Monday, June 29, 2009

Home Food Dehydrating Tips and Tricks




Hi everyone! Dean in Arizona here! I'd like to thank RW for letting me ramble on yet again about my favorite toy, the food dehydrator!

Special Note: I am by no means an expert at this, but I've played with it almost every day for 6 months or so, and messed up a little bit. Ok, quite a bit! So, let me share my mistakes and victories with everyone.

1.) FRUIT

I have a small orchard in my yard, maybe 1 of everything you could want. Orange, lemon, grapefruit all do great in Arizona, I can't eat them fast enough. I tried to dehydrate some tangerines a while back. My book was a bit vague on them, so I just segmented them and tossed them in.

Hmmm…they ended up looking like a skin shedded by a snake! Just a paper shell! I ground them in the blender; mixed in water…it was tolerable, but not even close to being Tang!

2.) VEGGIES

MOST veggies need to be blanched or steamed before drying, to save color and texture. Mushrooms, eggplant, onions, tomatoes, squash, and peppers can just be sliced and tossed in. Remember, these will all shrink to at least 1/3 the cut size, so if you want them for soup or stew, cut them a bit on the bigger side. My book says to cut potatoes 1/8 thick, they end up looking like a potato chip. Good for scallop taters, or to make mashed potatoes.

3.) MEAT
.
Decide if you’re making jerky, or saving it for stew meat. Jerky needs to be raw meat, marinated in your favorite stuff. I like soy sauce, Tabasco, lemon juice, salt and pepper for at least 24 hours. If you want to save it for stew or soup, you need to cook it to medium rare or medium, to preserve the tenderness. Just toss a cheap round steak, flank or skirt steak in the oven, cook to medium, let cool and slice into 1/2 inch cubes. Pre-cooked meat won't shrink much, so keep it to the size you want. Remember to use LEAN meat, as a lot of fat will cause it to go bad quicker.

4.) FISH

I haven’t had any luck with fish yet. There was a sale this week on flounder, one of the few fish I like. I cubed up a pound of it, tossed it in...And it came out gross! It was as greasy as bacon. I'll try again after a pre-cook.

Hope you all appreciate these tips, it's a lot cheaper to do it at home than to buy the pre-packaged stuff, you can preserve what you like to eat and save weight. It takes a little time but saves some cash. Saving money. This is something I like!

Thanks again RW!

Dean in Arizona

4 comments:

matthiasj said...

Great post Dean thanks a lot. Good tips on the veggies and meat.

matthiasj
Kentucky Preppers Network

Genevieve said...

I love my dehydrator! Have you tired drying celery? I grind it up into a powder and use it in my soups and such. Strawberries are wonderful dried. I make my own fancy cereal with strawberries now instead of buying the more expensive brand. I've found that potatoes need to be pre-cooked about 5-6 mins before drying so they don't come out black/brown ( uck) I've just done up the last of the strawberries and I have them in a 1/2 gallon jar with an oxy absorb, so they'll keep. Dehydrating saves a lot of room in the pantry. I dry food, then use my vacuum sealer to seal them for storage.

Wesley said...

Great post. I just recently got into dehydrating my food for storage/prepping. I have found that drying cheese and throwing it into a blender afterwards will give you a quick powder cheese that you can turn into a cheese sauce with hot water. Awesome tip on the meats!

riverwalker said...

Many people already use a number of dehydrating food products in their everyday lives without realizing it...instant coffee, powdered milk, etc. Great post Dean!

RW

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