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Tales of a busy dehydrator: Experimenting with rehydrating food

 

Photo: Dehydrated celery leaves

Photo: Dehydrated celery leaves

“Can I eat any of this food when it’s fresh or does it all have to be dehydrated?”
Danny examined the bulging carrier bags carefully.

I’ve been discovering the delights of buying fruit and vegetables on offer to dry for use later in the year. This will have an enormous impact on our food bills and will guarantee that we have the best seasonal foods available all year.

We’ve also been dehydrating a lot of our own tomatoes, summer squashes, apples and pears. So for the first year ever there’s no waste. It makes fast work of drying herbs and these are packed with flavour. Super fresh dried mint to add to my mint and apple jelly. We’ll be storing any surplus vegetables from our winter kitchen garden in this way.

But the best thing of all is that the dehydrated food takes up so little space. Carrots are reduced to teeny specimens suitable for the dolls house. We have now have enough dried fruit and vegetables to feed us for months and they take up the space of a large sweet jar. It’s important to note the before and after weight of things to be able to judge how much dehydrated food to add to a dish. 180g or two Romano peppers weighed just 20g when dried.

At one stage I got a bit panicky about the electrical cost of running the dehydrator and then discovered that it’s just 2.5p an hour. Also now the evenings are getting chilly it heats the kitchen too. Determined not to put on the central heating, Danny searched the fridge last night for something to dehydrate.

Our Westfalia food dehydrator is the cheapest and most basic model available but once I got the hang of which layer dries fastest it’s a doddle to use. OK, food has to be cut into slim pieces (an eighth to a quarter of an inch) and sprayed with lemon juice to retain the colour. But when it comes to using the dehydrated food I’ve discovered that, as all the preparation of the fruit and vegetables has been already done, it’s so quick and easy to prepare a meal.

One of my favourite dehydrate2store videos is the one where the lady stands in front of a row of cock pot slow cookers and makes several stews and soups using raw meat and dehydrated ingredients. In fact the dehydrate2store website has given me loads of recipe ideas. Iif you are interested in the process it’s well worth a visit.

This week I fancied making a sausage casserole  in the slow cooker and regretted using all our fresh red peppers in the pork risotto the night before. Then I remembered that I had some dehydrated Romano peppers in the larder so bunged them in along with some ground dried celery and a small handful of dehydrated mushrooms and tomatoes.  Not wanting to bother with chopping and frying an onion I tossed in some dried onion. I added a jar of our own home grown tomatoes and enough hot water to rehydrate the vegetables.

Having assured Danny that rehydrated food tastes great I secretly wondered whether it actually would.

So it was with some trepidation that I lifted the lid four hours later and took my first secret tentative bite. All the dehydrated ingredients had rehydrated well and the dish was delicious!


  Leave a reply

13 Comments

  1. Jane Bracey

    Hi,thank you so very much for this,just few questions-can you dry meat with this model and how do you know how long to keep fruit/veg in the and what temp?And as i understand that was your first dehydrator have you upgraded since then?
    Regards Jane

  2. Our Westfalia dehydrator arrived last week, it’s been going almost nonstop, processing our crop of tomatoes. Doing celery, sweet peppers and apples tonight!

  3. Veronica

    Ours is quite noisy, Caroline. It doesn’t bother us, we just stash it in our larder when it’s running!

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