Monday, August 27, 2012

Dehydrating Lately?!

I have mentioned before about the benefits of dehydrating.  I have been a busy bee dehydrating different foods.  As you can see from the pic, I have a variety of things.  The L'Equip Profilter Dehydrator is WONDERFUL!! :)  Remember the sale ends Sept. 9th!! It is only $129.99.

I had grapes that were on the sour side and the kids weren't eating them.  I knew they would simply spoil so I rinsed the grapes and spread them on the dehydrating trays.  Voila!  Raisins which now are sweet to eat.  No need to let fruit spoil when the kids decide they don't want to eat the fruit or it didn't have quite the succulent flavor you were hoping for when you bought the fresh produce.  Dehydrate it!

My grape picture went into cyber space when we edited looked awesome.  Oh well! :)

Since I had the dehydrator going, I added a tray of pineapples.  Dehydrated pineapples are like eating candy!  Dehydrated pineapple is a great lunch box item for your kids.  I also had fruit leather going on other trays.  Do see how fun the Profilter Dehydrator is?  You can do multiple foods at the same time.  Hurray for ease and good food.

Not to think I am only stuck on fruit, I have been dehydrating celery and herbs to make my own seasonings.  There is nothing better than fresh seasonings to flavor your foods.  The seasonings you buy in the supermarket are old and expensive.  You have to use a lot more seasonings to make the food have the taste you are reaching for.  Fresh seasonings enhance your foods.  Here are some of my concoctions: 

Italian Seasoning with equal parts of  basil, rosemary, oregano, and thyme.  Grind them in your coffee grinder or simply crush the herbs in the palm of your hand to give the chopped herb texture.

You don't want to dry a lot ahead because your fresh flavor given with your freshly dehydrated herbs will give you great ingredients for about 6 months.  Does this mean you can't dry herbs and keep them for long term storage? No. This is just a way to keep optimum flavor for your seasonings.  8 oz. = 1 oz. dried herbs.  Most herbs can be harvested through the entire growing season.  Cut 2/3 of the plant may be cut, leaving the rest to grow.  Just make sure you prevent them from flowering so you can continue to harvest the wonderful herbs.

Herbs will be brittle and crumble easily when dried.  Some leaves will darken in color but that does not affect the flavor.  You can leave the dried herbs on their leaves, stripped from the stem or crushed.

Celery: dry and keep whole.  OR you can grind them in your coffee mill to make a celery powder for fresh spice

You can make your own

Here is an easy reference to know how to dry different herbs and veggies.

Herbs  126°
No treatment necessary
2-6 hours
Rinse the herbs thoroughly and pat dry. Place on the dehydrator trays and spread out evenly. Use a coffee grinder to blend for homemade spices. Store airtight.

Vegetables  135°
Wash all vegetables thoroughly. Cut as desired, trying to make them the same size and thickness. Using a steam basket dip them into a pot of boiling water for 10-20 seconds and remove immediately. Dip in ice cold water to stop the cooking. Drain off and line the dehydrator sheets. You can pack these pretty tight. If you have more than 4 trays you will want to rotate the trays once or twice during drying time.Vegetable will shrink very small. Should be close to feeling brittle. Store in an airtight container.

Blanching/Steaming (not all vegetables require this. Carrots and celery work best when blanched to retain their color.)

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