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DEHYDRATING

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BANANAS

 

Choose all yellow or lightly speckled bananas. Too green and they won’t be sweet; too ripe and they will be unappetizing.

 

Preheat the dehydrator at 5-10 degrees higher than the recommended temperature for your food (about 135 degrees F). The moisture in the food cools your dryer at first, so my book says to leave it at the slightly higher temperature for one hour at the beginning of your food drying, then turn down to the recommended temp.

 

Bananas must be pretreated before drying. Dip in unsweetened pineapple juice, Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) dissolved in water (1 Tbsp. crushed & dissolved in 1 qt. water), or try the honey dip (my favorite!).

 

**Dissolve 1 c sugar in 3 c hot water. Cool to lukewarm, then stir in 1 c honey.**

 

Peel the bananas and cut into 1/8” to 1/4” slices, removing any bruised portions

 

Dip fruit in small batches, remove with slotted spoon, and drain well before placing them on the trays.

 

Dry at 135 degrees until leathery, roughly 8 hours.

 

Eat as a snack or crumble into cookies, cakes, or cereal.

 

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I made banana chips using the honey dip and they came out like sticky hard things......did'nt like em at all.......i had more luck cutting them thinly..length wise....and doing no treatments and they came out like curly twigs but were tastier......just what i found...

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Hmmm, debbielee, I wouldn't have ever tried them without a dip. I'll have to try it & see! Thanks!

 

Dried chopped onions can be whirled dry in a food processor or blender to make a dry powder to use in cooking. You can keep it in a jar in the freezer to avoid clumping.

 

Don’t dry onions with other vegetables because of their smell and taste, which most likely would transfer somewhat to the other food.

 

You might try refrigerating (for 5-12 hours) the onions you plan to chop to dry, because some people swear they don’t cause tears as easily.

 

After you’re finished, wash your hands while rubbing a stainless steel utensil all over your hands where the onion smell is, and the smell pretty much disappears!

 

Remove the root and top, and peel off the papery outer layers. Cut the onion into 1/4 to 1/8” slices, and chop.

 

Dry at 145 degrees F until leathery.

 

 

 

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OK Cat, I'm going to try the apples and onions. My MIL has the best apple tree I've ever eaten from. I eat about 4 apples a day when they're ripe but no matter how many I eat I can't eat them all!

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Has anyone done minced onions or garlic? They're so small I can't put them on a rack. Maybe a screen? Oooh, going to talk to dh about making a screen for the oven! LOL

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My deydrator has a fine plastic screen, but I can't always depend on things *not* falling through.

 

I keep meaning to try plastic window screening. Just have to figure out if they're *food safe*!

 

Just don't use any metal screening. It can cause problems with chemical interactions.

 

**EDITED**

 

I found this:

 

SUN DRYING:

 

Prepared foods are placed on drying trays. Stainless steel screening and thin wood lath are good materials for home-constructed drying trays. As aluminum screening reacts with acids in the fruit, it is less desirable. Do not use galvanized, copper, fiberglass, or vinyl screening.

 

Trays measuring about 14" X 24" X1" are an easy size to handle. If trays are to be used in an oven, they should be 1-1/2" smaller in length and width than oven shelves to allow air circulation.

 

Place trays of food away from dusty roads and yards. Elevate them at least 1" above the table with spools or bricks to allow good air circulation below the food.

 

Cover the food with a muslin or cheesecloth tent to protect it from insects. Dry fruits in direct sunlight; move trays periodically to assure direct sun exposure. Place vegetables in the shade to prevent excessive color loss.

 

If weather turns rainy, you will have to complete the drying process using another method.

 

To destroy insects or their eggs that may be on sun-dried foods and to remove additional moisture in thicker pieces, heat foods in a 150° oven for 30 min.

 

OVEN DRYING:

 

Either build trays as described for sun drying or convert oven racks to drying racks by stretching muslin or cheesecloth across the oven rack. Secure with

toothpicks or long sewn stitches. Alternate trays in the oven periodically to assure even drying.

 

Set oven control at its lowest setting, but not below 140-50°. If using an electric oven, wedge a potholder between oven and door to allow a 1" opening. Moisture from the drying food will vent through this opening. Close the door on a gas oven, as vent will permit moisture to escape.

