Are you interested in preserving food items for the future? Dehydration is an excellent way to do so. People prefer to maintain their food through dehydration for various reasons such as preventing wastage, less expensive than purchasing dehydrating food and safety. Plus, the food is lightweight and becomes more nutritious. Some of them such as banana chips are too delicious, and they do not need much space to store.
However, in case you are interested in dehydrating your food items, there is a need to get a good dehydrator. At the same time, before dumping everything in a dehydrator, you need to know a few essential things. Check out these crucial points before dehydrating food items at home.
1. Air-dry or use an oven in case you do not have a dehydrator at home
You can air-dry carrot tops, lettuce, oregano, balm, lemon and any other type of green-mint and leafy vegetables. In fact, it is easy for you to dry the herbs. You just need to hang these products in a room that is dry. While trying this technique, only see to it that the herbs do not come in direct contact with the sunlight. The herbs’ size will determine how long will it get them to dry completely. You should ensure that the herbs are crisply dried so that they crumble very easily.
2. Learn how your dehydrator functions by reading the instructions properly
You can classify the dehydrators into three main categories such as back can, top fan and bottom fan. Some people recommend going for a dehydrator with a rear fan as it helps in even drying. Although your dehydrator features a rear fan, the trays should be moved around to make sure that the drying is consistent and even.
3. Dehydrate a single category of food item at a point of time
While you are dehydrating your tomatoes, hot peppers can also be dehydrated at the same time, but your tomatoes can become spicier. Brassicas vegetables need to be dried separately else their taste will penetrate into other food items. While you can mix fruits, it is not recommended to combine them with smelling or strong-tasting vegetables.
4. Certain veggies should be blanched prior to dehydrating them
While it is not mandatory to Blanche food, following so will ensure that the colors are brighter, the vitamins are retained in them as well as there is a fresher taste in your dehydrated food after rehydrating it. You merely need to put the food into the boiling water for some minutes and put them into cold water so that they do not get cooked.
5. It is possible to dehydrate any vegetable or fruit irrespective of their ripeness or quality
When the fruit is excessively soft and ripe, it is always possible to purée it and then dry the purée. While using superior quality veggies and fruits lead to high quality dried food items, you need to remember that your key goal here is to preserve the food and not to achieve perfection. Hence, do not be scared to dehydrate the slightly damaged, overripe and bruised food products. You only need to ensure that you dehydrator has no mold in it since if it spreads inside, the remaining food will get infected.
6. Use tricks to ensure that the process of drying is uniform
If you are drying a single family of food, a few tricks will ensure the evenness of the drying process. Make sure that the vegetables and the fruits are sliced or chopped with a similar thickness. Avoid overlapping the pieces of veggies or fruits since the airflow gets blocked, thus preventing them from drying. An exception to the rule is the greens since they can dry quickly and are loose.
7. Place the dehydrator in a well-ventilated space in case you plan to dry onions or hot peppers
Not only that, be ready to scrub the trays of your dehydrator with water and soap after the procedure. Oils tend to become airborne during the initial phase of the dehydration procedure with peppers and may irritate your eyes. Oil residues may be on the trays too, Hence, take care while cleaning the trays and also when packing your dried peppers. However, onions are even more airborne as compared to the peppers. Hence, you need to ensure that there is ample ventilation around your dehydrator while you work with them.
8. Fruit purée is an excellent way to eat and store funny shapes, damaged and overripe fruits
You can make delicious fruit leather from small apples apart from berries, peaches, and overripe plums. It is also possible to combine apples with many other fruits to create a flexible fruit leather, which is apt for delicious snacks and for generating emergency energy.
Suppose you are not interested in taking a dedicated accessory tray for purée with a dehydrator, cover your standard tray with cello wrap and use it to dry the fruits. However, always ensure that the leather is flipped after the top is dried if you are using the cello wrap. It is to make sure that both sides get entirely dried up.
9. Different food items will require varying dehydration temperatures
Check the thermostat of your dehydrator and ensure that it is accurate before starting drying fish or meat. Plus, always make it a point to clean the dehydrator before different families of food items. It can also be between drying any veggie or fruit and fish or meat.
10. Berries, grapes, and blueberries may be a challenge for dehydrating
These are compact and yet are a contained unit. Many berries are adequately small to be dried, but large grapes need to be cut into two pieces. In case seeded grapes are to be dried, cut them into two pieces so that the seeds can be removed and then start drying them. Meanwhile, it is easy for the berries to get over-dried. Hence, you need to watch and ensure that they continue to be not too crispy and are slightly supple.
11. Wastage is minimal when you use a dehydrator
When you use a dehydrator to dry your food items for preservation, your wastage can be reduced to a great extent. If you have an excess of late-season supply of greens, carrot tops, chard or lettuce, it is easy to merely dry them all and then powder them using your food processor. Thus, you can easily store your vitamins powder for the late winter stews and soups.
12. Use a dehydrator to prepare special foods
It is possible to prepare unique food items using your dehydrators such as kale chips for stowage or snacks.