What is your favorite thing to dehydrate?

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I just found my wifes dehydrator. (It was misplaced about a year ago) That stsrted me to wonder What is your favorite thing to dehydrate? We've really not gotton a lot of use out of this thing yet. So some ideas, pointers and imagination would be greatly appreciated.


-- Kenneth in N.C. (wizardsplace13@hotmail.com), August 21, 2001


My favorites are fruits. I especially like to dehydrate grapes and apple slices or chunks. I cut up the apples and sprinkle them with a bit of cinnamon sugar, then dehydrate. MMMMMMM.....MMMMMMMM.... I can taste 'em now! Kids love 'em too. I've been known to make a mean trail mix using the apples, "raisins", pineapple, and bananas. Then I add some peanuts and or sunflower seeds. Sometimes I make different mixtures and throw in some coconut, or pretzel sticks.

I want to get my dehydrator out of the pantry and put it to use again too. Especially with the kids going back to school next week and being required to bring a "nutritious" snack in every day. I really want to give those fruit leathers a try. I haven't tried making those yet. Wasn't sure I could do it. Hmmmmm...wonder if I could make a cinnamon sugar apple leather using store bought applesuace? What do you all think?

I posted awhile back on dehydrating stuff - Got alot of wonderful responses (as always). Maybe I'll look in my folders (where I save EVERYTHING) and email you with some of the responses I received. Actually, I'll ASK you first to respond. If you'd like for me to send them, then I will. (I musn't forget my cyber manners).

Good thread - Thanks for posting it. :o)

-- Greenthumbelina (sck8107@aol.com), August 21, 2001.


-- diane (gardiacaprines@yahoo.com), August 21, 2001.

Greenthumbelina Sure thing. My wife has wanted to use this dehydrator but really hadn't figured it out yet. Somewhere in our move we lost the manual. Its got 5 trays a miniture motorized fan. Probably not the best model on the market. It's a Bee Beyer's" (ever heard of it?)

How long do you leave fruit (etc) in the dehydrator?

-- Kenneth in N.C. (wizardsplace13@hotmail.com), August 21, 2001.

Apples. Apples, apples, apples! LOL! Someone gave me a dehydrator years ago, and when I put apples in there, just the smell of them gets me reaching in there and nibbling. It's not very often that those apples are ever finished drying before I've got them all eaten up.

I made a rack out of wire coat hangers a couple years ago to put beside the woodstove, and ran strings of apple slices on that. Same thing, ate half the slices before they're finished.

This summer, when it was 90F outside and about 250F inside that greenhouse we bought and put up in spring, guess what I was thinking: 17 feet long.....boy, could I string up a pile of apple slices in here!

-Chelsea, who usually ends up buying one of those little "bulk pack" dried fruit mixes every second time at the grocery

-- Chelsea (rmbehr@istar.ca), August 21, 2001.

I dry just about everything but one of the favorites is apple leather with finely chopped peanuts. Tastes like a taffy apple! Doing tomato paste is another.

The worst thing I ever did...really, really stupid!

I spent days cooking down chicken stock to make bouillan cubes. Finally I had it! I cut them into cubes and rather than putting them in the refrig. or freezer, for some unknown reason I thought I would dry them. How dumb can you get! Spent all that time making wonderful stock and in a matter of minutes, it was all over the dehydrator.

Now, at this time, I was not knew to dehydrating. I had been doing it for about 10 years and had given talks and demos on dehydrating so I have know idea what possessed me to do this. It did give my family a good laugh but it left me with an awful mess to clean. Besides wasting all that wonder stock from chickens I had butchered.

Now if I do something like that I can say it was a "senior moment", I could not back then.

Bananas was another favorite. My son could literally eat about 1/4 gal of dried bananas at one sitting.

-- Cordy (ckaylegian@aol.com), August 21, 2001.

My boyfriend and I have a dehydrator that we use to prepare food for our (frequent) backpacking and camping trips. All vegetables work well (some of them require blanching first - do a web search and you'll come up with a good list). Also fruits, sauces (spaghetti sauce rehydrates pretty well and dries to a fruit-leather consistancy). It's a great way to save your freshly picked morel mushrooms to eat later in the year (for those of you lucky enough to find them!).

-- Karen (klr1@cec.wustl.edu), August 21, 2001.

food,, nothing else comes out right

-- stan (sopal@net-port.com), August 21, 2001.

Years ago my mother in law gave me a bunch of cherrie, apricots and peaches that she had canned. They were over 5 years old, the seal was still good but they looked pretty icky. I halved the cherries and removed the pit and dehydrated everything she gave us. Took awhile but wow were they good. (I also got a bunch of jars so I could can fresh stuff.) I don't know about the nutritional value of all of that but we loved it....especially the cherries.

