Have you tried your hand at dehydrating yet? I have dried my tomato skins for years - using the oven. Last year I got a dehydrator and I LOVE it! Mine is not a top of the line or super expensive one (well, I probably didn't need to say that - LOL), but it sure does work.
So, don't feel you have to spend a ton of money to practice dehydrating. You CAN use your oven or even a toaster oven. Herbs can be air dried.
DON'T be intimidated by dehydrating - it is so easy!
There is really nothing that can't be dried! I have read about people dehydrating cottage cheese, mashed potatoes, noodles, cream cheese, watermelon, scrambled eggs. etc.
Fresh fruit and veggies are pretty darn easy. FROZEN fruit and veggies can also be done - so as to make more room in your freezers for meat and prepared meals.
Those who home can know that after a couple years - if you haven't used your home canned items, they start getting a limp or different. DON'T throw these things out!!! You DO have options.
I have pickles that are getting older and are no longer crisp - well I am dehydrating them. YES, pickles! I will be draining, cutting into smaller pieces, and dehydrating. Those pieces can be used for;
Grind into a powder and use in sour cream as a seasoning
Dill pickles are naturally salty - grind and use as pickle salt on popcorn or zucchini chips or homemade potato chips
SWEET pickles an be dried and used the same ways or eat as pickle chips! (Dill are really waaaaay salty for that - they don't taste great as chips - too intense).
The same thing can be done with peppers - hot or sweet- that have been home canned. After a while they tend to get limp or mushy - don't throw them out - dehydrate. They can be used in small bits and pieces in all kinds of recipes or you can grind them up as well.
There is no limit to things you can use veggie powders for. Any veggies powders would be great in dips, dressings, or in soups or gravies for extra flavor.
Fruit powders would be great as extra flavor in any fruit dish, Jello, cakes, candy or in smoothies.
There are parts of things that we don't tend to use. I used to always get rid of the stems of mushrooms. Now I dry the stems (separately) and grind them up. The mushrooms I slice. I also like to dehydrate older woodier okra pieces and grind (for soup thickener). I dry the big tougher stalks from broccoli and the leaves, as well as the big leaves from cabbage - grind and add to dishes.
You can de-seed squash that has gotten too big and dehydrate, as well as peeled and de-seeded cucumbers peels are usually bitter on big cukes). Both can be seasoned and used as chips - or powders, or in soups.
Leftover celery at the holidays can be dried, as well as celery leaves. Dry stale bread and make croutons or dressing bread. I keep gallon jars of bread for dressing - ready at any time.
Leftover cooked veggies can be dehydrated (as well as store canned). Place all kinds of different veggies in jars for a great soup mix!
Jerky is another favorite that I make from time to time. That is by far a favorite of G.
Don't throw odds and ends away - don't throw away canned goods that are limp or a little older - don't throw away stale - USE WHAT YOU HAVE!
The more we use of what we have - the less money we have to spend!
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE ITEM TO DEHYDRATE?
Experiment and have fun!!!!!!