Dehydrating Veggies

adellabedella_usaMay 28, 2010

I've decided to dehydrate veggies this year to help stock my pantry. I've dehydrated apples, pears, peaches and celery for several years with good results, but I haven't ever tried yellow squash, zucchini, broccoli, or beans. I know several people on this forum dehydrate so I'm asking here. Do I need to blanche the veggies first or do I just cut them up? Does the squash work best if the seeds are cut out? Anything else I need to know?

Thanks!

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lazy_gardens

Follow the directions that came with the dehydrator.

And check the "HARVEST" forum.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 10:58AM
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grainlady_ks

There are "new" (from 2004) home dehydrating recommendations that many books and manufacturers don't include in the drying information, which increases food safety of home-dehydrated foods. The new recommendations includes pre-treating fruits and vegetables with an acid solution prior to drying.

It was assumed that the low moisture content of home-dehydrated foods would prohibit microbial growth, but research shows the potential for microorganisms, such as Salmonella and E. Coli 0157:H7, are strong enough to survive basic drying methods, and new procedures are recommended to ensure the safety of home dried foods.

Within the link below you will find more links to up-to-date information specifically for fruit/vegetables/jerky.

If you have a cutting mandoline, you'll find the work for slicing zucchini/squash/cucumbers, etc., a much quicker job. The even thickness of the slices will help assure they dry evenly. Divide the size of slices. Put all the small end slices on one tray (or one side of a tray) and the med. and large slices on another tray (or side of a tray). This way all the like-sized slices will dry in about the same amount of time. If you mix the sizes on one tray, you'll have more work making sure the small slices are not over-done, and the large slices are not under-done.

Choose small zucchini/squash/cucumbers - without large seeds formed in the vegetable. I slice zucchini very thin and we use it as a fat-free substitute for potato chips. Thicker slices are used rehydrated in soup/casseroles, etc. You can sprinkle seasoned salt on the slices before drying to give them some flavor if you use them for snacking. I crumble dried cucumbers and add them to salads, or eat them as a snack. These thinly-sliced, dried to a crisp veggies work great with a yogurt dip, instead of potato chips.

Not all dehydrated foods have a long shelf-life, and squash/zucchini is included in that list. To extend the life beyond a month, vacuum-seal them in a jar using a FoodSaver and the jar attachment, or freeze your dehydrated food.

Check your library for some books on dehydrating for more information.

My favorites:

-How To Dry Foods - by Deanna DeLong
-Making & Using Dried Foods - by Phyllis Hobson
-Mary Bell's Complete Dehydrator Cookbook

All of these books do NOT include the new home drying recommendations, but are great resources for drying food at home. So make sure you add the acid treatment to increase the safety of your food.

-Grainlady

Here is a link that might be useful: New Home Drying Recommendations

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 6:29AM
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adellabedella_usa

Thanks Grainlady!

I've had this dehydrator for around 20 years. The original book didn't have a lot of information. I'm not even sure where it is anymore. I've always just used salt as a preservative.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 12:51PM
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