-- RNMOM (tegan@ida.net), August 21, 2001.

If you dehydrate peppers are they good in stews later or do they become like a salt type additive?

-- Kenneth in N.C. (wizardsplace13@hotmail.com), August 21, 2001.

Kenneth, peppers dry very well. I usually dice mine into about 1/4" pieces but rings are pretty for a garnish. To use as a salt substitute, you can "grind" the dried peppers in a blender then shake on your food.

Commercial apple sauce does make acceptable leather. My favorite apple for everything is a Gala because whether you are eating it out of hand, drying it in slices or into leather, or making apple sauce or apple butter, its natural spicy flavor comes through well. I agree that it's hard to end up with a full dehydrator of apples as it's so tempting to nibble as you go.

I've branched out a bit past just human food with my dehydrator and right now, I'm drying homemade dog biscuts for our 3 Pyrs and terrier mix house dog (broth left from canned meats, whole wheat flour, corn meal, eggs, brewers' yeast and garlic). I had some oranges that tasted bad even though they were fresh. I sliced them with the rind still on and dried them. Then I strung them between pieces of cinnamon stick and hung them on the mantle as holiday decorations. The oranges looked like stained glass when we hung them in front of the windows and opened the draperies.

-- marilyn (rainbow@ktis.net), August 21, 2001.

I don't have a favorite but my dogs do...does that count?

Their favorite thing for 'me' to do is beef liver! they make great healthy treats, of course it does stink up the place for a day, but no matter they are happy! and dried beef liver treats are like magic when you need to train them

-- westbrook (westbrook_farms@yahoo.com), August 21, 2001.

Beef Jerky is great. I can hardly make it fast enough. Others are: corn (off to cob), carrots (must be blanched first) almost any kind of fruit (except watermelon, what a mess that was!)celery tops, all my herbs, plum tomatoes, etc.

Wishing you enough.

-- Trevilians (aka Dianne in Mass) (Trevilians@mediaone.net), August 21, 2001.

Apples. We use them in granola and take them along on hikes. I'd do other fruit, too, if I had it. I don't really have a dehydrator; we dry the apples the old-fashioned way.

-- Cathy N. (keeper8@attcanada.ca), August 21, 2001.

Beef liver? Hmmm....my dog would LOVE that....can you give us any details on how to do that?


-- Chelsea (rmbehr@istar.ca), August 21, 2001.

Is Okra good dehydrated? How about muscadines?

Hmmm how do you make these fruit leathers you guys keep talking about?

-- Kenneth in N.C. (wizardsplace13@hotmail.com), August 21, 2001.

Hi Ken,

I usually make fruit leather after making jelly. After I drain the juice from cooked, mashed fruit I add a little sweetner, usually honey and maybe some cinnimon or whatever depending on what fruit I'm using to the leftover pulp. The juice becomes jelly and the pulp is thinly spread over my homemade drying box pan and dried. After it's completely dried, I dust it lightly with corn starch to keep it from sticking together and roll it up. Then I cut the rolls into 3 or 4 inch widths, wrap in plastic wrap and store in a glass jar. This is very similar to the fruit roll-ups available in stores but without the extra coloring, preservatives and coloring. This works especially well with grapes and apples. My children love them.

Wishing you enough.

-- Trevilians (aka Dianne in Mass) (Trevilians@mediaone.net), August 21, 2001.


This also works well when making tomato paste.

-- Trevilians (aka Dianne in Mass) (Trevilians@mediaone.net), August 21, 2001.

There is a book like the bible of dehydrating that has so much info in it its well worth havin. Its not expensive. The title is Mary Bells complete dehydrator cookbook. I couldnt have imagined all the stuff she has in it. This year I'm making a soup mix. So far I've got corn, carrots, peas, lima beans, onion, sweet pepper and okra. I make noodles so I dried spinach (frozen from the store) and eggplant peel to flavor/color them. I dried a gallon of roma tomatoes. They are the most wonderful smellin/tastin thing so far. Dry left over bread for bread crumbs. Smash leftover soup and dry the puree on a leather tray. Then you are supposed to be able to pulverize it and add it to boiling water for instant soup. Havent tried that yet as we are not eating soup but I plan to this winter. Using a dehydrator to dry hot peppers seems to keep their color better. Mary Bell has a chapter on backpack meals...where you dehydrate main dishes to rehydrate when you're camping etc. I havent tried that yet either. I cant believe I've had two dryers for 3 yrs and only used them for making jerky. They've had a workout this summer though. Blessings Peggy

-- peggy (wclpc@cookeville.com), August 22, 2001.