 

http://www.cahe.nmsu.edu/pubs/_e/e-322.html

 

 

******************

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A Great tip i was taught...from HERE i think........if you use a electric food dehydrator....like i do......go to sewing section of ANY STORE and buy the White Plastic Needlepoint/craft mesh... each sheet is around 60 cents....and all you have to do is Cut it to fit your trays....it stops the smaller foods from going through.....is washable and works like a charm.......the only thing i've found is if you do red peppers.....the color stains....but who cares right?

 

GREAT TIP about the dry absorber thingies from vitamins.....your goooooood Kitty!

I've never dried onions cuz i was afraid the house would reek of onions while they where drying....so i thought of putting the dehydrator outside....and give that a shot...you can never have enuff dried onions.

 

And Dee.....you'll lOVE the apples for snacking.....they are a real treat!

 

I've had great success drying Peppers...ya don't have to blanch them ...just cut them and dry.....some veggies/fruits you have to blanch first.....and carrots are great to use in soups especially.......they are cute when you dry them....like tons of orange toenails..hahhaha

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I think this is from Armorer or DoubleOught (some of you remember!! :) ). It's more involved than just using the Teriaki sauce, but after your DH gets wind of new *recipes* for your jerky, HE'LL be buying the meat for you!

 

BEEF JERKY

 

2 c soy sauce

1/2 c water

3 Tbs Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbs liquid smoke (look near the Worcestershire sauce in the grocery)

1 Tbs garlic powder or onion powder (or, in proportion, use both if you're adventurous!)

1 Tbs ground ginger

black pepper (optional)

 

Mix well and marinate thin slices of sirloin steak 4 hours to overnight. Dry for jerky.

 

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CORN

 

Corn begins to lose its flavor soon after picking, so process it immediately. The faster, the tastier!

 

You can use sweet corn or fresh field corn.

 

Remove the husk and the silk, then trim the end if it’s long. Steam the corn on the cob until the milk inside has “set”. Test it by cutting a few kernels, and if the milk doesn’t come out, it’s ok. (Write down the approximate time for your future reference… mine is about 4 minutes.)

 

Cut the corn of the cob, trying not to cut part of the cob with it. (I usually carefully cut off the kernels and the scrape the rest of the cob off into what will become corn for supper.)

 

Spread the corn onto the trays (these will dry small!!!) in a single layer and dry at 125 degrees F until brittle. Stir the corn several times to help it dry evenly.

 

Reconstituted, this can be used in corn fritters, soups, stews, breads, or creamed. It can be ground up dry for cornmeal.

 

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About potatoes...

 

We eat a LOT of potatoes, and I don't have the freezer space to freeze them. I'd prefer to buy a bunch on sale and preserve them.

 

How do you rehydrate them? Are they OK mashed? What about fried? I did some searching so now I know to blanch them and all that good stuff, but I'm still wondering about once the dehydrating is done, LOL.

 

Thanks!

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I usually follow these general directions, but some things like corn I just throw into soups.

 

From my books:

 

Most dried vegetables are used after being rehydrated and cooked. You may rehydrate and cook at the same time, but they will be more tender & flavorful if rehydrated and then cooked.

 

Place the vegetables in a container and pour in an equal amount of water or juice. Cold water is fine, but boiling or hot liquid will shorten the rehydration time. But it will also start to cook them.

 

Soak them anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the size of the pieces and temperature of the liquid. Soaking longer that 2 hours may restart bacterial action, spoiling the food.

 

Vegetables are considered rehydrated when they return to near-normal size.

 

Leafy vegetables like cabbage, chard, or spinach are fine enough to rehydrate during the cooking process; don't soak them.

 

POTATOES

 

My books say the Russet potatoes are the best for drying, and fresh is best. Old potatoes will have tough, leathery skins and may not taste fresh when rehydrated.

 

Wash potatoes well, peel if desired. Cut as desired; french-fry style in 1/4 “ pieces, or 1/4-1/8” slices, or grate.

 

Steam blanch 4-6 minutes, then rinse well in cool water (may turn black during drying if not properly pretreated).

 

Dry at 125 degrees F for 6-12 hours, until brittle and semi-transparent. Test and store carefully; any lingering moisture can cause the whole batch to mold.

 

Reconstituted, use in soups, casseroles, potato dishes. Very thin slices may be used dried as “chips” with dips.

