I believe the general idea is to identify food that is currently too hydrated for your liking, slice it relatively thin, and then place it in the device in order to reduce its hydration to your preferred level.
Posts: 37444 | Registered: May 1999
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I haven't done a whole lot of dehydrating yet, but my instruction book says to take notes on everything you do: type of food, ambient temperature and humidity, temperature selection on the dehydrator (if you have that) and how long it takes. That way you can get an idea of what works the best in your typical climate.
Vegetables should be dried until crisp, fruits until they are tacky and still a bit pliable. If you rip a piece of fruit apart and moisture appears, it needs longer.
We made our own dried minced onions with the dehydrator, and they are wonderful. Just be warned that if you're sensitive to onion fumes, it will be painful to be in the same room as the dehydrator for the first few hours.
I've also found that dehydrated cantaloupe is amazing. I can't stand fresh melons of any kind, but dehydrating concentrates the flavor in a pleasant way. Cantaloupe is actually rather salty when dehydrated, and makes a tasty snack.
The other thing I've learned is that if you wish to make raisins, cut the grapes in half first, otherwise it will take days to dehydrate fully.
When my children were younger, I made lots of fruit leather. They loved it. I had to hide it from them if I wanted it to last for any length of time (to put in their lunches for school or something).
I usually started with unsweetened applesauce as the base and added a small amount of another, more expensive fruit to flavor it. Strawberries, cherries, peaches or apricot. Our favorite was apricot. You can buy apricot nectar, or make your own. I never added any sugar.
Just blend your applesauce with whatever fruit you like - canned in juice works fine. Use just enough liquid to blend it up to a puree or it'll take a very long time to dry - and pour into plates, onto plastic wrap or on fruit leather trays if your machine comes with them. Once they're dry, roll them up in plastic wrap.
Depending on where you live, this will take anywhere from a few hours (arid climates) to days (tropical island paradises) to dehydrate.
Posts: 2069 | Registered: May 2001
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