Anyone got a Dehydrator?

You all seem to be such proficient chefs. Well here is a place to share some of that cooking knowledge. Or do you have a cooking problem? Ask away. Jams and chutneys go here too.
Post Reply
Somnophore
Jerry - Bit higher than newbie
Jerry - Bit higher than newbie
Posts: 46
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:55 pm
latitude: 53 14 N
longitude: 02 30 W
Location: Chester, UK

Anyone got a Dehydrator?

Post: # 260498Post Somnophore
Tue May 15, 2012 12:28 pm

I'm looking at getting one to make dried fruit snacks, jerky, and preserving foraged fruit and herbs etc. any recommendations and ideas for what to use it for welcome.

User avatar
Odsox
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 5267
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 2:21 pm
Location: West Cork, Ireland

Re: Anyone got a Dehydrator?

Post: # 260499Post Odsox
Tue May 15, 2012 1:02 pm

Yes, I've got one.
It doesn't get a great deal of use, mainly during the harvesting season. Usual things we dry are tomatoes, apricots, onions and hopefully this year grapes for sultanas. It also get used for a final flourish of heat for haricot and borlotto beans and also on a low setting for saved seed peas and beans.
Also for things I didn't grow, we have dried mushrooms, pineapple and bananas (which are gorgeous dried to a leathery stage) and probably other things that I can't think of at the moment. :scratch: :iconbiggrin:
Tony

Disclaimer: I almost certainly haven't a clue what I'm talking about.

User avatar
Green Aura
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 8894
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:16 pm
latitude: 58.569279
longitude: -4.762620
Location: North West Highlands

Re: Anyone got a Dehydrator?

Post: # 260504Post Green Aura
Tue May 15, 2012 1:23 pm

Yes, I've got one too. I've only had it for a few months so haven't explored it fully yet.
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

User avatar
Carltonian Man
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 575
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:29 am
Location: Nottingham

Re: Anyone got a Dehydrator?

Post: # 260512Post Carltonian Man
Tue May 15, 2012 2:28 pm

We have one too. Not often it comes out but is great for (wild) mushrooms. Of all the fruit we've tried pineapple is probably the tastiest and pear probably the easiest. Don't usually bother with rinsing the fruit in lemon juice etc to stop it turning brown either, it just adds more water to get rid of. Slice it up fairly quick and get it in the dehydrator asap

User avatar
British Red
Barbara Good
Barbara Good
Posts: 111
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 9:27 pm
Location: Mercia

Re: Anyone got a Dehydrator?

Post: # 260523Post British Red
Tue May 15, 2012 5:05 pm

I use one extensively. I now have a top of the range side fan type, but startyed with the basic round five tray jobs. We make everything from jerky to dried tomatoes, home made fruit leathers...dried pasta sauces and chilli.

People like Westafalia do basic models - and they are just fine

http://www2.westfalia.net/shops/househo ... drator.htm

Best stuff is a 9 tray excalibur

http://www.energiseyourlife.com/product ... Timer.html

Happy to post recipes or answer questions

Red
Com on wanre niht scriðan sceadugenga

User avatar
Thomzo
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 4302
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:42 pm
Location: Swindon, South West England

Re: Anyone got a Dehydrator?

Post: # 260533Post Thomzo
Tue May 15, 2012 7:04 pm

I've got one of those cheap ones from Westfalia. It only has one setting but it's absolutely fine for what I want. Like the others, I use it mainly for produce. Apples, strawberries (they don't hang around for long), currants and herbs. I tried drying grapes for sultanas but it took ages. I might try cutting them in half next time. The thinner the better for drying. Too thick and it takes too long.

Zoe
Think globally, shop locally
Check out my blog at http://designedbyzoe.blogspot.com/
http://www.thomzo.co.uk

User avatar
safronsue
Living the good life
Living the good life
Posts: 280
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:03 pm
Location: Kozani, Greece

Re: Anyone got a Dehydrator?

Post: # 260560Post safronsue
Wed May 16, 2012 4:21 am

we are just about to make a solar dehydrator using Eben V. Fodor's book. I had great success making leathers last year and my prefered method for preserving toms is with the sun but often resorted to a fan oven due to dodgy weather.
Red, a complete pasta sauce?? how do you do that? what's your fav leather recipe? ours was basically plum and peach, really useful for fruit cakes and buns. we'll have a load of apricots this year and plan to be doing those just halved. how long does your machine take to do half an apricot?

Somnophore
Jerry - Bit higher than newbie
Jerry - Bit higher than newbie
Posts: 46
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:55 pm
latitude: 53 14 N
longitude: 02 30 W
Location: Chester, UK

Re: Anyone got a Dehydrator?