 

I would guess that if you dried cooked potatoes as "flakes" or grind them, you could use them for mashed, but it would be difficult (IN MY OPINION) to cook and then mash the larger pieces.

 

But then nothing ventured, nothing "learned"!!!

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We have never had good luck drying potatoes.

 

I have a neice who has made a lot of potato chips by drying them, they turned out real good for her.

 

Guess we will have to try it again this fall when the potatoes get dug. So, this is a print out post.

 

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Now with dehydrated foods for storage....would you have to keep extra water? If I had to choose between canning and dehydrating (right now I can't afford to buy either! ), wouldn't they both take about as much space? Because even though the dry stuff is smaller, wouldn't you need the water to reconstitute(sp?) it? just wonderin'...for when I can afford it!

 

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For some things yes, but...

 

That water could be used for other things, or, if the flavors wouldn't clash, you could use water you'd previously cooked/rehydrated something in. So I would think you wouldn't need a whole bunch extra per serving.

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I'm afraid you'd probably have to think about the water. At least with canning, you *have* that extra liquid that can be used - vegetable water for soups & casseroles, fruit liquids for jello, desserts, etc.

 

So it's a consideration.

 

If you're camping or on the move, dried foods can be chewed for snacks/nutrition and carried without breakage worries, though.

 

 

 

TOMATOES

 

I’ve done tomatoes, and I like them powdered best. It’s easy to stir in the amount of powder you need for your recipe, and if you need tomato paste, you can mix just what you need instead of opening a whole can.

 

Low-acid tomatoes, which include many of the newer types, will turn black while drying. My book says to puree those in a blender, and add 1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar per quart to them before drying as a “leather”. Then cut into useable pieces or grind into powder. Dry using kitchen parchment paper or plastic wrap on trays.

 

Varieties with meaty walls are better for drying.

 

Wash tomatoes and core/remove stem. To remove skins, dip them first in boiling water, then immediately in cold water. The skins should slip off easily.

 

Halve cherry tomatoes, slice larger tomatoes into 1/4” slices.

 

Dry at 145 degrees F until leathery or brittle.

 

Use in soups, chili, stews, sauces, or flavoring with other vegetables. Powdered tomatoes can be used as tomato sauce, paste, or catsup.

 

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Mix this as you prefer. For example, I don’t like celery taste as much, so I’d probably use less of the celery flakes & seeds.

 

**********

 

SAVORY SEASONING MIX

 

3 Tbsp dried onion flakes

1/4 c dried parsley flakes

1 tsp powdered garlic

dash of cayenne pepper

3 tsp sea salt

1 tsp seasoned salt (Lawreys)

1 tsp ground pepper

1/4 c dried celery flakes

1/4 c celery seeds

2 tsp dill seeds

2 Tbsp paprika

1/4 c poppy seeds

2 c sesame seeds

3 c grated dried cheese (Parmesan or Romano)

 

Mix all ingredients together. Place in an airtight container & store in a cool, dry place. Makes about 1 quart.

 

Sprinkle on potatoes, casseroles, or salads.

 

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STRAWBERRIES

 

Choose large berries that are intensely red, firm, and juicy, with no soft spots.

 

Wash berries, then cut off green caps and slice 1/4” to 3/8” thick.

 

Dry at 135 degrees F until leathery and crisp.

 

Use in yogurt, pies, pancakes, or plain as a snack.

 

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DRIED GARLIC

 

Cover drying trays with parchment paper or plastic wrap.

 

Peel and finely chop garlic bulbs. Spread onto trays, dry at 105 degrees F until crisp.

 

Store as is or grind to a powder in a blender or mortar & pestle.

 

To make garlic salt, use 1 part garlic powder to 4 parts salt.

 

 

 

PARSLEY

 

Wash parsley lightly under cold running water. Separate clusters and throw away long or tough stems.

 

Spread over drying trays. Dry for about 1 hour at no more than 95 degrees F until crisp and papery.

 

Store in small airtight containers, and crush before using. (Store carefully, as it reabsorbs moisture easily.)

 

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ASAPARAGUS

 

Asparagus does not store well so process as soon as possible.

 

Wash spears and break or cut off the tough end.

 

Slice remainder into 1” pieces. Blanche if desired.

