Dehydrating 101



These are some of the jars I use to put my dehydrated foods into.  They are good for short-term use…up to a year…as I use them for cooking throughout the year.  They need to be clean and airtight.  As you can see from the photo on my blog; I use a lot of clear sealed plastic that I can pop open.  I can use as much as I need for the recipe and I can see through the container when I am getting low on a particular item.

I do not like to waste vegetables like carrots, celery, green peppers, tomatoes, etc.  I dehydrate any extra leftover raw vegetables as there are only two of us to cook for.  My husband loves jerky so I have two dehydrators, one for meat and one for vegetables.

I use an Excalibur Dehydrator, but if you want to try dehydrating to see if this is something you want to do, Walmart has Dehydrators for under $50.00.  I also seal anything I want as backup in dehydrating bags.  If you want to further your dehydrating, Walmart has the Food Saver Sealers from $140.00-$170.00 in my neck-of-the-woods, so-to-speak.  I save enough money by not throwing out rotten fruits and vegetables to pay for a Dehydrator and Sealer.

I would try the Dehydrator startup at WalMart without the sealer until I decided if this is something I felt I could do.   The economy seems to stay stagnant and vegetables are seemingly costing more every time I go to the Market.  It’s a good way to save.  When you need something for that particular recipe;  you don’t have to run to the market as you will have that particular ingredient on hand.

The one Fruit I dehydrate more than anything else…Bananas.  I have health issues in my family that require the minerals from the Banana, but I can only use a small portion as it is high in sugar.  So I am always  dehydrating Bananas.  They are very easy to do and fast as I do not have a lot of time.  I peel and slice in 1/2 inch slices and place on my trays.  I plug in my dehydrator and depending upon what the weather is doing outside; I run it all day and sometimes all night.

The dehydrator uses very little electricity and when done, the fruits or vegetables should make a clicking sound on your counter showing they are dry.  I check every 6 hours to see if they are done.  Kids and adults love this dried fruit as a snack that is delicious and nutritious.   It’s also a good way to get those precious minerals into your children and buy less junk food.  

I had to keep a banana beside my bed at one point in my life as my electrolytes were in a mess.  I had leg cramps so bad that the banana was all I could use as I hate the taste of that stuff they use for children to balance electrolytes.   I don’t see how kids can stand to drink it.  I tried all flavors and did not like any of them.   I will take a banana any day.

About a minute after my first bite of the banana the cramps subsided.  Even the dried bananas worked just about as good as the fresh ones.  It took about two minutes for the cramp to subside as the dried banana has to get the moisture back into it and that takes about a minute.

A dried banana is a good backup for recipes that require fresh bananas.  I have had to use this substitute many times when I did not get to the market for the fresh bananas.   I had dehydrated the bananas that were going to rot and thought to try the dried bananas and it worked.  It saved me from  having to go out in the middle of the night.

People years ago, dehydrated their fruits and vegetables in the Sun and  always had to worry about insects, humidity and animals.  Talk about time and work…just give me the dehydrator which is faster and in the winter will help heat your house and give you backup stock.

 I dehydrate in the summer at night as it is cooler and only use fruits and vegetables that I know take a long time so I do not have to get up to check on them.  I love dehydrating and hope this information will help you save time and money while providing  delicious and nutritious  food for your family.

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