Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dehydrating Foods-Part 2

I hope that you had a chance to read Dehydrating Foods-Part I. If you haven't yet read it, you can access it here. http://gentlejoyhomemaker.blogspot.com/2014/02/dehydrating-foods-part-1.html  You may need to copy and paste this or search on the blog for the title. I will try to make this easier, but am quite new to this.

Now, on to Part 2..........Like I said before, there are lots and lots of foods that can be dehydrated. Those foods can be used later on in soups, casseroles, breakfast cereals, trail mixes, regular meals and more. This can be a big help financially by buying produce on sale, or harvesting it in season, when you have a lot and then dehydrating it for a later time when the prices have gone back up. It can also save time as you can do quite a bit all at once, with more of an assembly line system, and then have the product to use later. There are many good reasons to dehydrate.

 PEACHES can be dehydrated and then used in snacks, oatmeal, and more. When peaches are in season, there is quite an abundance of them, so these are nice to dry. They do need to be dipped in lemon juice and water before drying and will dry soft and leathery.

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.
 STRAWBERRIES were our VERY FAVORITE treat from the dehydrator. While drying the strawberries, the whole house smells amazing!!!!  They are supposed to be blanched, but we just sliced them onto the trays and dehydrated and 1 1/2 years later, the color has darkened and the flavor is not quite as intense, but they are still a favorite treat here and still smell and taste great. I have several dehydrators and when strawberries were on sale, we did a lot of them. It takes a lot of them to fill a jar and you want to use moderation in using them, but they are so good. It is easy to overeat on dehydrated fruits, so it is good to remember not to eat more dehydrated fruits than you would eat of those fruits if they were fresh.


 KIWI was another fruit that we had and sliced and dried....and enjoyed. :)

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.

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Dehydrating Foods Series:

Dehydrating Foods Part 1

Dehydrating Foods Part 2

Dehydrating Foods Part 3

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Shared on....................


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21 comments:

  1. Thanks for linking up at The Weekend Brew!

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    1. Thank you for hosting the party! I appreciate it. :)

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  2. So many amazing tips and info! I wish we HAD blueberries on the island, for I would definitely dehydrate them for muffins and cakes and cereal in the winter months.

    Have a lovely week!

    Poppy

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    1. I agree - blueberries are wonderful - I tend to freeze many when I can get them, but dehydrate some also. We go through a lot of dried fruit w/ homemade granola and more. Thank you for visiting. :)

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  3. Great post, thanks for the tips. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

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  4. I have been wanting to try my hand at dehydrating ...so thank you so much for sharing this. I have book marked this post and will be re-reading it when I start dehydrating.

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    1. Even if you decide not to dehydrate a huge variety of things.......starting with just a few is so rewarding - glad you plan to start and hope you enjoy it. :) Thank you for visiting.

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  5. Thanks for sharing on Tuesdays With a Twist. Have to read part 3 before I ask my question.

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  6. Some great information. Preserving food is so important and the dehydration is certainly a great way to do it. Thanks for sharing On Real Food Fridays Blog Hop.

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    1. Thank you for visiting..... and for the link up. :)

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  7. Wow, you answered one of my questions here! My first attempt at dehydrating gave me mummified blueberries. They took forever to dry and when done, were pathetic looking. I didn't know to pierce each one! Thank you for sharing all the information, it is so inspiring! I am going to dehydrate a batch of something again soon! :) Please link up part 3 next Monday!

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    1. Jes, I made the same kind of mummified blueberries once before I figured out the piercing them. :) I need to get my dehydrators going again too..... Thank you for your comment and for visiting!

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  8. Hello there! This post has been featured on The Art of Home-Making Mondays for our "Preserving the Harvest ~ Link Up Love". You will find it here:

    http://strangersandpilgrimsonearth.blogspot.com/2014/07/preserving-harvest-link-up-love.html

    Thank you so much for sharing and we hope you join us again next week :)

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  9. Hi, I'm visiting from JES's blog...
    I really enjoyed reading about your dehydrating adventures. I'm inspired to use mine more often. Thank you for sharing.

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  10. This is interesting. I used my mother-in-laws dehydrator this year because we had an over abundance of cherry tomatoes and peppers from the garden. They are working well in soups, so I am looking for a used one to purchase. I never would have thought of dehydrating cheese! I have read that fat causes foods to spoil even if it is dried. Does the fat in cheese not cause it to spoil?

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    1. I don't know.... that is a good question! :) I'm sure it could go rancid like other oils if left too long, but should be okay for short term storage.... although there are probably measures that could be taken to extend the life of it. I will need to check into that more. ..................Glad to hear about your tomatoes and peppers... what a blessing. :)

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  11. This is great information as I am beginning to do some dehydrating. Thanks for sharing on #OMHGWW

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    1. Thank you... I am glad you are starting w/ dehydrating... it is a wonderful thing to do... a big help... and easier than canning, although canning is great too. :)

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  12. Wow. I didn't know you could dehydrate some of these foods. Thanks for sharing with us at Funtastic Friday.

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    1. It is fun to find that there are so many foods that can be dehydrated... and I am sure I still have so much to learn on the subject. :) Thank you for visiting.

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