I often pondered owning a dehydrator. What would I use it for? Is it too expensive? Can't I just use the oven on a low setting? Where would I store it? Is it better to dehydrate or just continue to freeze all of the in- season fruit etc. This was the discussion between me and my friend Tiffani last summer. Tif does a lot of hiking, has a bountiful garden and had recently run out of freezer space due to her 1/2 cow! that had taken up residence there. I decided to let her guinea pig this situation and she whipped out her research skills. This is the one she decided on.
She found this amazing book at the library from the 80's and loved it so much she bought one. It has a bountiful amount of information to help even the most novice of people figure out the simple process. The book talks about dehydrating in a machine, your oven or just using the sun. Plus good recipes and tips galore. Love it!
For a recent hiking trip she dehydrated an entire bag of frozen vegetables. They shrunk down to a snack bag amount of packable, light food. Next she's going to try potatoes and make her own hash browns. This will be so much better than BHT filled browns in a box or bag. Drying frozen food means no blanching prep is required. Re hydrating is a snap on the trail, at home etc.
During a recent visit to Tif's home, I enjoyed these dehydrated cantaloupe slices. And blueberries, strawberries, bananas and zucchini slices.
From a nutritional standpoint, if you are dehydrating at 115 degrees or less, the food is still considered raw. Raw is a good thing but I wouldn't be overly concerned about being 100% raw. There are some recipes that require dehydrating at a higher degree. Also remember that when you dehydrate the sugars concentrate so be aware of not eating too much at a sitting. For example: you wouldn't typically eat 10 apples; you could easily do that if eating them dried.
Anyone else tried dehydrating before? Inside? Outside? Do you have other resources for us?
Now that we've moved to the a berry bountiful place and of course I watched how easy the whole process is-I'm getting one. We're actually off to blueberry pick today. I'm told to be prepared for 100 lbs of berries. Yippee!! The possibilities are endless.
Power to the family!