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!