Here is another installment in my dehydrated foods series. Check out my other posts in the series, Top 10 reasons why I love dehydrated fruits and veggies and how to rehydrate fruits and veggies.
We dehydrated our veggies using an Oster dehydrator this past summer. We dehydrated zucchini, cucumbers, green bell peppers, hot wax peppers, cayenne peppers, anaheim peppers, strawberries, apples, peaches and tomatoes. Anything we had left over or couldn’t eat before it went bad, we dehydrated it.
Robert and I used the Ball Book of Canning as a guide for how to cut the fruits and veggies, how to dip them to prevent browning and how to tell when they are done. I wish we had written down how long it took for everything to dry, but we did not. I do remember everything taking a really long time though.
We tried to dry everything until it was crispy because we figured it would keep better and longer that way. For instance our peaches were cut thin and are dry enough that you can snap them in half. Yeah, we all like the store bought variety that is soft but we wanted these to last… forever.
Fruit leathers are another great way to use your dehydrator. The only downside is that some recipes say to refrigerate the leathers. This defeats the point of having something shelf stable in our opinion. But they do taste great.
We have also dehydrated tomatoes in the oven. We followed a recipe but it went something like this. Turn oven to lowest temperature, insert a spoon or fork in the door of the oven to keep it slightly ajar, cook tomatoes for something crazy like 24 hours. We really enjoyed the tomatoes made this way, but it was a hot option especially in the summer. It is necessary though when you have a bumper crop of tomatoes all ripe at the same time. You can really fill up your oven, more than will fit in the dehydrator.
Make sure to have a well ventilated space for your dehydrator because some of the vegetables get quite stinky. The hot peppers for instance will not only make your house stink but burn your eyes as well. We do these in the garage. The fruits are much more pleasant so the basement or spare room works great. The dehydrator is also kinda noisy so finding just the right spot can be tricky.