Popular Ways to Dry or Dehydrate Fruits and Veggies
I love, love, love to have a fully stocked Pantry ... opening the door to see shelves of preserved foods and produce.
Dried fruits are a wonderful way to take advantage of the cheap fruit and veg at the end of the season and have them on hand to enjoy all winter long.
People who grow their gardens each year hope that the garden will supply enough fruits and vegetables to be able to save some for the winter months.
Some people choose to can their surplus while others freeze.
I blanche and freeze, I make jams and jellies, and I love bottling preserves and whole fruits.
Right now I'm enjoying some peaches I stewed and froze, that I heat with a few prunes thrown in, and sometimes some apples as well... YUM... a wonderful warm breakfast for freezing winter mornings.
I also have a stack of bags filled with dried bananas. It means I can throw them into stewed fruits like above, or I just soak them and use them in my porridge... another great breakfast, and drying food absolutely could not be simpler to do!!
I slide my thumb down the length of the banana and split it into three long strips, and put them in the dehydrator.
When they are dried and rubbery these banana strips taste like a chocolate and caramel Mars Bar - I promise you - They also make a great lo cal diet snack as they are chewy and tasty.
Have you considered ways to dry/dehydrate fruits and vegetables as an alternative to canning or freezing?
You can dry food in a number of ways:
* Sun Drying
* Solar Drying
* Oven Drying
* Dehydrator Drying
To effectively dry food it is necessary to have the right combination of low humidity, air current and warm temperatures.
Sun drying is probably one of the oldest ways to preserve food but it depends on the temperature, weather and relative humidity.
If you plan to use this method to dry vegetables, it is imperative to do so when there will be 3-5 days of warm temperatures and sunshine.
While this is method is free, it takes so much longer.
Solar drying is similar to sun drying but it is also different.
Solar drying is accomplished by creating a box with a glass lid, solar oven or placing the vegetables in the car window.
You’ll have better luck if you have a long stretch of sunny days, but you must leave the windows open to allow for air circulation.
This method is quicker than sun drying, but there is still a better way.
Oven drying is an option you may only want to consider for small-scale drying of 4 to 6 pounds of vegetables at a time.
However, this method is not free as the oven will have to remain on the entire time the vegetables are drying.
This method will take longer than a dehydrator and you have to rotate the trays to ensure even drying.
You also may have difficulty maintaining the necessary 140 degrees in your oven or won’t have the proper air circulation.
Dehydrator drying is probably the best way to dry fruits and vegetables.
Most dehydrators allow you to expand the number of trays; they are sturdy, safe and much quicker than any other method.
They provide a constant heat source, you can set the temperature, and the fan allows for even air circulation.
If you’re considering drying or dehydrating the bounty from your garden, consider the four different ways. Some of the methods are free but they will require a good amount of time.
I prefer to use the oven to dry things like my tomatoes to put in oil, but I use my electric dehydrator for cabbages and bananas etc.
And it is very simply to slice up apples and skewer them onto a long bamboo stick... I sprinkle them with cinnamon and hang them on the corner of my wire on the dog run walls... the heat and sun of summer dry them out til they are rubbery and I vac pack or put them in a jar or plastic bag.
Easy peasy... no excuses or expertise needed to get started drying your own foods
Other methods will cost money but they are much more effective and the results are predictable.
The choice of which method you use is entirely up to you.
Every year, a lot of people can and freeze foods to ensure they have the foods they love on hand when winter rolls around and they are out of season.
To learn more about how you can start preserving foods visit the section here about how to preserve foods by canning and freezing them.
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