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Dehydrating food is a wonderful way to store food
Sun 17-Jan-10
6:50 pm
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shelley
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munch, munch mmmmmmm!

though feel a little guilty as live on an estate in Frnace surrounded by rabbid keep fitters; they all go running at least once, often twice a day for 7-8 km!!  They are good friends as well and asked me (at 15 stone and counting) when I would be joining them!!!!!!

Sun 17-Jan-10
7:52 pm
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Danny
Scarborough, England
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LOL, Shelley. I think that your term "rabid keep-fitters" is so appropriate!

I often console myself (smoke too much, drink too much) that sometimes these keep-fitters keel over at an early age. Well, that is my rationale for continuing to enjoy my vices Big_Laugh

We were discussing the whole dehydrator and dried food thing at home today and we both agree that the benefits are simply superb. Either of us can decide to cook a slow-cooker or normal casserole / stew type supper and we have out-of-season veggies to hand if required. It's fast prep because all the peeling and chopping was done months ago during a glut or while taking advantage of a really cheap market / supermarket opportunity.

Low cost is the key benefit.

Dehydrating is just sheer common sense but it may take us Europeans some time to catch up with our N. American cousins before the population at large starts to reap the benefits.

You can find many of our recommendations and usage here

Never knowingly underfed

Sun 17-Jan-10
8:24 pm
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shelley
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children are already besotted with the dehydrators first offerings of apple and banana; so much for dry and store; more like dry, turn your back and ....oh, where did it go!

Fri 5-Mar-10
9:34 am
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devongarden
Devon, UK

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The last time I used part of a pumpkin I tried dehydrating the rest of it. I didn't precook or peel it, just cut it into pieces about the size I'd want to use in recipes and dried it. I used it in chowder--I have a recipe for fish and red pepper chowder, and have used fresh pumpkin in it before (it  gives the colour and a slightly sweet taste the red pepper would). It worked well, and we didn't even notice the skin. It is a version where the skin is edible normally!

I have looked at some of the dehydrate2store videos and they seem very energy intensive in the way things are cooked, dried, whizzed, processed electrically, when the point of a dehydrator is to save energy!

Fri 5-Mar-10
9:41 am
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JoannaS
Latvia

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I found the pumpkin was okay but the marrow was like a sponge and started sucking up moisture in our rather moist atmosphere we had in the autumn, so they went in the freezer but at least they didn't take up a great deal of space that way. Pumpkin was probably okay due to the higher sugar content I think http://www.cottagesmallholder.com/wp-content/forum...../', 'ok', '1');" src="/forum/wp-content/forum-smileys/ok.gif" alt="Ok" /> (think my smiley went awol)

Fri 5-Mar-10
10:05 am
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danast
Argyll, Scotland

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JoannaS said:I found the pumpkin was okay but the marrow was like a sponge and started sucking up moisture in our rather moist atmosphere we had in the autumn, so they went in the freezer but at least they didn't take up a great deal of space that way. Pumpkin was probably okay due to the higher sugar content I think http://www.cottagesmallholder.com/wp-content/forum...../', 'ok', '1');" src="/forum/wp-content/forum-smileys/ok.gif" alt="Ok" /> (think my smiley went awol)


That's because you are confused Joanna   Whistle

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Fri 5-Mar-10
10:08 am
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JoannaS
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Thu 18-Mar-10
10:39 am
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shelley
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still n ot yet mlaking the best use of my dehydrator; but thought Id give a quick update on the dried apple;

Before f=drying you have to dip the pieces in lemon juice to stop or rather reduce browning; this week I didnt have enough memon juice , so I decided to try lime juice instead.  The result was dried apple with a delicious limey flavour and much less acidic than lemon ones.  Delicious!!   We dont add any sweeteners chez nous as we all find the apple pieces sweet enough, but this taste is by far the best so far. 

