A food dehydrator has been on my wish list for a few summers now. A friend loaned me this simple dehydrator and I’ve experimented a bit. First up were tomatoes. I scored a big basket full of juicy big ones & sweet cherry tomatoes for a few dollars as sprinkles descended on the Farmers Market.
After slicing them about ¼” thick, I layered them on the trays & cooked ‘em for about 8 hours. When it was time for tasting, they were like candy!
I ate as many as I preserved – a quart sized Ziplock bag went into the freezer. The not quite dry ones were preserved in olive oil with a few garlic cloves and are stored in the fridge. The plan is to top a gourmet (wheat-free) pizza crust with these babies. Then use the infused olive oil as a salad dressing. Yum.
Next came sweet potatoes. After researching drying times online, I decided not to pre-bake them, since they were sliced thin. My electric vegi slicer came in handy – just load up the chute with vegi’s and uniform slices pop out the other end. Kind of like a Playdough factory on steroids.
It was fun experimenting with different seasonings. The cayenne pepper chips had a bit of a bite. The ginger was interesting, but least favorite. Best of all was just a touch of sea salt to balance the sweetness of the sweet potatoes. I passed around samples at the Farmers Market, then sold several snack bags of chips in following weeks.
Dehydrated kale has become a new favorite treat. I just sprinkled some organic tamari onto the leaves and dried them for about an hour. They were best eaten fresh off the trays. Got a bit soggy in plastic bags & the tamari started to make a mess. They were a hit when thrown into a stir fry. There’s a traditional Latino market in town with loads of vegi’s and bulk spices. I picked up some yucca root to make Cuban yucca with mojo and onions, then thought “Why not dehydrate some? It’s starchy like a potato.” I’ll let you know how that turns out.
Think: What are your favorite dried foods? Sun dried tomatoes? Cranberries? Apple rings? Mushrooms? Why not grow your own, or buy in bulk in season, then dry your own?
Say: Let me know your favorite food drying tips & times. Anyone out there using a solar dryer?
Do: Stock up on dried foods from local markets. They make a quick addition to soups, casseroles & snack packs.