This is Food Dehydrating Part 3. If you haven't yet seen parts 1 and 2, they are available on the blog..... there area also links to them at the bottom of this post. In those posts, I discussed dehydrators, different foods that can be dehydrated, and more.In this 3rd part, I want to try to finish up this series.....I think. :)
Another experiment I did was to take some of the dehydrated foods and grind them up in a coffee grinder to make them very fine. I did this with the limes to make a LIME POWDER and it smelled amazing........it can be used in smoothies, make a drink mix using the powder and stevia, or add flavor to foods like cake batter. It is shown here in the little bags...........
I also made some BEEF POWDER by grinding up some of the beef jerky.........it also smelled great and can be used to flavor soups and gravies or more.
The TOMATO POWDER was great for soups and sauces.
The STRAWBERRY POWDER smelled so good! Also great for smoothies, drink mixes, granola, cake batter and more. One thing to remember about the powders is that the smaller particles of the dehydrated foods, as in the powder, will need to be used up sooner as they will lose their nutrient value and flavor more quickly than the regular dehydrated foods. They sure are handy though, and I need to experiment more with how I want to use them.......and preserve them since they are very helpful.
I also dehydrated SPAGHETTI SAUCE with the idea of rehydrating it when needed for a quick food item. It worked well. I put little blobs (about a tablespoon or so) on the plastic trays and lids. When dry, these just peel off.
Another very nice item is FRUIT LEATHER. This was a HUGE hit in my house. The nice thing about making it myself was that it had no sugar at all in it........only fruit. I made some with applesauce and some with strawberries. When using the strawberries, I blended whole strawberries, green tops and all-after they were washed, of course! The strawberry flavor was so strong and no one could tell there were strawberry tops in there. I also mixed applesauce and blended strawberries and all were greatly enjoyed. This is something we will certainly do again as it is a great travel snack.....we carried some with us when hiking and it tasted wonderful, was refreshing and was very easy to carry. After making it on the plastic trays, the fruit peels off and can be rolled in plastic wrap. This will not last forever and should be used in a reasonable amount of time unless you do some long term storage of it, which would be different than just wrapping it.......you would need to do some research to check that out. This fruit leather picture is from current time, which is after 1 1/2 years of storage - I didn't have any pictures of it when fresh. It is a bit dryer than at the beginning and the flavor is not as strong - I would definitely want to use it up quicker or wrap it better .......and maybe freeze it.
KEFIR SMOOTHIE "LEATHER" wasn't as big of a hit, but it worked okay and is something I would do again. Like I said.....I was experimenting. :)
Now, for some pictures of the dehydrated foods when they were fresh..........and again 1 1/2 years later so that you can see the difference in the looks.................
These are some of the pictures of the freshly dried items...........dried in July of 2012.
This starts the pictures of the same dehydrated foods (the ones left!!! :)..............taken Feb 18, 2014 - 1 1/2 years later.
The mixed vegetables look good and the quality is very good.
The peas are also good...
The limes are still browned as they were at the beginning, so I wasn't too hopeful about them.....but when I opened the jar, that wonderful citrus-y smell was there, so we tried them.......eating them was not like eating a fresh lime, but the taste is tart and good. This is something we will do again.
The oranges still look good, smell GREAT, and when I tasted it today...........taste good. :) These are wonderful and we will definitely do this again - the only problem is that the dried oranges take up quite a bit of room in the jar, as you can see.
The broccoli also good......both kinds....
The strawberries are good and smell good and taste good.........they would be better if treated with lemon juice first, so I will do that next time, but these are definitely still good and very useful. They do not pack the "punch" they had when first dehydrated, but are still very good.
The peppers and onions have lasted well......
The shredded zucchini is okay, but has lost some color and
flavor.........remember what I said earlier about the smaller pieces
deteriorating more quickly. Also, these would be better if blanched
first, which I did not do.
The tomatoes still look great - the color is good.......and the smell is also great. :)
The cheese is good - has good color, smell and taste.
The mashed potatoes have darkened a bit, but not terribly so.
The potato chunks (not pictured) have turned darker......they still smell good, but they look so dark that I do not plan to use them.....I will need to figure out how to preserve them better and halt the enzyme action better.
The pineapple is a success! Opening the jar smelled so good......and the taste was wonderful.
The color hasn't changed much.......
All in all, most items have lasted quite well. The reason I state it like this is that for the most part, I didn't use any special means of saving these - just dehydrated them and put them into jars and closed them up, storing them in a cool, dark place for the last 1 1/2 years. With the retention of quality with this little bit of care, imagine how good the quality would be if you added even more care to it.....like using the Oxygen absorber packets or vacuum seal them. Again, I say that dehydrating is a wonderful skill to learn.
Whether you need to preserve an abundance of food that has ripened all at once or some that has been on a great sale, this is a wonderful way to do so. You can also make healthy snacks for your family and more.
I hope you are convinced that dehydrating is a skill that doesn't need to be intimidating and I hope you will try it. Whether you can afford an expensive dehydrator or not..........you can even dehydrate in your oven or make a simple solar dryer from instructions on the internet. For me, this opens so many possibilities in food preservation, saving money and preparing good food for my family.
Thank you for visiting my blog and following this series.
Dehydrating Foods Part 1
Dehydrating Foods Part 2
Dehydrating Foods Part 3
From the Farm
Hearts For Home
Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop
Thriving On Thursday
Wake Up Wednesday
Making A Home
Teach Me Tuesday
Tuesday Garden Party
Roses of Inspiration
Art of Homemaking Mondays
Mostly Homemade Monday
Good Morning Monday
Homestead Barn Hop
The Art of Homemaking Mondays
Tuesdays With A Twist