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Do you Dehdyrate?

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  • Do you Dehdyrate?



    I just ordered a food dehydrator!!! The 9 tray excalibur one - looks like the king of dehydrators. I'm way excited.


    I also ordered a mandoline slicer so I can slice veggies thin to make veggie chips and stuff... (and also to use in regular cooking)


    AND my little sister gave me a stick/immersion blender for Christmas, so I can make fruit purees and stuff and dehydrate it into fruit leather.


    My husband is definitely looking forward to making jerky - and I am too. I've NEVER tried store-bought jerky because of all the nasty ingredients and it always looks "gummy." It's always grossed me out, though real jerky sounds like it might be amazing stuff.


    Maybe try soaked/dehydrated "crispy" nuts?


    So... do you dehydrate? What are your favorite things to make? Do you do it for immediate-ish food / snacking purposes or to "put up" food for later?


    I thought maybe making some dried soup mixes and stuff for emergency preparedness or to give as gifts or stuff (since if the power goes out a fridge-focused way of eating goes out the window).


    So yeah... do you dehydrate? Tell me your stories, favorite things to do, recipes, tips, etc. I'm a TOTAL dehydration newbie.

    Eating lots but still hungry? Eat more fat. Mid-day sluggishness? Eat more fat. Feeling depressed or irritable? Eat more fat. People think you've developed an eating disorder? Eat more fat... in front of them.

  • #2
    1



    I grow tomatoes and apricots in abundance, and dehydrate gallons and gallons of them every summer.


    Some tips:


    Lightly grease the trays before adding anything juicy/sticky (including tomatoes and apricots!), or they'll be quite hard to remove from the tray once dried.


    Rotate the trays (move bottom trays up and top trays down) every day or so to ensure even drying.


    Store home-dehydrated foods in airtight containers in the freezer, since they don't contain preservatives.


    You can dry cherry or grape tomatoes whole, but it'll go a lot faster if you use a knife to poke a few holes in them first.


    Have fun!

    Nightlife ~ Chronicles of Less Urban Living, Fresh from In the Night Farm ~ Idaho's Primal Farm! http://inthenightlife.wordpress.com/

    Latest post: Stop Being Stupid

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    • #3
      1



      Dehydrating is awesome! I usually just make beef jerky, and it does come much better than the store bought kind. My secret ingredient is balsamic vinegar, but the best part is that anything can become a good marinade for jerky.


      Although i havent tried making any, I've had semi-dehydrated strawberries and they were amazing. Tasted like all natural gum drops with crunchy little seeds. I live in south florida and I bought them as a snack at a walmart in Utah on a big road trip, one of the better dehydrated food memories. Tuna Jerky in Sedona, AZ not one of the better ones.


      Mke sure to fill us in on all the experimen-- Recipes!

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      • #4
        1



        Yes, dried strawberries are WONDERFUL. My mom used to make them when I was a kid. They were cheaper then.

        Nightlife ~ Chronicles of Less Urban Living, Fresh from In the Night Farm ~ Idaho's Primal Farm! http://inthenightlife.wordpress.com/

        Latest post: Stop Being Stupid

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        • #5
          1



          I love using my dehydrator!


          We make fruit leather for the boys, and jerky often.


          I've made kale chips, they were cool! Dried fruit too but it's not my fave way to eat fruit...


          I store everything in vacuum seal bags. (I love my vacuum sealer, it keeps everything fresh and I never get freezer burn, so awesome when buying large quantities of meat!)


          I think dehydrating soups would be fun! I'm off to do some research about it!

          The more I see the less I know for sure.
          -John Lennon

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          • #6
            1



            barbey thanks for the oiling the tray tip and the poking tomatoes tip. hehe.


            pankratos, do you have any tips for jerky? ( i love balsamic vinegar...mmmm) I know some people do it with ground meat, and some people do it with slices. I was planning on trying sliced - how thin do you have to cut it?


            And I LOVE dehydrated strawberries - but the ones I can get in the store all have added sugar. I can't wait till summer when strawberries are everywhere around here (and hopefully reasonably priced) so I can dehydrate some!


            lil_em, do you have the special mats for the fruit leather or do you just use parchment paper? My husband (who has a sweet tooth and who should be so excited about the idea of fruit leather) thinks the term 'fruit leather' sounds creepy... haha. So he's not very excited about it. But I'm sure once I make it and he eats some he'll be SO happy.

            Eating lots but still hungry? Eat more fat. Mid-day sluggishness? Eat more fat. Feeling depressed or irritable? Eat more fat. People think you've developed an eating disorder? Eat more fat... in front of them.

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            • #7
              1



              Congrats, you are going to love it!


              We had to upgrade to a 10 tray dehydrator and an industrial meat slicker for jerky making . They have pride of place in the kitchen (we have our dehydrator working hard all the time).


              We slice meat as thin as we can and only season it with a little black pepper (skirt steak works well).


              The dehydrator is also great for drying out leftover sausages for another dry meat snack.

