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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dehydrating Is Fun

I really love dehydrating foods.  It is an easy solution  for storing many things in your long term storage.  Fruits and vegetables don't take up as much room and it is also extremely easy to do.  Folks have been drying foods for centuries.  It doesn't take much equipment and the foods, when dried, can be stored easily and take very little space.  
You can dehydrate most vegetables.  There are of course exceptions to every rule, but generally most will do well when dried. 
   You will need some method of drying your vegetables, something to cut them with and some method of blanching some of your vegetables.  All that means is that you need a dryer, a knife and a big pot of boiling water! 
    People ask what kind of dehydrators they should look for.  Two of the most popular are the Excalibur and the Nesco American Harvester.  The Excalibur is an excellent dehydrator and what I call the "Caddy" (as in Cadillac) of dryers. It is also one of the most expensive ones on the market.  The folks I know who own them wouldn't trade them for the world.  A really nice dehydrator with nine large trays.  The fan is located in the back of the dehydrator and blows air evenly ACROSS the foods.

Nesco/American Harvest FD-80 Square-Shaped Dehydrator    The Nesco American Harvester is a great dehydrator. The cost is less than half of the Excalibur.  It is the one that I own.  I love mine and it does a wonderful job.  It is an expandable dehydrator. What that means is that you can add up to 12 trays or use as few as one.  The fan on the Nesco is at the top of the dryer and blows air down and back up the trays.  It has "vents" in the sides that also help to circulate the air. 
Either of these dehydrators are an excellent choice. The one thing you want in a dryer is to make sure that it has a thermostat.  Some come with timers but in my opinion they are unnecessary. 
   Another dehydrator to consider is a solar dehydrator.  You can buy these already constructed or build one yourself.  There are many plans out there on the internet for building  one yourself.  You may just have things laying around the house that can be turned into a solar dryer.  You could even make a "redneck" dehydrator by using a car in the summertime.  Sounds funny I know, but it can and does work!  Like I said, just do an internet search and you will come up with tons of different ways to make your own dehydrator. 
    As I said earlier, you can dehydrate almost any vegetable and lots of different fruits. Once your garden starts producing ( You do have a garden started right?) you can dry all those vegetables rather than using up your freezer space. 
I'll be doing some more posts on dehydrating in the future.  But if you are looking for more information there are many places on the net.  One of the best is Dehydrate2Store.  Tammy is a dehydrating "guru" and there is much that you can learn from her videos. 
                 ~~~ Hey ... I'm Just Sayin' ...~~~