Hope to enjoy some more tonight, although last night Joe managed to eat half of all that I had dried in a space of a few minutes (though he tried to deny it!!)  The pieces are just too moreish!!Whistle

Sat 18-Jun-11
10:33 am
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Bib
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I bought a Westfalia Laser 2000 dehydrator last year but have only just unpacked it and although it looks very impressive there are no instructions; I am assuming there should have been some sort of manual with it.   I have emailed Westfalia but am impatient to use it - can anyone give me a quick idiots' guide?    I have picked some sour cherries and want to dry them.   All/any help gratefully received.   Thanks.

Sat 18-Jun-11
10:56 am
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devongarden
Devon, UK

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Debbie, I don't have my guide in front of me, but the main thing is to be sure that what you are drying is not too thick. They say not more than 5mm, I think. Having said that, I did dry whole raspberries that were totally delicious. I think I'd halve the cherries before trying to dry them.

Check every now and then and move the shelves around so they all dry at the same rate--the two at the bottom dries fastest for me, so I move the top two down and the lowest two to the top. I don't leave it on overnight, but I check what I am drying from time to time. I didn't write the times down last year so I will have to start working them out again doh

I did get a mandolin to slice things evenly, and use an apple peeler/slicer for apples and pears--dried pears are truly wonderful! I got this apple slicer from Lakeland.

I am going to experiment with making a dried soup mix this summer, drying slices of veg and then chopping them up or crushing them to make an quick thick soup. I follow a suggestion (Joanna's, I think) I saw on the forum to pour boiling water over the dried veg and let them soak, and then cook them. It improves the final result a lot.

Sun 19-Jun-11
12:40 pm
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Bib
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Thank you.  I decided to experiment - as I said, I am impatient - and I took all but one shelf out.  I'd already stoned the cherries, and they were very small to start with.  They took about 5 or 6 hours to dry.  I must say the machine was noisier than I'd expected, but we've got a utility room so I put it in there.  I'm very pleased with the results.  I seem to remember that dried sour cherries are quite pricey in the UK, and I've never seen them for sale here.  In future I'll wait till I've got lots of stuff to dehydrate at the same time (I found myself wondering how much electricity I was using) but for a first go I was very pleased.  I'll have a glut of plums in a couple of weeks' time, so I'm wondering about dehydrating some of those - there's only so much jam and chutney I can face!   

Sun 19-Jun-11
5:54 pm
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JoannaS
Latvia

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We dried apples last year and they were glorious, much better than shop ones as these had more tang. We had the same problem as Shelley though as they are so moreish but managed to save some and boxed them up for use with breakfast cereal. At the moment I am drying rhubarb which is quite tangy when dried, although I do soak them in some sugar overnight before drying - I am only air drying at the moment as up until today it has been quite dry and the last lot I dried in the sun.

Sun 19-Jun-11
8:35 pm
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devongarden
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Joanna, do you cut the rhubarb into slices, or chunks, or what? I don't have enough this year, but next year there should be a glut, as P has planted about 10 sorts on his new veg (and fruit) patch...

Mon 20-Jun-11
2:26 pm
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Bib
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I fought my way through the nettles into the old orchard today.  Last year we had a measly walnut harvest, plenty of yellow and purple plums, but none of the other trees fruited. We assumed it was because they are all old and untended trees, but today I've found to my delight (and just a little apprehension!) that the pear, apple, hazelnut and peach trees are all groaning with fruit, and there's a fig tree, currently fruitless, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed as I adore figs.  Maybe it will fruit next year if I wrap it up through the winter.  Oh and I found another 3 cherry trees, all laden, but I just can't face any more cherries this year, so the birds can have them.   Anyway, the point of this post was that now I can look forward to all sorts of dried fruits thanks to the dehydrator, and not be quite so overwhelmed with fresh fruit.   I'm sure I remember reading that you should soak the fruit in lemon juice first - is that right?   Sounds like a lot of lemon juice, and doesn't it make everything too sharp?  Thanks, as ever, for everyone's generous help.

Mon 20-Jun-11
2:44 pm
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veronica
France

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Can't face more cherries??? Noooo ... I love cherries! And if you don't want to eat them immediately, they make fantastic compote, which freezes really well. The forum editor doesn't seem to be working for me, so here's the link:
http://www.larecettedujour.org/2010/07/cherry-compote.php

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