Last month, for my birthday, I received a new kitchen appliance and it’s been running almost every day since.
I’ve been wanting a dehydrator for some time now. Being able to store food in a way that takes up less space was very appealing. I love dried fruits and being able to make my own was also a big selling point for me. And while I haven’t made jerky yet, I’m anxious to try my hand at it. I’m just waiting for a good sale.
Potatoes were one of my first forays into dehydrating. On my first try, I decided to see what would happen if I didn’t partially cook them first. They turned out hard as a rock and were inedible as they were, but I was able to use them in a recipe that called for potatoes.
My terrible tomato picture. Sorry, I’ll do better next time.
Tomatoes were one of the things I was excited to dehydrate. We’re planting several tomato plants this year and I wanted to be able to store them for later use without taking up so much space.
After dehydrating, the flavor was intensified. I used some on homemade pizza. It worked wonderfully and didn’t add extra liquid to the pizza like adding fresh tomatoes would.
I’ve baked kale before to make kale chips, but after trying dehydrated kale chips, I’ll never go back to baked. Dehydrated kale chips are crispy, just like baked, but they have more flavor. They even retain more color.
I made the dehydrated kale chips the same way as baked, tossed with olive oil and spices.
Dehydrated cabbage surprised me. It didn’t taste much like cabbage anymore. It had a slight sweet flavor. I found myself munching on it as a snack, but I used a little in some soup I made.
Pictured is a quarter of a rather large cabbage after dehydrating. It took up only about a third of a sandwich bag.
It doesn’t look it in the picture, but these half strawberries are completely flat. They tasted like they were sweetened and reminded me of a fruit roll. I added some to my oatmeal and they plumped back up.
The apples were especially delicious. I dehydrated three different kinds and all were so sweet they tasted like I covered them in sugar. The granny smith retained its tartness and the red delicious was tangy, but the macintosh was the sweetest. I couldn’t stop snacking on these every time I entered the kitchen.
While I knew bananas wouldn’t turn out like commercially dried bananas, they were the one thing I’ve tried that didn’t like at all. They didn’t taste much different and the texture was rubbery. I was more interested to see what happened when they were used in something, but they disappeared in overnight oatmeal. It’s like they were never there. Not even a taste of banana remained.
I tried my hand at making fruit leather, too. They’re like Fruit Roll-ups. I made them for my grandson, so I never got the chance to try them, but I’m hoping my daughter will let me know how they were. These were half strawberry, half applesauce. I didn’t know at the time that he doesn’t care for strawberries because of the seeds, but I’m hoping the seeds won’t be as big an issue for him with the leathers.
I’ve also dried carrots and onions, but I failed to get pictures of them. I used the carrots and onions in the crock pot with a roast. The carrots didn’t plump all the way back to normal size, but they absorbed more of the flavor of the meat, as did the onions.
So far the dehydrator has been a big success!