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Post  AtlantaMarie on 8/27/2018, 8:21 am

Okay, I was asked to start a new topic on dehydrating items since this is a subject we teach. I'd prefer to start here with veggies & will set up a separate topic on fruits & another for herbs. (And probably another topic for things like rice, meals, etc.) Let's start with an overview:

If you've got something like a Nesco with the stackable trays, you'll need to have a minimum of 4 trays on the dh even if there's nothing on them. Keep the full trays towards the middle. And you may have to move trays around to ensure even drying. Some dehydrators dry from the top down. Some bottom to top. And some back to front. (Read your owner's manual!) If you're buying a new dh, be sure to get adjustable temps.

1. Pick really nice produce. I DO use produce that is damaged. But I'm sure to cut out damaged parts with a wide margin around it. Just depends on nice how you want your finished product to be.

2. Peel, if desired. You'll want to slice about 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick. (When you re-hydrate, expect the item to come back to about 75% of fresh.) A mandolin is very handy here. (I'm about to try out my new sheet cutter attachment for my KitchenAid & make some zuke lasagna noodles... I'll let you know how it works...)

3. MOST veggies will need to be at least blanched. Mushrooms & onions & a few other items are exceptions. I'll get you a list.

Remember that your re-hydrated items will re-hydrate back to where they stopped cooking. So if you're going to be using them in soups, crockpot meals, etc, that are long-term cooking, blanching will be fine as they'll continue to cook after re-hydration. I personally prefer to go ahead & cook mine. Just makes it easier in the long run for me. I haven't had an issue with items becoming mushy.

Potatoes CERTAINLY need to be blanched! They turn a nasty grey/black if not. (Ask me how I know, lol!)

4. When placing your items on trays, be sure to leave space for the air to flow around everything. You may want to use parchment paper or silicone sheets for sticky items. (See #6.)

5. When "dhing" veggies, you'll want your temps to be around 125 - 135F. Higher temps (like in an air fryer) could create a skin on the outside of the item that won't allow the inner liquid to evaporate. This will lead to mold later on & ruin all your work...

With onions, garlic, etc, do everyone a favor & dh them outdoors... Or at least open all your windows! :-)

6. Plan on flipping your items over every 3-4 hours. This also is for even drying.

7. Time will depend on your local humidity. You're looking for about a 10% hydration rate with veggies, so crispy. Having said that, as Sanderson found out, onions won't get crisp. They will still be flexible.

8. Once you think they're done, your items will need to be "conditioned." Let them completely cool. Place in a bag or jar & set in a dark spot. Twice per day, shake the jar/bag. (This will allow any remaining moisture to distribute evenly among the items.) Look for ANY condensation on the bag/jar. If any is spotted, put the items back on the dh for a few hours. Rinse & repeat. Once you go a week to 10 days without any condensation found, they're ready for long-term storage.

9. Items that are pungent (those pesky, delicious onions & garlic) or have sharp corners/edges (potatoes, corn, rice) should be stored in jars. The smells will migrate through plastic. And sharp edges tear bags. (I'll store those zuke noodles in a jar...)

You can use O2 absorbers. (I don't & have never had a problem.) I would STRONGLY recommend using a vacuum sealer on either the jars or bags. Then store in a cool, dark place. The cooler & darker, the longer they will last.

Be sure to label & date everything to allow for proper rotation.

Okay, gotta go to work now... More later!
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Post  sanderson on 8/28/2018, 12:02 am

@AtlantaMarie wrote: . . . 8.  Once you think they're done, your items will need to be "conditioned."  Let them completely cool.  Place in a bag or jar & set in a dark spot.  Twice per day, shake the jar/bag.  (This will allow any remaining moisture to distribute evenly among the items.)  Look for ANY condensation on the bag/jar.  If any is spotted, put the items back on the dh for a few hours.  Rinse & repeat.  Once you go a week to 10 days without any condensation found, they're ready for long-term storage. . .
Do you mean literally wash in water and dry again?

