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  • Zmey

Dehydrator Tips and Recipes for Beginners

Updated: Jun 15

Dehydrating can be so fun to play around with, creating fun and different snacks. It's also very useful for food preservation when you have an excess of certain foods, either because of an unexpected bumper crop or because you found a deal so good you couldn't pass it up. If you are a beginner and ready to jump in: do it! There are very few things that can go wrong, and a few more that may not be labeled 'wrong' but rather unintended (but delicious).



Place your dehydrator someplace that can withstand some heat coming from the bottom. Some surfaces are not intended for any kind of constant heat. Some finishes may melt, bubble or blister from having a moist heat source sitting directly on them.

If you have a dehydrator with plastic trays, make sure you don't cover the airflow too completely. I once made the mistake of cutting the parchment paper to fit my trays perfectly, for the purpose of making fruit leather. The airflow was so restricted that it overheated and melted bits of the trays. If your dehydrator doesn't come with fruit leather trays; don't fret! You can still make it but in smaller batches. If you have a round dehydrator, cut out small squares (5-7) and arrange so there is still room for plenty of heat escape and airflow around each square. Rotate the trays often and double-check for any issues.



Be conscious of what you are dehydrating together. Things tend to pick up the flavors of the other items being dehydrated at the same time. This can be used for a delightful advantage. Dehydrate dill weed or oregano on one tray and zucchini chips on the rest of the trays. Lots of the herbal flavor will get picked up by the zucchini, without any extra work. Banana and strawberries together on alternating trays also make a delicious mishmash of flavor.

Make sure you have your dehydrator someplace with good ventilation if you are dehydrating hot peppers or things like horseradish. The fumes from these are enough to make your eyes water and burn when walking passed if there isn't enough ventilation to prevent a build-up. On a related note, beware dehydrating anything else with hot peppers unless you intend for them to also be spicy, also.



Dill zucchini chips

  • 5-10 sprigs of dill

  • 3-5 medium zucchini

  • pinch of salt

  1. Wash and thinly slice the zucchini and spread evenly around all but one of your dehydrator's trays.

  2. Very lightly salt the slices.

  3. Remove the thickest of the dill stems, rinse everything well and pat dry.

  4. Spread the herb evenly around the last tray.

  5. Place the dill tray in the lowest spot and the zucchini trays above.

  6. Rotate the zucchini trays after 12-18 hours for even drying, if needed.

  7. 24-36 hours total dry time, depending on relative humidity, the thickness of slices, and the dehydrator model.




Straw-nana bites

  • 2 pounds of strawberries

  • 3 large bananas

  1. Wash and dry the strawberries, remove the stems/leaves and slice thinly.

  2. Peel and slice the bananas. Try to keep everything evenly sliced.

  3. Evenly layer the trays with strawberries and bananas on each tray.

  4. Rotate the trays after 12-18 hours.

  5. 36-48 hour total dry time, depending on relative humidity, the thickness of slices, and the dehydrator model.



Yellow Squash Pizza Chips

  • 2-3 medium yellow summer squash

  • 1 bunch fresh oregano

  • pinch of salt

  1. Wash and thinly slice the yellow summer squash and spread evenly around all but two of your dehydrator's trays.

  2. Very lightly salt the slices.

  3. Remove the thickest of the oregano stems, rinse everything well and pat dry.

  4. Spread the herb evenly around the last tray.

  5. Place one of the oregano trays in the lowest spot and the second in the middle, between the yellow summer squash filled trays.

  6. Rotate the yellow summer squash trays after 12-18 hours for even drying, if needed.

  7. 24-36 hours total dry time, depending on relative humidity, the thickness of slices, and the dehydrator model.



Tips:

Store all dehydrated foods in airtight containers.

Save old spice bottles to store your home dried spices and herbs.

Pinterest has lots of posts with free labels to print out that look great.



 
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