Having a food dehydrator might be the greatest way to save money in your kitchen. With a dehydrator you can save fruits and vegetables longer and use the produce of your backyard garden throughout the year. Save money and prepare convenient snacks for your family by using a dehydrator. Follow these steps to dry your fruits and vegetables.
- Select the best and freshest fruits and vegetables. You want to use the best when dehydrating fruits and vegetables. Don't just use the excess or leftover produce. Instead choose the freshest fruits that have no bruises.
- Prepare the produce. Wash the fruits and remove seeds, stems or other parts you don't want to eat. Then slice the foods into pieces that are similar in size and thickness. For fruits that tend to brown in the air like apples, consider treating with lemon juice or a soak in some ginger ale to prevent the browning. For vegetables that are thick and fibrous, consider blanching them for three minutes in boiling water to help speed drying time.
- Add flavoring (optional). If you find dried fruits and vegetables to be limited in taste you may want to flavor them before dehydrating. Sprinkle a little salt on the vegetables or consider sugar, cinnamon or other flavoring for the fruits. Stir so that the flavoring is spread over all the pieces.
- Place food onto dehydrator trays. Arrange the fruits or vegetables so they are evenly spaced and do not overlap anywhere on the trays. Be sure not to overload the trays or mix tastes on the trays or you will be unhappy with the results.
- Turn on the dehydrator. Follow the drying time instructions for your specific dehydrator. Set it in the best location in your kitchen then leave it alone for the specified drying time. Be prepared for drying of fruits to take at least eight to twelve hours.
- Test the dried produce. When close to the drying time check the fruit and vegetables to see if they are dried. Remove a piece from the dehydrator and let it cool for a few minutes. You may have to cut a piece open to determine if the moisture has been removed fully.
- Remove the produce and let it cool. The fruit or vegetable pieces will need to cool before they can be stored.
- Condition the dried produce. Once cool, the fruits may not be fully dry. Test this by storing fruits loosely packed in a jar for a few days. Shake the jar once a day. If you see condensation then the produce needs to go back into the dehydrator because it isn't dry. If no condensation becomes visible, you will be ready to store the fruits or vegetables after one week.
- Place dried fruits and vegetables in airtight containers. Now that the pieces have been conditioned, you are ready to pack them into air tight containers to store them for future snacking. Properly dried fruits and vegetables can last for approximately one year.
Use your dehydrator to dry fruits and vegetables so they last longer. You will be enjoying dried fruit snacks for months to come if you properly dry your produce in the dehydrator.