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  • Learning Dehydrating

    What do you dehydrate? The difference in storage size is amazing to me!

    I got the Excalibur 9-tray unit. I LOVE it!

    My first effort was carrots. I chopped, sliced and diced, not sure what would work best, so made at least one tray of each different cut. With 9 trays, I chopped up almost 10 lbs of carrots. My hand hurt. Skyowl bought me a food processor for future efforts.

    Followed their instructions and dried my carrots. I thought I had them right, pulling out the smaller chunks at the recommended time, others still felt "squishy" so I dried them for a few more hours. Ended up with all in a container that I set aside.

    Used my new food processor to slice up 4 pounds of big onions. Everything I've read says don't dry onions, chili peppers, garlic, or ginger with anything else, or everything will smell/taste just like the onions, peppers, etc.

    Put my dried onions into a rubbermaid container.

    And waited.

    Checked my carrots a couple of weeks later - there were spots of mold on some of them. *sigh*. Threw the lot of them away and bought another 10 pounds of fresh carrots. They are running about 1.50 a 5 lb bag right now, so learning on the cheap!

    I sought advice both here (thanks Lostinoz :)) and online. All agreed that they must simply be DRY and consistently sized.

    Got Skyowl to use the meat slicer for the next batch.





    Dried them for about 4 hours, rotated the trays 180 degrees, turned them down to the lowest heat setting and went to bed.



    The next morning, they were curly wonderfulness!

    We figured that we ended up with a little over 7 pounds on the trays. When we weighed the output, we had just under 12 oz. Woot!

    The onions are still holding, so believe I got lucky on those - the first try.

    Figure I'll get whatever fruit or vegetable is on sale on Friday afternoon and dry a couple of batches each weekend. Should be able to lay in a nice supply, that way.
    Last edited by Skyowl's Wife; 05-03-2009, 10:42 AM.
    "If Howdy Doody runs against him, I'm voting for the puppet." - SkyOwl's Wife, 2012

  • #2
    Your carrots look great, Wife! Thanks for sharing the pics! I have never dried onions due to all of the warnings about the fumes. Did you have a problem with that issue?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Lostinoz View Post
      ... fumes. Did you have a problem with that issue?
      House smelled oniony, but I've got the dehydrator in the laundry room, so opened the window and closed the door. Was good!
      "If Howdy Doody runs against him, I'm voting for the puppet." - SkyOwl's Wife, 2012

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      • #4
        This is a pic of 4 bags of dehydrated frozen mixed veggies, enough for one large pot of veggie soup. They do dry down to a very compact size. :)



        I will have to wait until it stops raining here before I can start drying again. :(

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        • #5
          Just told the Owl that I want to go to the commissary to buy more veggies.

          You've reminded me that you buy bags of frozen mixed veggies and dehydrate them for use in soups. Will add some to my list!

          Can dry those with no cut up time, could do them during the week!
          "If Howdy Doody runs against him, I'm voting for the puppet." - SkyOwl's Wife, 2012

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          • #6
            Bought 9 bunches of green onions today, cleaned and chopped them up then threw them in the dryer.

            I kept the leek part separate from the chive part, threw in 1 lb of leek part, filling 3 trays and 1 lb 1 oz of the chive part, filling the other 6 trays.

            The chives are done, they don't quite weigh an ounce, now! Lost a whole pound of water!

            The leek part isn't dry yet, turning it on low and will bail it out in the AM. Tired, headed to bed, see you all tomorrow.
            "If Howdy Doody runs against him, I'm voting for the puppet." - SkyOwl's Wife, 2012

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            • #7
              excellent! I have got to get my dehydrator out of the box and start using it!


              Mine's a small, Walmart deal, and I have a mandoline slicer. I don't know what I've been thinking "oh, I'll dehydrate and can from my garden" but that's still MONTHS away, what the heck am I waiting for?

              thanks for the inspiration
              "Be Excellent to Each Other"

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Lostinoz View Post
                This is a pic of 4 bags of dehydrated frozen mixed veggies, enough for one large pot of veggie soup. They do dry down to a very compact size. :)



                I will have to wait until it stops raining here before I can start drying again. :(
                Stupid here! I guess I will post and answer my own question. I buy stocks and stocks of low priced "frozen" veggies. It is one of the few things that you can count on being on sale every week or two. Lot's cheaper than you can grow them. You just thaw and the dehydrate? Pack it in a "Food Saver" and that's it?
                Yes I guess you do. Any special attension to create a longer shelve life for it?
                "And with a collection of minds and talent, they survived"

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                • #9
                  Good morning!

