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Dehydrating food is a wonderful way to store food
Mon 20-Jun-11
3:01 pm
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Bib
Croatia

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I love cherries too Veronica - but in the last 10 days or so they have defeated me.  I gave up weighing last week's harvest when I got past 30 pounds.  I've made 2 types of cherry jam, have 3 great big jars of cherries in syrup as a precursor to making cherry brandy, cherry cordial and cherry liqueurs, we've had raw cherries, cherry compote, cherries with yoghurt, dehydrated sour cherries and I'm now 4 days into making glace cherries.  And all that was before I discovered today's trees!  Thanks for your link though, all information is always gratefully received and that does look like a very tasty recipe; I will save it for next year, but I have limited freezer space right now (I really need to acquire a chest freezer) and what little space is left is reserved for spinach, courgettes, beans and other veg to see us through the winter.   Next year I will be better prepared and more organised.  (I hope).

Mon 20-Jun-11
3:12 pm
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veronica
France

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I would be interested in saving freezer space by drying cherries if I had that many (I can dream, can't I!). Trouble is, you'd have to stone them all first ...

Mon 20-Jun-11
4:06 pm
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JoannaS
Latvia

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Bib said:

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.

I use citric acid which is readily available here in Latvia rather than lemons which are a bit hit and miss at times. It doesn't make fruit too sharp at all but then again we like a tang.

Tue 12-Jul-11
10:24 am
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Hattie
Bucks/Oxon Border

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My dehydrator has just arrived....I ordered one from Lakeland as I know if anything goes wrong with it they will replace it without a quibble. I think this is a good idea as obviously it will be running for long periods.

I have been doing a lot of research as the instruction leaflet is a little sparse on advice & tips. 

This link was very helpful with the basics. I know a lot of us think the Americans go overboard on food safety but I find it useful to at least read all the info. before I make my own choices.  smile

http://www.aces.uiuc.edu/vista/html_pubs/DRYING/dr.....tml#basics

I was going to leave buying a machine till my kitchen was renovated but had to bring it forward as I have fruit trees laden with fruit (apricots, plums & apples mostly, the cherries are over now). The cost of dried fruit in the shops is becoming very expensive now so I think twice about buying it. I will also dry herbs & vegetables & fungi for the winter. 

I used to be able to dry a lot of things over my Aga in my last house(unfortunately I don't have one here).....it did the job pretty well, so I am not quite a beginner. I am excited to see how well things come out.   Wish me luck (& patience.  whistle )!

wave

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

Thu 21-Jul-11
12:10 pm
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Bib
Croatia

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I'm thinking of using my dehydrator to make soft prunes - anyone got any experience of doing this? 

Fri 22-Jul-11
3:43 pm
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JoannaS
Latvia

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I would like some help on when is the right time to stop dehydrating with fruit. I would like soft juicy fruit that lasts and doesn't go mouldy but wonder how that is achieved.cheers. Must check out that site of yours Hattie

Fri 22-Jul-11
4:38 pm
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devongarden
Devon, UK

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JoannaS said:

I would like some help on when is the right time to stop dehydrating with fruit. I would like soft juicy fruit that lasts and doesn't go mouldy but wonder how that is achieved.cheers. Must check out that site of yours Hattie

Joanna, I just checked out the site, and this is a quote from the last page.

Don't be surprised to find a variety of suggestions for drying methods, temperatures, and lengths of time. The drying process is simply not as precise as canning and freezing because it involves so many different factors. You may need to use a trial-and-error approach to find what suits you best. Whatever method you use, be sure to remove enough moisture from the final product so that spoilage organisms cannot grow

So not terribly helpful doh

Fri 22-Jul-11
6:38 pm
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Hattie
Bucks/Oxon Border

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big_laugh Hi Barbara,

I think I am a trial & error type of person. It has certainly payed off as far as dehydration is concerned¦.all my experiments seem to have worked so far. I think the problem with large & juicy fruit like whole plums is that it takes a very long time to dry them out as all the juice is trapped within the skin. Certainly halved ones dry pretty well, as do tomatoes. I don't think any one could give a definative drying time for every type & size of fruit. That is why in the past they were left to dry in the sun on roofs, or on sunny window sills, in cooling ovens after the household cooking was done¦..this often took weeks. In the USA it is now very popular to place trays of drying fruit in your car, leave the windows open a bit (for ventilation) & parking in full sunlight. If I still had a car I would certainly try it. In my previous hose I had shelves high above my Aga & I would put my trays of drying fruit on them with a piece of muslin pegged securely to each tray so insects & dust could not get on the fruit. Airing cupboards can also be used but be careful as you don't want your sheets etc smelling of onions & celery etc. whistle 

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

Sat 23-Jul-11
8:26 pm
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JoannaS
Latvia

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devongarden said:

Whatever method you use, be sure to remove enough moisture from the final product so that spoilage organisms cannot grow
So not terribly helpful doh

I had a horrible feeling that might be the case big_laugh

Tue 30-Aug-11
5:16 pm
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Mrs Radish
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Hi everyone

I have been dehydrating tomatoes, peaches, beans, apples etc like a woman possessed but hesitate to start on my pile of onions as i'm worried about the plastic racks in my dehydrator getting tainted by the onions. I have a basic model similar to the Westfalia one. 

Any hints on avoiding this would be fantastic. Thank you!

Tue 30-Aug-11
7:33 pm
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Toffeeapple
North Bucks

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wave Louise, hello and welcome to the forum!  Don't despair, someone with the knowledge will turn up here eventually.

I'll try that again!

Tue 30-Aug-11
8:42 pm
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danast
Argyll, Scotland

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wave  Hi Louise and welcome.  I can't help you either, but someone will.  Lots of clever people on this site.  smile

Old teachers never die, they just lose their class

Wed 31-Aug-11
5:46 am
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Hattie
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Hi Louise,

Welcome to the forum.

I have dehydrated both onions & leeks this summer & I did not have any problems with tainted racks. If I had I would have soaked them in a mixture of bicarbonate of soda, vinegar & hot water, for a couple of hours....I am sure that would get rid of any residual smell. I use the same mixture to wash out my fridge & freezer. 

I do, however, keep a sheet of aluminium foil on the top of the base unit to collect any drips etc. I intend to replace it with a circle of that non-stick oven liner when it arrives from Lakeland.

wave 

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

Wed 31-Aug-11
12:28 pm
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Mrs Radish
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Thank you for the welcome,and thank you Hattie .

I used to dry stuff in the bottom oven of my temperamental old aga but found it touch and go, some things got a little brown at the edges whilst others just got furry after a while.

 

I will give it a go, i have never bothered to blanch the onions but see it recommended around the place  - any suggestions? the instructions with the dehydrator are comical and incomplete!

 

laugh

Wed 31-Aug-11
4:00 pm
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paperman
Saxmundham, Suffolk

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"In the USA it is now very popular to place trays of drying fruit in your car, leave the windows open a bit (for ventilation) & parking in full sunlight. If I still had a car I would certainly try it. In my previous hose I had ----"

 

Hattie, when you said this do they actually have direct sunlight playing onto the stuff or is it just the heat from the direct sunlight ? Also how big was the hose !!!

I have reached an age where my train of thought often leaves the station without me...

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