Fruits and vegetables are cheapest when they're in season. Dryingthem is an inexpensive way to preserve them so you can enjoy them throughoutthe year . . . to be enjoyed as a snack by themselves or to be used in recipes.
Dried fruits are excellent to add to trail mixes or used inbaking.
When I have an over abundance of tomatoes from thegarden I like to dehydrate them and pack them in a good quality olive oil. Then you not only have the dry tomatoes toused in cooking but you also have the added benefit of a yummy tomato flavoredoil for cooking with.
Although you can certainly dry foods in your oven, adehydrator is much more energy efficient for this purpose.
Dehydrating fruits and vegetables is extremely easy . . .all you need is time and most of that is waiting for the food to dry out; 8-12hours of drying time on average
You should start with good quality fresh fruits andvegetables . . . overripe, bruised and otherwise deteriorated produce do notpreserve well.
Clean, hull and slice all fruits and vegetables. It’s important to make sure the slices areconsistent to make sure that everything dries at the same rate.
Foods that discolor when exposed to air . . . like applesand potatoes . . . can be blanched or treated with citrus juice to preservecolor. Harder vegetables should be blanched for about 5 minutes inboiling water to speed up the drying time.
You can add salt, sugar or spices, but I prefer to dryfruits and vegetables without adding extra ingredients to preserve theirnatural flavors.
Load the dehydrator trays with sliced fruit and vegetableslices; do not to overlap them because this slows the drying time.
Turn your dehydrator on immediately after loading to startthe dehydration process. Consult the owner's manual for recommended dryingtimes, but expect the process to take between 8-12 hours on average.
As you reach the end of the drying time, check your fruitsand vegetables frequently for dryness.
Dried fruits need to go through an additional conditioningperiod before they are ready for storage. Place them in loosely packed jars,and shake once a day for 7-10 days to ensure the remaining moisture is evenlydistributed between the dried pieces. If condensation appears on the jar, thefruit needs to be returned to the dehydrator for further drying.
Place all dried foods in air-tight containers or freezerbags; and store in a cool, dry and dark location until you are ready to usethem.