My husband got me a dehydrator for Christmas. I was so excited to get started. And then I got sick, for 2 weeks!!! So, learning to dehydrate food had to wait.
I have a list a mile long (not really but man it’s long. . .) of all the foods I want to try dehydrating. I’ve been on a kick to have shelf stable food for a bit and dehydrating food was one of the next steps to take.
There are many foods you can dehydrate, and others may tell you what you should start with when you’re just learning. But I’m here to tell you that, if you know it can be dehydrated and you use that food item in your home, try it! Don’t wait.
Seriously, everyone needs a dehydrator in their home. And I’m saying this after just dehydrating 5 different types of foods.
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What did I decide to try first?
Well very first, I tried frozen corn. It wasn’t what I wanted to try, in fact corn wasn’t even very high on my list to try at first. But, as I said, I had gotten sick and when I finally started to feel better, I just wanted to try my dehydrator.
I read that it’s easy to dehydrate frozen vegetables. They’ve already been washed and blanched, so the prep work was all done. All I did was spread it out on my trays and then turn the dial on my dehydrator.
The other 4 items I dehydrated were:
- Mini marshmallows
- Banana slices
I have a book, Complete Dehydrator Cookbook, that I have used to figure out times and temperatures for the items I dehydrated. So far, it’s been a good reference to have.
I set the temp on my dehydrator for 125 degrees Fahrenheit and planned on 6-10 hours.
In reality, it took over 16 hours.
I didn’t mind that it took longer. I was just happy to use my new “toy”.
I used a 2 lb bag of frozen corn. It filled up all 5 trays on my dehydrator and when it was done, it filled up a quart mason jar 1/2 of the way full.
I plan on using the corn in stews and pot pies and things. I’m actually pretty excited to start using the food.
This is one that I was eager to try dehydrating. I use carrots a lot in soups, stews and pot pies. The idea of having food that I can just throw in a pot until it’s warm and it’s ready to eat is just too good to pass up. So awesome.
I washed, peeled and sliced my carrots. Then I did a quick steam blanch to them (1-3 minutes) before placing on my dehydrator trays.
I set my temp to 125 degrees and planned on 6-12 hours.
Again, in reality it took longer. About 16 hours.
Although I didn’t mind, I was starting to wonder if I was doing something wrong.
I took 6 very large carrots (I bought them at Costco, so they were long and thick. Perfect.) and they filled my dehydrator. In fact, I wasn’t able to fit all the slices on my trays. After I took them out, I put them in a pint mason jar, and it is about 1/3 full.
Dehydrating things sure does make them shrink! Such a space saver!
This one was a fun one for me to try. I’m a sucker for sugar and I love the marshmallows in cereal (don’t hate on me) and when I heard that you can, in fact dehydrate marshmallows and have them turn out like the marshmallows in cereal I knew I had to try it.
I’m here to tell you that they do indeed turn out crunchy like cereal marshmallows. And they are addicting.
This wasn’t something I found in my book, so I had to get advice on others who had dehydrated marshmallows. I found a group on Facebook and started learning.
I grabbed 2 bags of mini marshmallows and started loading up the trays on my dehydrator. It only took 1 bag. HA.
I set my temperature to 120 degrees and planned anywhere from 6-16 hours.
After 20 hours I stopped my dehydrator and took the marshmallows out. I was getting impatient.
Some of them turned out perfect. They have a wonderful crunch to them that is so addicting. Others are a bit soft in the middle and they could’ve used a bit more time in the dehydrator.
Next time, I’ll have them in probably 24 hours.
This is one I tried for my family. I’m not a banana person. I can’t even have them in a smoothie or shake, it’s all I can taste.
I did put them in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes beforehand, so they were easier to slice and not be so soft. I then put them in water with some citric acid to help them not go brown.
Then I loaded up my trays with my 6 sliced bananas (again from Costco so they were HUGE) and they filled my 5 trays beautifully.
I set my temperature to 125 degrees and planned on 6-12 hours.
Reality set it, as I knew it would by now, and it took 14 hours.
I decided to get back on that Facebook page and do some searching to see what others were saying about how long it was taking them to dehydrate food. I quickly learned that what I was experiencing was normal. So, if you find that what you dehydrate is a lot longer that what you read, that’s ok! It’s normal. You don’t want the temp too high otherwise it’ll just scorch your food and that’s something you want to avoid.
These 6 bananas I placed in a quart jar. My husband was quick to try them since I pulled them out when he was home. He loved them. I put some in a smaller jar for him to take to work before I got a picture of how much was in my quart jar. So, I’m not sure how much 6 bananas made. Oh well. That just means I have to try again.
I chopped up an entire bunch of celery, steamed blanched them and then placed them on my dehydrator trays.
I set the temperature to 125 degrees and knew it would be done when it is done.
It ended up taking about 16 hours.
They shrank so much! They barely filled even 1/8 of a pint jar!
What would I do dehydrate again and what else do I plan to dehydrate
All of it. I plan on doing them all again.
I also plan to do a lot more fruits and veggies. I even want to try ground beef.
Be on the lookout for more posts about dehydrating because I am addicted. If you’ve been on the fence about getting one, or if you’ve never even thought about getting one, I highly encourage you to get one. They are fun and it’s so great having even more shelf stable food for my family.
For those of you wondering, this is the dehydrator I’m currently using.
If you’re still looking for more ideas to have shelf stable food, you can can fruits so easily! With very little equipment needed.