LIMES were an experiment for me.....I wasn't sure how I would use them, but they were on sale and like I said, I was trying all kinds of things. I sliced them, but they can also be done by leaving them in sections and piercing the sections with a knife.
BEEF JERKY This was my first time to make beef jerky and it was a big hit with my family. My husband loved it and was so pleased with the taste that I had to limit how much they ate. :) There are many different recipes available for jerky and different meats can be used as well. I would carefully follow the directions as you don't want any spoilage. The nice thing about doing jerky is that it is a protein source that can be saved without refrigeration. Jerky is wonderful for hiking and we have taken a small bag of jerky and another small bag of dehydrated fruit and it was quite sustaining. You do need to be sure to drink lots of fluids when you are eating dehydrated foods.
The TOMATOES, ORANGES, WATERMELON AND PINEAPPLE shown in the picture, were discussed in Dehydrating Foods - Part 1. I will say that they all worked out well and have been enjoyed.
These are the Dehydrated Soup Mixes that I made and talked about in Dehydrating Foods-Part 1. This picture just shows a bit more of the layers.......these have worked well for a quick soup to put into the crockpot in the morning and eat for supper.
COTTAGE CHEESE Okay, I realize that this one is rather odd.....dehydrating cottage cheese? Like I said, I was preparing to teach a class on dehydrating foods and was trying lots of unusual foods - there is a bit of the "experimenting scientist" in me. :) Well, it worked and dehydrated well.........but I didn't check for the "official" way to do it, so I would say to use a dehydrating book and follow the directions on such foods. There are many such books available at the library or in preserving foods cookbooks or even online.
ZUCCHINI dries well and can be cut into a variety of forms for drying, depending on how you want to use it later. It does need to be blanched, as do most things. This is shredded zucchini, which can be rehydrated as it is or it could be further crumbled and added to soups or casseroles for a bit of extra nutrients.
COLBY JACK CHEESE This was one of my experiments.......and it took some adjusting....like there is a lot of oil in cheese and I had to use paper towels to soak it up while it dried.......but it was a success. While it won't rehydrate into the same texture as cheese is before drying (the absence of the oils is part of this), it retains the flavor and is great for adding to foods.
I also dehydrated CHERRIES, SPAGHETTI SAUCE, BLUEBERRIES, HERBS and more. Some need a bit of special treatment, but not too much and they are worth doing. For example, when doing whole fruits, like blueberries, you need to pierce each one so that the moisture can evaporate from the fruit.
Most of my dehydrated foods are in recycled jars - you may have noticed pickle jars, salsa jars, jam jars, regular canning jars and more in the pictures. I use what I have. This won't work well for long term storage - meaning years and years, and it could be a problem if you are having to move your foods from location to location or live in earthquake prone areas, but for me they are working great. I was careful about the foods I put into the jars - for example, I did not put those wonderful strawberries into a pickle or salsa jar as they would pick up the leftover smells on the lid and it would make the strawberries not taste as good. For the soups; however, the pickle and salsa jars were great.
After dehydrating the foods and making sure there was no moisture left (which can spoil the whole container), I packed the jars pretty full, then put the lid on. I have been very careful not to open the lids often as each time the jar is opened, you are allowing a little moisture to enter the jar. For that reason, I think that smaller jars of dehydrated foods may be better unless you use a lot of the food up quickly. Keeping them closed up tight allows them to retain their flavor, color and freshness longer.
You can also purchase the keep-dry packets and place them in the jars. I have not done this, but it would work. You can also use a vacuum sealer to vacuum seal the jars and preserve them longer. I plan to use my dehydrated foods within 1-5 years and have not gone to the extra work but may add that at some time.
When I have lots of foods to harvest from my garden or on sale, I can keep my 5 dehydrators running for days to keep up with all of it. It is a lot of work at the time, but such a nice benefit for the rest of the year. No, you do not need 5 dehydrators.....one will do an amazing amount of food. The Lord provided these dehydrators for me at garage sales for very good prices, so I have them and use them - I like to do the big project all at once and get it done and put back away. However, I keep one dehydrator out for longer periods of time for smaller amounts of food and like doing it both ways.
That's all for Part 2..........I will be doing a part 3 that should close this series - I think. I will be discussing how the foods have lasted over the last 1 1/2 years - the quality retained or lost, etc. Also, I will be discussing another form of dehydrated foods and their uses.....I hope you will be able to join me next time. Thank you for visiting. I hope that you have a great day.
Dehydrating Foods Series:
Dehydrating Foods Part 1
Dehydrating Foods Part 2
Dehydrating Foods Part 3
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