                  My 1 lb of "leek part" now weighs 2 oz. Will seal them into bags tonight!

                  Only took 1 pic since I've hidden my camera from myself somewhere :rolleyes:.

                  See you tonight for frozen mixxed veggies!
                  "If Howdy Doody runs against him, I'm voting for the puppet." - SkyOwl's Wife, 2012

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by pathfinder3081 View Post
                    Stupid here! I guess I will post and answer my own question. I buy stocks and stocks of low priced "frozen" veggies. It is one of the few things that you can count on being on sale every week or two. Lot's cheaper than you can grow them. You just thaw and the dehydrate? Pack it in a "Food Saver" and that's it?
                    Yes I guess you do. Any special attension to create a longer shelve life for it?
                    Path, there is no need to thaw them first, just place them on the trays and go. Some folks place wax paper on their trays to keep the veggies from falling through because they dry up so small.

                    I can get frozen vegetables for little of nothing when combining coupons with a sale, so I usually stock up on them as well.

                    The key to storing is to keep your dehydrated items away from moisture. :) I do vacuum seal mine and then toss into a bucket with a gamma seal lid. I have some items that were dehydrated a couple of years ago and are still good.

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                    • #11
                      Other than space, what is the benefit to dehydrating versus canning since you need water to reconstitute? I have never had any success dehydrating, but my dehydrator was cheap.

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                      • #12
                        Teach, here is a top 10 list I found on Helium.. Note, these are not my reasons, I do it strictly for the space saved, plus, you don't necessarily have to re-hydrate in order to eat as my kids LOVE snacking on dehydrated veggies and fruits.

                        1. Unlike canning or freezing, the dehydration process minimally affects the nutritional value of foods. Vitamin A (beta carotene) and C, carbohydrates, fiber content, potassium, magnesium, selenium, and sodium levels are not altered or lost in dehydration. Calorie values remain the same but the fat and salt content is reduced. Dehydrated foods are free of pesticides and chemicals.

                        2. Herbs, flowers, vegetables, fruits and meats can be preserved, stored, and consumed safely.

                        3. Fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits do not have to rot in the garden. The bounty produced by your garden or deals at the local farmer's market can be saved and enjoyed at a later date.

                        4. Stored properly, dehydrated foods have a longer shelf life than any other preservation methods. If properly sealed and left unopened, dehydrated foods can sit on your shelf for up to 20 years.

                        5. Dehydrated foods save space in your pantry or cupboard because they are not stored in spoilage-prone cans, jars, or bottles.

                        6. It is safer and less labor and time consuming than canning. Home dehydration is also much less expensive than purchasing commercially dehydrated, packaged products.

                        7. Forget the processed store-bought jars of herbs and spices. Dehydrating your own fresh herbs and spices gives your favorite recipes an enhanced, potent flavor that commercially offered products are unable to deliver.

                        8. Dehydrated foods are great for picnics, camping, backpacking excursions, or lunchbox snacks.

                        9. Entire meals can be dehydrated and re-hydrated by adding water, broth or other liquids. A variety of soups made with dehydrated vegetables can ease the stress of providing a healthy meal during a busy day.

                        10. Dehydrated foods are readily available to provide nutrition and sustenance during a natural disaster or hard economic times, when a conventional cooking method is not readily available.

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                        • #13
                          I think I'm sold. I am going to can some of course, but I think that I like the Lightweight, longer storage life, bug option are better. Some stuff will be better in jars of course, but I am going to look into buying one of these Gizmo'es. If I remember right 200 or 300 hundred dollars is about where the good machines start? Right?
                          "And with a collection of minds and talent, they survived"

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by pathfinder3081 View Post
                            I think I'm sold. I am going to can some of course, but I think that I like the Lightweight, longer storage life, bug option are better. Some stuff will be better in jars of course, but I am going to look into buying one of these Gizmo'es. If I remember right 200 or 300 hundred dollars is about where the good machines start? Right?
                            Path, this is the one I have and I like it just fine..

                            http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/st...11000_325-11-1

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Lostinoz View Post
                              Path, this is the one I have and I like it just fine..

                              http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/st...11000_325-11-1
                              thanks for the link. Yeah that is a nice looking unit. I imagine the difference between an oven like that and the small round platic job is like night and day ... I am sure if I started out with the smaller ones I would become frustrated.. I see the wattage differences as well..
                              Thanks oh.. "Oz of the Dehydro":D

                              The bird lady.. her and her husband have some serious looking kitchen Gizmo's as well:cool:
                              "And with a collection of minds and talent, they survived"

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