 

Dry at 125 degrees F until brittle.

 

Rehydrated, serve in sauces or soups.

 

 

GREEN OR WAX BEANS

 

Stringless varieties are best for drying.

 

Wash beans and remove the pointed ends. (I don’t know why… )

 

Cut into 1” pieces or slice “French style”.

 

If desired, pretreat by blanching.

 

Dry at 125 degrees F until brittle.

 

Rehydrated, serve as a side dish cooked with pork or ham for added flavor, or combine with other vegetables in soups and casseroles.

 

 

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Did'nt know asparagus could be dried.....iiinteresting......

 

I laughed when i read the green beans.....cuz i did some and man....are they CUTE when they are dehydrated!!

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Yes, debbielee... the housewives used to string them on strings and dry them up near the warm wood-stove-heated ceilings. They laughed, too, and called them "leather britches"!!

 

 

 

SWEET PEPPERS

 

Any sweet pepper can be dried - green, red, yellow, or the newer darker varieties. Choose fresh peppers with thick walls.

 

Remove stem, seeds, and white membranes, then wash and dry peppers..

 

Cut into 1/4" strips or rings, or chop in a blender.

 

Dry at 125 degrees F until leathery.

 

Use dried as flavorings as you would use fresh chopped peppers. Great in dips, casseroles, omelets, etc.

 

 

RHUBARB

 

NEVER eat rhubarb leaves… they are poisonous!

 

Wash rhubarb, trim pulled end and discard leaves.

 

Cut into 1” pieces.

 

Dry at 135 degrees F until leathery.

 

Cook dried rhubarb for sauce, add it to pies, or eat dry as a snack.

 

 

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DEHYDRATING MEATS

 

Somewhere back in time, man learned that laying strips of meat in the sun dried it well enough to preserve it for use during the winter. Later, someone (I like to think it was a smart woman!!) found that hanging the strips in smoke (probably to keep bugs off of it!!) not only improved the flavor but also better kept it from spoiling. Salting meat and fish before drying was also found to retard spoiling and improve flavor.

 

Today we know that the chemicals in smoke inhibit bacterial growth, and the nitrates in salt do the same. We call it “curing” meats. Though you must use care while curing meat, it is still one of the most effective ways to keep meat and fish without refrigeration.

 

The two basic types of dehydrated meats are dehydrated cooked meat and jerky. Both are dried in the same ways.

 

Lean meats and low-fat fish keep well when dried, but fatty ones spoil quickly. Never dehydrate pork; use only lean parts of *cooked* ham. (Pork must be cooked to be sure it’s safe.) Higher-fat fish may be dried, but must be refrigerated and used as soon as possible. So only choose fresh lean meats and low fat fish for dehydrating.

 

Drying cooked meats is a good way to use up leftovers. It keeps meat tender and ready for use in sandwiches, soups, and casseroles.

 

Cooked meat should be lean and thoroughly cooked. If it’s been cooked in broth, drain it and chill it before dehydrating. The chilling allows you to easily remove any fat. Trim fat from the meat and cut into 1/2” inch cubes.

 

Work with small batches and use careful sanitation. Start your dehydrator at 145 degrees F (if you turn it back to 125 degrees toward the end of the drying process, your cooked meat may be more tender). Evenly spread meat on trays, then dry the cubes from 6 to 12 hours, occasionally stirring. Be sure your dehydrator runs continuously until the meat is dry. Cubes will be tough to hard when done (a cooled cube will be difficult to cut if dried). Blot off any oil before storing. To use, soak in broth or water for 30-60 minutes, then simmer until done.

 

BEEF or VENISON: Best dried as cubes for use in stews and soups.

 

HAM: may be sliced into thin slices or cubes. Be sure it is a fully cooked ham and use lean pieces, spreading only one layer deep on drying trays. Use in bean or cabbage soups, casseroles, or flavoring in meat dishes.

 

POULTRY: Never dry duck or goose because the meat is too fatty. Use chicken or turkey cubes in casseroles or soups.

 

 

MAKING JERKY

 

Jerky is one of the most interesting products you can make with your dehydrator. Jerky cures usually center around salt, but you can make up whatever recipe you choose according to your own tastes. Besides salt, you can use soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, tomato or barbecue sauce, onion, garlic or curry powder, liquid “smoke” flavoring, seasoned salt, black or red pepper… whatever sounds good!

