things like carrots have a better texture and dry better (imo) if blanched beforehand.

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Re: Using a dehydrator

Post  Mamachibi on 9/10/2012, 1:54 pm

I'd probably put some curry or at least smoked paprika and cumin on sweet potato chips.

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Re: Using a dehydrator

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