Dehydrating - it really is easy!!! Most people think about herbs and things like onion - but you can dehydrate about anything. There are many types of dehydrators out there - from non-expensive models to super expensive. You can also use your oven (lowest temp), air, or sun. Many, many ways to do it. I have a very inexpensive dehydrator I got a few years ago and it works fine. No timer (except me checking!). It does what I need it to do. I have also used the air method (hanging herbs) and the oven.
I love making powders of all sorts. They are fantastic for seasoning and flavoring things. I have done a lot of items that people just don't think about. It really is fun to experiment.
TIP - if things dry small and fall through racks - think about using parchment cut to size of your racks. I do this for many, many things. Center is open - but racks are covered!!!
- You can dehydrate frozen veggies and fruit you buy. It is shelf stable and frees up space in the freezer (could powder - but just mentioning you can dehydrate these)
- I dehydrate mushrooms when I find a super deal. They are great in any dish or I can re-hydrate in no time and just sautee' I do powder some of them as well - to add to homemade cream of mushroom soup jar recipes
- You might want to 'measure' as you dehydrate - as things drastically shrink!!!!!! I place a slice zucchini per rack and then when done - I bag ONE zucchini. A whole stalk of celery measures out to about 1/2 of a half pint when dry!!!! Know your measures, so you don't add too much to a recipe. *** Just basic dehydrating fact you should remember!
- My first powder I ever made was tomato powder from scraps and skins of tomatoes that I was canning - thus using everything. It adds great flavor and color to soups and other dishes.
IDEAS for powders
- Fruit - powders are great to use in smoothies. Also add for extra flavor to Jello and puddings. Fruit dip is wonderful - add to sour cream or cream cheese. Top you yogurt or oatmeal with fruit powder and get extra vitamins
- Home canned pickles that have gone soggy (not crisp). Pat dry and then dehydrate. Great for making dips and adding to salads and salad dressings
- If doing garlic or onions - it is advisable to set your dehydrator outside (under cover, so it doesn't get wet). Those items are very aromatic!!!!!!!!
- Dry herbs, onion, garlic, celery, tomatoes, etc. to make your own seasonings. I love homemade seasonings. I make up my own mixes. Sometimes I add salt - other times not. There is no right or wrong mix - GET CREATIVE
- Peppers, squash, celery broccoli leaves and scraps, cabbage leaves, asparagus ends....... can all be dried and powdered. Add to soups, casseroles or any where you want to secretly add veggies!!!!
- If you grow okra - you know they can get big and woody over night! Don't throw those out. Dry and grind and use for a thickening agent in soups and stews!!! It is natural, has vitamins, doesn't really add any taste and NO it isn't slimy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Dried fruit makes great snack for kids and adults alike. It lasts and it gives great vitamins. Many kids like dried fruit over fresh. You can also dehydrate fruit leathers!!!!!!
Dried tomato skins (these were done in oven on lowest temp). Cool and grind - I have coffee grinders that get used for this (found them for $1 at yard sales). Jar up and ready to use! So much flavor added to things
I love drying tomatoes, peppers, celery, mushrooms and SCRAPS!!!!! Scraps from ends of broccoli, cabbage, peppers bits, asparagus ends, apple skins, peach skins (after fuzz washed off)........ you name it!
I use in soups and recipes. I make lots of dips and spreads. Great to add to cheese balls. So many uses.
Don't waste what can be used in another way! Groceries are expensive. Seasonings are expensive. Vitamins are expensive. Add you own and make your own from what nature gives us.
Waste NOT and want NOT!
Love dehydrating, too! An inexpensive tip ... If your dried herbs (or whatever) tend to fall through the dehydrator trays, buy a yard of fiberglass window screen at your local hardware store and cut them to size to fit your trays. This allows for the circulation needed to dehydrate, but your oregano no longer falls into your basil or parsley. My hardware carries both light and dark gray screen material, and I bought the dark (thinking it would prevent me from seeing any staining). But, I couldn't see my pencil / pen marks for cutting to size. If I had to do it all over again, I'd go with the lighter color.ReplyDelete
Good idea. I tend to use parchment paper - but the screen is a great idea. I have heard of people using the the mesh that is used for needle point (?). I think there are probably a lot of good ideas to keep things from falling through!Delete
Thanks for clarifying that the dehydrated okra is not slimy! ha! I need to do herbs this year. We had a fairly expensive (to me) dehydrator and it didn't live up to its hype. Our Brevile oven had a dehydrating cycle. Might try it with herbs as we have an abundance.ReplyDelete
Just came in from weeding and making room for some hostas to be moved. Mighty sticky out there. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.
You are welcome - I am sure that is the first thought with many people about the dried okra!!!Delete
You could also just bundle and hang your herbs - they take no time to dry that way. I just use the 220* setting in my oven if I use oven.
Brave woman weeding in this heat and humidity. UGH! It is so oppressive.
I have never done powders, but it is good to know I can.ReplyDelete
You will become addicted - trust me. So much fun!!Delete
I have never done powders, but seems like a great idea. Thank you for sharing.ReplyDelete
You will love it. SO many uses.Delete
Cheryl, you remind me of my mother. When it came to food, she was not only creative, she was fearless! I admit I didn't like everything single thing she made...but she did, and that's what counts! She looked forward to her next meal until the day she died, and I bet you will, too. I think that's great! I know lots of widows give up cooking when their husbands die, and TBH, I don't think they do as well as those who continue to cook for themselves, try new things, use up leftovers, etc. My mom was actually excited about cooking things my father wouldn't eat.ReplyDelete
What a lovely compliment!!!! Thank you.Delete
I love food!!! What can I say? I was taught to not waste as well. Sure there are things I just don't like - but not many. I start thinking about dinner for tomorrow - today!!!
I didn't cook for a while after hubs passed - just a sandwich or little salad or junk. Then it hit me, I hope to have a lots of years left, so better take care of myself. I know we don't know our days - but I am pretty darn healthy, so here's hoping!
I have been dehydrating for years and love it. I dehydrate extra veggies harvested from the garden, my herbs, fruit when I can get a great sale on it. I have even been known to dehydrate beef (jerky, dried beef to use in recipes).ReplyDelete
I have done jerky as well. Good stuff for sure.Delete
It is really fun.
You must be a really good, nutritional cook, Cheryl.ReplyDelete
LOL - I wouldn't say that. I just try! I do have those bad moments like everyone and eat junk!Delete
I was just taught not to waste.
I was so sad when my old dehydrator died. I found another one at a garage sale this year but the motor was shot. It has the big trays so I contacted the company and they will sell the motor unit/base separately. I plan to use any bday $$ I get to purchase or maybe I'll find it at the thrift store or Craig's List.ReplyDelete
I use mushroom powder in meat dishes or dips. Green powder in soups, hidden in more highly seasoned dishes, in smoothies. Tomato powder can be reconstituted into tomato paste (for when I only need a tsp and don't want to open a whole can) or sauce as well as adding to the above ideas. Dried veg, fruit, herbs, yogurt drops for snacks. So many uses and ways to free up food storage space in pantry or freezers.