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Post  AtlantaMarie on 8/28/2018, 9:40 am

No, no, no.  Sorry!  I was trying to be clever before I had my coffee...  Always a bad idea, lol.

"Rinse & repeat" like shampoo instructions, i.e. continue on the same as what you just did.
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Post  sanderson on 8/28/2018, 11:28 pm

I'm going to be moderating this thread to keep it tightly on track of dehydrating veggies. Marie will have other threads covering dehydrating other foods. Let's let her run with it unless clarification is needed. Thanks everyone. Very Happy

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Post  greatgranny on 9/3/2018, 5:07 pm

Wondering if zucchini would work with dehydrating.  I have a dehydrator.  I want to dice it and then dry it for future use in the winter and early spring.  Have any of you done this?
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Post  sanderson on 9/4/2018, 4:20 am

AM, Could you address various veggies that need processing, blanching, ice bath, drain and then dehydrate? Times for blanching and icing would be most helpful. Just a list with the times?? Thanks.

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Post  bluelacedredhead on 9/7/2018, 2:00 pm

GreatGRanny, I've not diced zucchini and then dehydrated it, however I do slice them thinly and dehydrate for use in soups, stews and Chili.
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Post  greatgranny on 9/7/2018, 2:21 pm

@bluelacedredhead wrote:GreatGRanny, I've not diced zucchini and then dehydrated it, however I do slice them thinly and dehydrate for use in soups, stews and Chili.
That was what I meant.  I did try some but it isn't what I would like to do all the time.  If I had a larger freezer, I would probably freeze it instead.  Oh well, Fall is here and soon there will be nothing in my garden.
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Post  AtlantaMarie on 9/7/2018, 4:16 pm

Been out for several days... Sorry.... Yes, Sanderson, I'll get that list. I'll try to do it first thing tomorrow!
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Post  sanderson on 9/8/2018, 3:55 am

Thanks, Marie.

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Post  trolleydriver on 9/8/2018, 12:52 pm


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Post  trolleydriver on 9/8/2018, 1:07 pm

This article has a good chart for blanching times for freezing veggies. Does the same apply for dehydrating?

https://extension.umn.edu/preserving-and-preparing/vegetable-blanching-directions-and-times-home-freezer-storage

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Post  trolleydriver on 9/8/2018, 3:16 pm

I am currently dehydrating some basil ... Washed it but did not blanch it

Dehydrating Veggies Img_2219

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Post  sanderson on 9/10/2018, 3:28 am

Blanching basil - Razz

I wish the instructions and chart came in a .pdf printable form. Some items are very unexpected!

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Post  bluelacedredhead on 9/10/2018, 1:52 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:This article has a good chart for blanching times for freezing veggies. Does the same apply for dehydrating?

https://extension.umn.edu/preserving-and-preparing/vegetable-blanching-directions-and-times-home-freezer-storage
I've dehydrated a lot of veggies and fruit. I don't recall  any mention of blanching with the exception of Cranberries which need to be boiled for 2 or 3 minutes until their skins burst.
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Post  has55 on 1/17/2019, 11:10 am

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Post  AtlantaMarie on 1/23/2019, 8:07 am

I don't blanch herbs. And I dh herbs at NO MORE than 95F. They lose their oils at temps higher than that.

On veggies, they will rehydrate back to pretty much where you had them to start with.... If it's something like tomatoes, summer squash, cukes, I don't blanch. Celery, carrots, potatoes, yes, because I'll want to use in a soup or something. Blueberries, cherries, grapes, I blanch or poke holes in them.

I know Yolos had some great success dhing basil in her microwave. Stayed REALLY green & pretty!

There is a website with great info: www.21stcenturyliving.com And she has a fb page called dehyrating divas & dudes.
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Post  sanderson on 1/26/2019, 3:47 am

I have dried herbs in hanging bundles, in the outside dehydrating box/screened cage, in the microwave with paper towels (testing a few seconds at a time) and in the dehydrator. The microwave method does leave the herbs with their color.

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