The Benefits of Dehydrating Produce
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  1. #1
    Founder Sara Noel's Avatar
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    Default The Benefits of Dehydrating Produce

    Dehydrating produce is a great way to preserve produce that takes up less space and is less work than canning or freezing. Dehydrating foods is a simple process of exposing foods to heat and air which evaporates the moisture from the foods. A food dehydrator will dry produce, meats, herbs and flowers. This article will discuss drying produce.

    Generally, to dry fruits and vegetables, you slice them thin, and depending on if it browns or not when exposed to air, dip the slices in lemon juice. You then place the slices onto the racks of the dehydrator and turn it on. My kids have a good time helping me prepare the food for drying and are getting a valuable lesson in food preservation not to mention quality time with mom. After a matter of time (it depends on which fruit or vegetable you're drying), you will have the finished product ready to be stored in glass jars, baggies, canisters or whatever you'd like to store them in. It usually takes quite a few hours for the produce to become dry. When you purchase a food dehydrator, it comes with an instruction book listing approximate times, directions and a few recipes that include the finished product.

    Since the finished product is dried, the natural flavor is concentrated into chewy, healthy snacks. Dehydrated vegetables are great thrown into soups, casseroles and stews. Dehydrated fruit is good in muffins, cake, granola or pancake batter to name a few. This is when you get to be creative and come up with your own great ideas.

    Dried food is great for hikers and campers for the obvious reasons of lighter food to carry and no spoilage. It's also great for people trying to get their children or themselves to eat healthier and for garden growers that like to preserve their harvest for later use.

    A food dehydrator can save you a lot of money. For one, the cost of dried fruit at the grocery store is pretty high, so you can save yourself quite a bit of money by drying it yourself. For two, if you have purchased too much of something, you can dehydrate it for use later instead of letting it go bad. Not only will food dehydration save you money, but it will also save you valuable shelf space in your kitchen. The finished product takes up a lot less space compared to canning or freezing and you don't need expensive canning jars or freezer containers. One last benefit is there is considerably less work involved when compared to canning or freezing.

    To sum it up, if you are a person that wants to eat healthier, save money, cook creatively and/or have a great way to preserve food, then a food dehydrator is for you.

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  2. #2
    Registered User SewCrafty's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks Sara!

    I have a dehydrator but don't use it much because it takes so long to dry the food out. Anyone know why this is?

    I slice everything thin, but I did get 2 extra racks, could that be the reason? Maybe I am putting too much in it at one time?

    TIA
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    Default problem drying foods

    Hi there, I use to have the same problem. Then, my dehydrator caught fire! I went to look at the same brand, American Harvester, because I already had 8 trays. Didn't want to waste all that plastic.

    The new one came as quite a surprise. The lid contained the motor and fan. The old one had the motor and fan on the bottom.
    My produce has dried much faster ever since. I think the motor and fan on top does a faster, better job.

    That said I will also mention a couple of other things it might be.
    1.) cutting your produce to thick
    2.) rinsing produce without drying
    3.) overlapping your produce

    Hope that helps, I love to use my dehydrator. Poppy
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    I was disappointed not to see any mention of dehydrating food in a regular old oven, or outdoor drying racks. These methods can sometimes be more frugal and simpler than the purchase and storage of a new machine to do the job.
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    A lot of stoves will simply not go to a low enough temperature. You end up cooking your food instead of dehydrating. I personally can not use the outdoor drying racks. The humidity in Florida is simply to high to work well. Arizona could sure do it though. Perhaps others will have had better luck with these types of drying and can supply better information. Poppy
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