A food dehydrator is a small appliance that allows you to dry out your food. The dehydrator removes excess moisture from food, and as a result, the food lasts for days or weeks.
Food that is dehydrated also retains most of it nutrients. In order to store dehydrated food correctly, it must be at least 95% dehydrated. It is also not a good idea to speed up the dehydrating process as this causes the moisture to remain inside the foods while appearing dry on the outside.
If you’re buying a food dehydrator for the first time, look for one that has an adjustable thermostat, shut-off timer, and enough capacity for dehydrating food.
Food dehydration is great for saving time and money, and dehydrated foods are often healthier than store-bought snacks. Here are some great food dehydrator recipes.
You can replicate the taste of sun-dried tomatoes by making them in a food dehydrator. Start by washing and cutting the tops off eight to ten tomatoes. Then cut the tomatoes into 1/3-inch slices and place them on the food dehydrator tray.
Sprinkle the tomato slices with celery salt, garlic powder, black pepper, and onion powder. Dry them at 150°F for ten minutes.
Cinnamon and honey peaches
This makes a cool snack for toddlers during road trips. Peel and slice some peaches; then put a few teaspoons each of honey and cinnamon over them. Toss the peaches around in a sealed zipper-lock bag, and then place them in the food dehydrator. Cook the peaches for five to eight hours at 135°F.
Here is a healthy alternative to the traditional beef jerky. Freeze fresh salmon for 30-40 minutes, and then cut into thick strips. Make a brine by combining salt, paprika, onion powder, 1 cup of apple cider vinegar, and 3 teaspoons of lemon juice.
Place the salmon strips in the brine; after ten hours, remove the salmon from the brine. Put the salmon strips in the dehydrator and cook at 145°F for four hours.
Spicy green peas and green beans
Take a pound of green beans and two drained cans of peas then place them in a bowl. Add 3 teaspoons of paprika, 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, a few dashes of hot sauce, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Put the mixture in the dehydrator and cook for two to three hours at 135°F.
Chocolate-covered kiwi slices
In a double boiler, melt one large bar of dark chocolate over low heat, and then set aside. Peel and cut the kiwi in thin slices then place in the dehydrator and dry twelve hours. Then you dip the dehydrated kiwi slices in the melted chocolate; then, place on a baking sheet.
Place the baking sheet in the freezer and remove after 15 minutes. This is a great recipe for parents wanting to give their kids healthier snacks.
In a large bowl combine 1 pound of peanuts, 1/3 cup of black pepper, 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder. Toss in small pieces of jalapeno peppers for an extra kick. Place the peppers in the dehydrator and dry for five hours at 145°F.
Strawberry blueberry scones
Start by blending one cup of flaxseed until smooth. Place the flaxseed puree in a bowl and add 2 cups of diced strawberries, 1 cup of blueberries, 2 cups of whole wheat flour, 3 teaspoons of honey, 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil, and 1/2 cup of honey.
Mix the ingredients well and put spoonfuls of the mixture on a dehydrator sheet before placing in the dehydrator. Dry at 115°F for four hours.
Vegan thanksgiving stuffing
Being a vegan does not mean you need to give up your favorite holiday meals.
To make vegan stuffing, combine a cup of corn, a cup of cooked quinoa, teaspoons of your favorite spices, 1 cup of diced celery, 3 teaspoons of olive oil, 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds and 1 teaspoon of fresh oregano. Place the mixture on a dehydrator sheet and dry at 120°F for an hour.
Garlic herbed potatoes
Boil a pound of red potatoes; then drain and let cool. As the potatoes are boiling, melt a stick of butter in a medium saucepan and then add 3 teaspoons of crushed garlic, 2 teaspoons of salt, and a few crushed leaves of basil or oregano.
Once the potatoes are cooled, peel and slice them into 1/8-inch slices. Pour the herb butter over the potatoes and mix well. Then place the potatoes in the dehydrator and dry for 12 hours at 95°F.
About the main benefits of food dehydration
Aside from the nutritional advantages, it is cost effective to dehydrate foods, because at the store, dried foods are often pricey and you save money by doing it yourself. Dehydrated food also tastes delicious, and they make great portable snacks for being on the road with kids.
Another advantage of food dehydration is that it reduces food waste. If you have food staples that will expire soon, you can dehydrate them for consumption at a later time.
Tips on food dehydration
To make sure that you have plenty of dehydrated foods in the pantry, it is best to buy foods in bulk and on sale. Be sure to slice all vegetables and fruits uniformly so that they will dry evenly.
During dehydration, you want to rotate the tray and turn the food around for the best results. It is also important that you cool the dehydrated foods before storing them in bags or containers.
We live in a society where thrifty habits are no longer the norm and where waste is becoming too common. When you dehydrate food, you teach frugality to your family and you reduce trips to the supermarket. You can find dehydrators at most discount chain stores and online retailers at affordable prices.
If you’re new to food dehydration, talk to those who do it, or check out some of the online blogs dealing with dehydration. Finally, don’t feel bad if you mess up in the beginning. With time and practice, you’ll be a pro at this.