 

Pick a lean cut of raw meat with as little fat as possible. Or use leftover cooked meat. A meat slicer will make quick and even slices, but you can partially freeze raw meat to get nice, even slices while it’s firm. If you slice with the grain, it will be chewy; across the grain will be more tender but also more brittle. Cut meat into strips about 1” wide, about 1/4” thick, and as long as you want. Trim off any obvious fat.

 

“Dry cures” are salt and seasoning mixtures rubbed into the meat surfaces. Spread the strips in a single layer on a cutting board or other flat surface. Sprinkle the curing mixture evenly on both sides of the meat strips, then layer the strips on top of each other in a glass or plastic container and seal tightly. Refrigerate overnight.

 

“Brine cures” or marinades combine liquid with the salt and spices. Meat is soaked until the salt is absorbed, usually overnight. Use any kind of salt except rock salt, which may contain impurities. Pour the marinade over the strips, cover tightly, and place the container into the refrigerator. Stir or turn several times to ensure thorough coating.

 

Preheat your dehydrator to 145 degrees F. Shake off any excess cure and spread strips on trays in a single layer. Dry until finished, about 4-12 hours. When cooled, jerky should be like a “green stick”… pliable enough to bend but not break (although across the meat grain *might* break!).

 

BEEF: Flank, round and sirloin are the better cuts of meat to use for jerky. Lower cost cuts will make more waste & cause more work trimming the fat.

 

HAM: Use pre-cooked and processed ham for safety.

 

WILD GAME: Deer, elk, moose and bear cam all be made into jerky. Venison (deer) makes very good jerky because it is so lean. The best cuts are flank and round cuts. Before drying, wild game should be frozen for 60 days at 0 degrees F to kill any disease-carrying bacteria that may be present.

 

POULTRY: This is a great way to use up cooked leftovers! Use the same cures as you use for beef. Because poultry is more fibrous, expect it to be more brittle.

 

HAMBURGER: Start with very lean ground beef, or select a chuck roast and have it ground for you. Rather than curing, just mix the flavorings into a meatloaf-type mixture. For example: to 1 pound ground meat, add 1 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, and 1/4 tsp dried chopped onion.

 

Cover the dehydrator trays with parchment paper or plastic wrap, and roll out the hamburger mixture into a 1/8” layer. Dry for 4 to 6 hours at 145 degrees F. Take out the trays, blot any oil off of the meat, remove paper or plastic wrap, and return meat to trays upside-down. Dry for another 4-6 hours, until hard and leathery. Cut into strips and store.

 

 

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To answer if you can use "plastic Screening" ; YES, it is safe for food.

 

I use it in sprouting tiny seeds, but always steam it after each use. I have used it in my dehydrator too, but so far only on lower temps. ( haven’t cut any fruit of vegies small enough yet to see weather a screen is warranted) ! Plastic screen comes in many sizes, and in some geographic areas, with different sized holes. I have wondered about using the metal screening, ( if I sprayed it with food quality silicon first, but have not tried it yet). The metal screen has MANY sizes of holes.

 

I am thinking of going to a hardware or lumber store, to see if they sell windows in the same size as my dehydrator shelves, ( a Good4you, square one) and then see if they sell a framed storm screen separately. If so, whalla, a small holed screen. I would still spray with silicon, lightly as a precaution.

 

I am new to dehydrating, so am learning as I go.

 

 

 

 

Slicing banana length-wise sound intriguing, I must try it.

 

I an reading these forums with much interest, thanks so much for the many ideas & tips

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Originally Posted By: mrszouave
A Great tip i was taught...from HERE i think........if you use a electric food dehydrator....like i do......go to sewing section of ANY STORE and buy the White Plastic Needlepoint/craft mesh... each sheet is around 60 cents....and all you have to do is Cut it to fit your trays....it stops the smaller foods from going through.....is washable and works like a charm.......the only thing i've found is if you do red peppers.....the color stains....but who cares right?


I just wanted to remind everyone that the plastic needlepoint mesh is NOT foodsafe, therefore it CAN leak 'nasties' into your food.

My grandpa and even my mom has used these in a pinch, but it is DEFINETELY worth the extra money to buy the food grade ones from your dehydrator manufacturer or a cooking store.

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