              The "Seven Deadly Sins"

              Grains (wheat/rice/oats etc) . . . . . Dairy (milk/yogurt/butter/cheese etc) . . . . . Nightshades (peppers/tomato/eggplant etc)
              Tubers (potato/arrowroot etc) . . . Modernly palatable (cashews/olives etc) . . . Refined foods (salt/sugars etc )
              Legumes (soy/beans/peas etc)

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              • #8
                1



                I've never tried using ground meat, it sounds like it would have a funky texture. I use a london broil cut and slice it into 1/4 inch slices, slicing different ways (with or across the grain) gives different results. I never do it the same way twice but it always comes good, Worcestershire/soy sauce is what i usually start with and then mix in spices or other flavorings like mustard or honey and then let the meat marinade in that overnight. 6-9 hours in the machine is usually all it takes, i use that window to sample as much of it as i can under the auspice of checking doneness (but its really to avoid sharing).

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                • #9
                  1



                  A woman I worked with made jerky with ground meat. It was really, really good. I still prefer the traditional texture though.

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                  • #10
                    1



                    I have the special mats, but I'm sure parchment paper would work too. Your hubby is going to LOVE fruit leather. Hmmm... maybe ask him if he ever ate fruit roll ups as a child?


                    Ew to ground beef jerky, sliced all the way. If possible ask the butcher to slice your roast super thin for you, and tell him/her that you are making jerky.

                    The more I see the less I know for sure.
                    -John Lennon

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                    • #11
                      1



                      Tarlach, sounds awesome. Just to check (I am pretty sure but want to make sure I'm not dumb) you put the raw meat in the dehydrator right? It's not cooked at all, right? Mmm....


                      Pankratos that sounds good... have you found a brand of Worcestershire sauce that doesn't have corn syrup in it? I'm pretty sure mine has corn syrup and it makes me sad.


                      So we have "as thin as i can" (with an industrial slicer), ask the butcher to slice it "super thin", all the way to "1/4 inch slices"... So what is the range here? How thin is "super thin"/"as thin as I can"?


                      lil_em, i KNOW he will love it... I did tell him it was like fruit roll ups but not made of corn syrup and sugar but with real fruit instead, and he still was cringing at the word "leather." He's so silly... he'll get over it.

                      Eating lots but still hungry? Eat more fat. Mid-day sluggishness? Eat more fat. Feeling depressed or irritable? Eat more fat. People think you've developed an eating disorder? Eat more fat... in front of them.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        1



                        Yeah you put it in raw.


                        We used to get a bit paranoid as our old dehydrator didn't get to 60C+ and we don't use salt or vinegar to kill of any cooties. We started by preheating meat in the oven, but didn't bother after a while.


                        Our industrial slicer lets us go down to about 1mm, so we can have paper thin jerky (it can go thinner but the meat falls apart). We have had it up to 1/2" (and more chewy), but I personally prefer it very thin. You should have you meat very cold before slicing to make it easier (more firm). An hour or two in the freezer can help.


                        Experiment and find what you like best.

                        The "Seven Deadly Sins"

                        Grains (wheat/rice/oats etc) . . . . . Dairy (milk/yogurt/butter/cheese etc) . . . . . Nightshades (peppers/tomato/eggplant etc)
                        Tubers (potato/arrowroot etc) . . . Modernly palatable (cashews/olives etc) . . . Refined foods (salt/sugars etc )
                        Legumes (soy/beans/peas etc)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          1



                          Makes sense. I think I'd probably also prefer it thinner and less chewy too... but we'll probably try it a few different ways before we settle on a favorite.

                          Eating lots but still hungry? Eat more fat. Mid-day sluggishness? Eat more fat. Feeling depressed or irritable? Eat more fat. People think you've developed an eating disorder? Eat more fat... in front of them.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            1



                            The cut of meat, thickness and how it is cut can all result in a completely different product (never mind the seasoning). As a general rule, cheap meat is better thinner and more expensive meat thicker, but it depends upon personal taste.


                            I'm yet to have anything bad come out of out dehydrator.


                            I just love dry meat.

                            The "Seven Deadly Sins"

                            Grains (wheat/rice/oats etc) . . . . . Dairy (milk/yogurt/butter/cheese etc) . . . . . Nightshades (peppers/tomato/eggplant etc)
                            Tubers (potato/arrowroot etc) . . . Modernly palatable (cashews/olives etc) . . . Refined foods (salt/sugars etc )
                            Legumes (soy/beans/peas etc)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              1



                              I have a little 4-tray Nesco dehydrator. I got it because my husband (a letter carrier) is sometimes the recipient of excess backyard produce. I love persimmons, but I can't eat a sack of 60!


                              It works great; fruit is done within 16 hours. I've done persimmons, pears, bananas, apples and pineapple. The only reason I do pineapple is because I dip all the other fruit in the pineapple juice; keeps it from turning brown.


                              You don't realize how much water is in fruit until you cut up a whole sackful of it and then watch it shrink up enough to fit into a small container!

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