Put your dried soup in a blender. That is what I used to do when my oldest was in college. Sent her dried soup that she could reconstitute in a cup. Her favortie was turkey noodle.

Now that she is studying for her doctorate I guess it is time to do that again.

-- Cordy (ckaylegian@aol.com), August 22, 2001.

I just made dried watermelon, it is very good but you must have a fan or it is really really bad. we do about 40 pounds of potatos each year they are great because they cook up so quick. we do about 100 pound of onions and a whole deer each year and alot more i am willing to try dying any thing once. if every one in my family likes the product in the end it goes on my yearly list, I love the storage of dried items, I put them in used jars and put a pretty fabric on the lid and set it on the top of the cabinet for easy reach and it is cute.

-- vickie (vduffys@cs.com), August 22, 2001.

Jalapeno peppers, tomatoes (especially good on a winter's day in soups or on pasta or pizza, and JERKY!! The Boy will about eat his weight in jerky. I love lemon verbena dried too. Smells lovely and is encouraging in tea in January.

-- Gailann Schrader (gtschrader@aol.com), August 22, 2001.

Dianne (Trevalians) that is such a wonderful idea for making fruit leathers!! I've made apple leathers using applesauce, but this expands my horizons dramatically!!! Thanks!

My two favorites are apples and pumpkins. I don't have a lot of storage space and it's all the wrong temperature for pumpkins, so I dry them to put in soups a breads. I can get 8 pie pumpkins in a quart jar! They add such a nice texture and color to soups and nice vitamins too.

-- Sheryl in ME (radams@sacoriver.net), August 22, 2001.

Hello Kenneth, I don't have a dyhydrator per say...I improvised by hanging old window screen up in my greenhouse. During the summer months the temperature of the greenhouse is well over 110 degrees. I just harvest my herbs or sunflowers and spread them out on the screen and watch them dry out. It takes only a few days and they are ready for storage. Sincerely, Ernest

-- http://communities.msn.com/livingoffthelandintheozarks (espresso42@hotmail.com), August 22, 2001.

HELP! My wife has burnt 4 trays of food and melted 3 trays. The banana chips were black and not tasty. Yes she coated the banana slices with lemon juice.

So give us suggestions. Is there a way to get the dehydrarted result using the oven? Someone said being in the south messes with dehydrators is that true of the electric variety?

-- Kenneth in N.C. (wizardsplace13@hotmail.com), August 23, 2001.


If your wife is burning food and melting trays, you temp. is too high. The hightest the temp. should go is 165*. I have had my dehydrator for amost 30 years and never a problem like that.

What type of dehydrator are you using?

Stick a thermometer in a check the temp. If it is too high maybe you need a new thermostat.

Also, when you say burned the food, do you mean it just got dark. Certain foods will do that if you do not treat them, some will even if you do.

Potatoes, even being cooked, sometime will turn black. It is an enzyme (I have been told) reaction. Some tomatoes will also do the same. Bananas will never be as light as the ones in the store because they are sulfered. Sometimes I would soak my light colored fruits in pineapple juice rather than ascorbic acid or salt. You have to rinse off the salt but not the juice or ascorbic acid.

-- Cordy (ckaylegian@aol.com), August 23, 2001.

The unit is a Bee Beyer's. No fan. 5 trays. Just now was playing with it may have figured out something. Theres a tray like part that my wife had the unit sitting in. If I invert it to the top it would separate the heating element from the lowest tray by say 3 inches. Hmm could that be part of the problem?

I could take a scavenged fan out of a pc and rig it under the unit and force air up the center. Would that correct the problem?

-- Kenneth in N.C. (wizardsplace13@hotmail.com), August 23, 2001.

If there is no fan, what is actually drying the food? Just heat. I would see if you could rig a fan, in the back so that the air blows horizontal. Your drying time will be cut tremendously.

In my unit I could dry strawberries on one tray, onions on another and not have flavors mix.

-- Cordy (ckaylegian@aol.com), August 23, 2001.


according to the small label on the bottom it's a convection unit.

-- Kenneth in N.C. (wizardsplace13@hotmail.com), August 23, 2001.

My favorite thing to dehydrate is definitely tomatoe slices. Quick, easy, useful. They make a great substitute for sauce on homemade pizza, and if you powder them and add water you will have instant tomato sauce.

-- Tracy Brock (tbrock@splitrocktel.net), August 25, 2001.

Apples- can't dry enough of them. By the time they dry we have eaten them. Tried bananas but thought they were the most disgusting things I have ever encountered.

-- Elizabeth (ekfla@aol.com), August 25, 2001.

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