Food Dehydration... I think my wife is addicted.

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by seedspreader, Oct 18, 2006.

  1. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    We bought a food dehydrator at a garage sale for like $5.00, well my mom and dad were there at this sale and bought it for us. It's a nice round unit that has 5 trays, a "fruit leather" plastic sheet and temperature control. My DW is dehydrating apples tonight and already has plans for bannanas. We may be hooked. I am already having visions of jerky dancing in my head.

    It's not solar by any means, but it's a great first step I think.
     
  2. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

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    Hahaha!!! You will become a slave to that machine! Mine runs 24/7.
     

  3. FoxfireWoman

    FoxfireWoman Questing for Simplicity

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    We have three and during harvest season, they do go 24/7. Between them and the canners, sometimes I think I go 28/8 some days.
     
  4. WanderingOak

    WanderingOak Well-Known Member

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    I love mine too, but I wish it was quieter. It sounds like a jet engine idling just before takeoff. I use mine for drying nuts and making jerky.
     
  5. BasicLiving

    BasicLiving Well-Known Member

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    I use mine for everything and love it! I dehydrate onions, garlic, hot peppers, bell peppers, apples, bananas, jerky, and on and on. I usually grind up the onions and garlic and make powder out of them - and keep a few dried to throw in soups and stews.

    My husband says if you stand still for too long in our house you'll either get dehydrated or a flower planted on you :D Keep moving.......
     
  6. Auric

    Auric Registered Doofus

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    I just made a batch of hamburger jerky on mine yesterday. Mmmm excellent! DW loves the dried bananas, apples, etc. I used it a lot last year to make dried tomatoes, so many in fact, that I won't need to make any this year or the next!
     
  7. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    We got one this year and while it doesn't go 24/7, I've dried various herbs, bananas, peppers, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, squash, peas, and probably other stuff I'm forgetting. We LOVE ours because the humidity runs about 94-96% here in the summer so drying outdoors on screens isn't an option.
     
  8. RedTartan

    RedTartan Icelandic Sheep Supporter

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    I have a question about this. I heard that dehydrating food in this fashion is very expensive because of the cost to run the machine. Is that true? Have you guys noticed higher electric bills?

    Thanks,

    :) RedTartan
     
  9. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I hit a great sale on sweet peppers yesterday, and now my house smells of them drying in the dehydrator.

    Man, I love that thing! One of my favorite toys! I'll go solar when I have to, but for now, my Gardenmaster ROCKS! :rock:

    Pony!
     
  10. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Now you need a vaccum sealer so the food will keep it's freshness. I love to dry stuff because you can put so much food into such a small space when it is done. Then it is so handy to toss a bit of this or that into a stew or fix up a trail mix or whatever.
     
  11. Marilyn

    Marilyn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Has anyone tried pumpkin leather in their dehydrator? Yum! Great for hikers.
     
  12. nehimama

    nehimama An Ozark Engineer Supporter

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    Yup! ZYG, you guys are going to LOVE that thing. I have three, and use them ALL the time. Been doing jerky this past week. Yummmmm!

    NeHi Mama
     
  13. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

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    I sliced bananas and put them on a sheet, then blended strawberries with a little bit of sugar and some yoghurt, then poured the starwberries around the banans slices...it looks like wrapping paper, and is good to eat.
     
  14. Hip_Shot_Hanna

    Hip_Shot_Hanna Well-Known Member

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    Slice zucchini into thin rounds, sprinkle with a little garlic/onion salt (the kind that has parsley flakes in it is nice).

    Dry until crisp - makes GREAT chips to go with a sandwich, etc. No fat!

    I have heard it's also great for dehydrating homemade soup, which you then break up and/or powder. Store in glass jars, and you have "instant" soup, just add boiling water... never tried it but always wanted to do so. I don't have a dehydrator anymore.
     
  15. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    RedTartan--------------It cost a little but only about 1/3rd to 1/4 of a hair dryer for the time run. Example-----Say you dehydrate something at app 400 watts for say 8 hours--It will cost you between 25 cent and 50cent(according to where you live). Some things don't need to be dried that long and some things don't need to be dried that high. Get one-----Its worth alot in the long run--example--if you blanch and freeze some beans-----how much does it cost you each month to keep the freezer going to keep them froze. Once they are dehydrated--it does not cost you each month to "Keep" it--kinda like canning, but without all the canning things and time to do it. Hmmmmmmmm-----can you even can a Bananna? LOL Have Fun!! Randy
     
  16. lonelyfarmgirl

    lonelyfarmgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I love my dehydrator, and use is for alot, but someone earlier on this thread said something about vacuum sealing. Isnt that hypocritical of the never use plastic because it off gases thing? wouldnt that suck more plastic reside into the expanded food pores?
     
  17. roadless

    roadless Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This sounds like something I want to try. Are all dehydrators about the same? Any features particularly useful? Thanks.
     
  18. halfpint

    halfpint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've had two, the round type that you typically see in the stores, and now an excalibur that is 10 years old. The Excalibur has about 7 large square trays, and can do a significantly greater amount than the little round ones. I find it easier to use, plus it has different temperature settings and a timer. I don't remember the little round ones having those features.

    That said, my Excalibur quit heating last week. It has given good service, probably used on the average 2-3 days a week over the years. Since the only thing I have left to dry this year is jerky, it will probably be repaired fairly quickly as we have people that give us lots of venison in order to get some jerky back and bow hunting season has already begun.
    Dawn
     
  19. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    Well, I have a Telia FoodSaver; when I vacuum seal dehydrated foods, I vacuum seal them in mason jars. I simmer the lids just as I would for canning, to soften the rubbery sealing ring part. Then I dry the lid, pop it on the jar full of dehydrated whatever, and use the FoodSaver to vacuum seal it. There is an attachment you can get for the FoodSaver that fits over the lid of the jar (you don't use a ring, just the heated and towel-dried flat); there is a hose that goes from the attachment on the jar to a port on the food saver. You press a button, it sucks out the air, and when you take the attachment off the top of the mason jar the lid is popped down and sealed just as if you canned it.

    I've done bananas this way, mostly. I read a post by someone (A T Hagan?) where they said they'd dehydrated and vacuum-sealed apples and they were making a test of opening a package each year, rehydrating the apple slices, and making a pie. The poster said this was the (sixth? eighth?) year and the pie tasted as good to them as fresh. I don't know about that, but an 8 year shelf life without the work of canning or the expense of freezing is pretty impressive. I don't think the poster said whether they were using plastic bags or mason jars.
     
  20. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    Not at all. Some are difficult to clean, some don't dry evenly so you have to rotate the trays, some don't have thermostats, some dont' have timers. The price range is incredible, from a few tens of dollars to over a hundred.

    The Excalibur is expensive but we got it after doing a bit of research (amazon.com, epinions, searching this forum) and we haven't regretted our decision once.