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Any opinions on dehydrating food for winter

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  • Any opinions on dehydrating food for winter

    I usually have more than we can eat from my garden in the summer. I freeze some vegetables for winter use. I was wondering about using a dehydrator for excess veggies -- maybe make veggie chips or dried tomatoes? Does any one use a dehydrator? Recommendations?
    Starting Weight: 197.5
    Current Weight: 123
    Far healthier!

  • #2
    no recommendations, but i have a mr. coffee dehydrator that i DON'T like. if you can swing for something more expensive, look for temperature controls and make sure you can customize the amount of space between racks. if you click that link, you can see that the racks stack on top of each other. the space between the racks is so tight that you can only dehydrate foods that are thinly sliced. there's also very little airflow and you have to rotate the racks periodically so all of the food dehydrates. my dad has one similar to the box-type on this page. it works quite a bit better, because there's adequate spacing between the racks, and the airflow is horizontal rather than vertical.

    alternatively, you can build your own solar-powered dehydrator. i will probably end up doing this.
    my primal journal:
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum...Primal-Journal

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    • #3
      You can use your oven to dehydrate food. Read the basics here.

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      • #4
        I have that same dehydrator, and I love it! Weird.

        I use mine all the time now. I've been making apple chips, zucchini chips and jerky.

        My friend actually makes soup mixes using her dehydrator and prepackages them to use through the year, all from her garden. I wanna be like her when I grow up.
        SW: 235
        CW:220
        Rough start due to major carb WD.

        MWF: 1 hour run/walk, 1.5 hours in the gym - upper/lower and core
        Sat/Sun=Yard/house work, chasing kids, playing
        Family walk every night instead of everyone vegging in front of the TV
        Personal trainer to build muscle mass & to help meet goals

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        • #5
          My friend got an Excalibur and I lust over it. I desperately want one for myself.

          +1 on the soup mixes. I would love to make some of those this fall.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by elorajade View Post
            I have that same dehydrator, and I love it! Weird.

            I use mine all the time now. I've been making apple chips, zucchini chips and jerky.

            My friend actually makes soup mixes using her dehydrator and prepackages them to use through the year, all from her garden. I wanna be like her when I grow up.
            hmmm...weird. maybe i expect too much of it. i'm able to overpack the old one my dad has, but not the mr. coffee one.

            diana- the excaliber looks really nice, it's on my wishlist.
            my primal journal:
            http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum...Primal-Journal

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            • #7
              I dehydrate all the time. I buy an extra bag of walla walla's when they are in season JUST to dehydrate. Fanfreaking tastic. I have the really common one...the round one. Spacing on the brand. MTA: nesco

              One of my favorite things to do is slice an onion thin, a red bell pepper thin and then fill up a couple trays with zucchini. (cause you KNOW you are always looking for ways to use up the damn zucchini!) Dehydrate it all, run it through the spice grinder....makes a fantastic dip seasoning packet!

              Dehydrated zucchini can have a strong taste on its own (although RIGHT out of the dryer I like it as a chip) but ground and added to soups and stir fries it adds nice flavor.

              I dry tomatoes all the time to use to thicken sauces and stews. Cherry tomatoes make a good snack.

              I do freeze almost all of my dehydrated produce. I find it lasts longer and some produce (hello zucchini) is a little sponge and will rehydrate and go bad. But compared to freezing the original stuff it hardly takes any room at all.
              MTA: because it is rare I dont have more to say

              "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - my daughter Age 7

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              • #8
                runner gal, that dip sound like a fantastic idea!
                my primal journal:
                http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum...Primal-Journal

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                • #9
                  Thank you all for sharing your experience with various models and uses. I think this will definitely be a kitchen addition this year. I'm going to beat those zuchinnis yet!
                  Starting Weight: 197.5
                  Current Weight: 123
                  Far healthier!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Diana Renata View Post
                    +1 on the soup mixes. I would love to make some of those this fall.
                    This was goign to be my suggestion too.

                    Also, dehydrated cabbage leaves make excellent, crispy chips...I like them as an alternative to kale chips.
                    carl's cave

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                    • #11
                      The excalibur dehydrators are the BOMB! But they are also bit pricier than some. I have a NESCO brand one that I snagged from our thrift store and I like it too. Having a temperature control is a must, a timer is nice but I just plug mine into a timer outlet thing if I need it to shut itself off. The excalibur is nice because you can choose to leave some trays out to dry thicker sliced foods or flowers, etc. The NESCO one I have is the standard stacks on top of itself style. But it has a decent amount of space between the trays and I can buy extra trays if I ever find myself needing to add to the capacity of my dryer.

                      I have dried: apples, bananas, carrots, blueberries, raspberries, tomatoes, Jerky (lots of jerky lately!), yogurt, fruit leathers, peaches, mangos

                      Its fun!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Saoirse View Post
                        hmmm...weird. maybe i expect too much of it. i'm able to overpack the old one my dad has, but not the mr. coffee one.

                        diana- the excaliber looks really nice, it's on my wishlist.
                        This is true. I cannot overpack it. I find it works best dehydrating veg and fruit, but with jerkey, its a fine line between underdone and overcooked. I do want to buy a newer one, and keep this one for when I ramp it up in the summer.
                        SW: 235
                        CW:220
                        Rough start due to major carb WD.

                        MWF: 1 hour run/walk, 1.5 hours in the gym - upper/lower and core
                        Sat/Sun=Yard/house work, chasing kids, playing
                        Family walk every night instead of everyone vegging in front of the TV
                        Personal trainer to build muscle mass & to help meet goals

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          i have an excaliber dehydrator from my raw vegan days(don't hate) and i love love love dried tomatoes. truthfully i haven't used it recently but next summer/fall i hope to make use of it and dry lots of stuff for the winter.
                          journal

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