Post: # 260576Post Somnophore
Wed May 16, 2012 9:00 am

I know in some parts of the world including the dry states of America including California they just sun dry stuff, that's not at all possible in the UK lol

User avatar
British Red
Barbara Good
Barbara Good
Posts: 111
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 9:27 pm
Location: Mercia

Re: Anyone got a Dehydrator?

Post: # 260581Post British Red
Wed May 16, 2012 10:38 am

safronsue wrote:we are just about to make a solar dehydrator using Eben V. Fodor's book. I had great success making leathers last year and my prefered method for preserving toms is with the sun but often resorted to a fan oven due to dodgy weather.
Red, a complete pasta sauce?? how do you do that? what's your fav leather recipe? ours was basically plum and peach, really useful for fruit cakes and buns. we'll have a load of apricots this year and plan to be doing those just halved. how long does your machine take to do half an apricot?
Sue, for the sauces I make them (without meat) in the usual way - reduce until thick and dry just like a fruit leather. It works very well indeed.

As for the leathers....

I’ve done tutorials on drying fruit, making jerky and drying herbs in a dehydrator before. Some fruits don’t lend themselves to drying too well – rhubarb (goes stringy), gooseberries (thick skin) and raspberries (turn to mush). They can be dried though – as a fruit leather. These are those strange stretchy fruit things that kids love (winders etc.). This tutorial will show how to make them.

Before you start, line the trays of your dehydrator unless you have specialist “leather” trays or shetts. The fruit will drip through the mesh of open trays. I use microwaveable cling film but aluminium foil would work I should think. Make sure you make holes where all the air vents should be.

Step 1 – gather your fruit.

For each “tray” of my dehydrator I need about a litre (quart) of fruit – clearly for something like rhubarb this needs to be chopped. So step one is a wander round the veg patch and see what’s in surplus

Rhubarb

Image

Raspberry

Image

Gooseberry

Image

Step 2 – Prepare the fruit

It’s a good idea to was all the gathered fruit as the low temperatures we will use may not kill any nasties. Ultimately we will be putting all the fruit through a blender but we need to get it soft if it isn’t already. A wash will suffice for the raspberries but the rhubarb needs to be chopped into ½” slices

Image

And the goosegogs “topped and tailed”

Image
Step 3 – soften if necessary

The harder fruits need to be softened before pureeing. The raspberries need nothing but the gooseberries and rhubarb need to be put into a pan with a TINY amount of water (less than a quarter cup) and heated gently just until they are soft

One softened if necessary put your fruit into a blender. If you don’t have a blender you can crush the fruit with a fork in a mixing bowl. I add two tablespoons of honey to each litre of fruit – I find this helps in bind into a good leather. Others use apple with soft fruit since the pectin helps the leather set – either is good.

Image

Image

Image

Step 4 – puree

If you have a blender, slap the lid on and give the fruit a good “whiz up”. If not, use a fork back against the side of the bowl. You are going for porridge like consistency here

Image

Image

Image

After this, if you want to remove seeds and pips, push the puree through a sieve with the back of a spoon. I like the seeds in so I don’t bother but its up to you

Step 5 – load dehydrator

Don’t forget to ensure you have prepared your dehydrator trays with a covering if they are the mesh type.

Using a palette knife or spoon, spread you puree evenly over the trays. Aim to go no more than ¼” thick or you’ll be drying the stuff till the next ice age

Don’t get the puree too near the air holes as it will spread a bit and you don’t want it dripping through the holes

Image

Image

Image

Step 6 – Dehydrate

Turn on your dehydrator (you can do this on baking sheets in a very cool oven if you prefer). I find this will take 7-10 hours to dry out so leave plenty of time

Keep going till you have a stiff but bendy sheet of leather. It will be about a third of the original height

Image

Peel the leather carefully off the backing sheet

Image

Step 7 prepare rolls

Cut your fruit leather into strips (I use scissors) and roll each strip up for convenient storage

Image

Image

Image

Step 8 cool and store

I leave the rolls to cool on a plate in the fridge for 24 hours – I find storing them warm leads to condensation

After 24 hours I put mine in a plastic tub and keep in the fridge (not really necessary). I shove a mixed handful in a ziplock for day walks or take the whole tub as trail snacks and deserts for longer trips. You can of course add water and turn them back into a sort of pie filling or hot desert

Red
Com on wanre niht scriðan sceadugenga

User avatar
safronsue
Living the good life
Living the good life
Posts: 280
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:03 pm
Location: Kozani, Greece

Re: Anyone got a Dehydrator?

Post: # 260584Post safronsue
Wed May 16, 2012 11:14 am

this is great. i will definitely be doing the sauce idea. !

jim
Living the good life
Living the good life
Posts: 450
Joined: Tue May 20, 2008 8:19 am
Location: South Hants UK

Re: Anyone got a Dehydrator?

Post: # 260586Post jim
Wed May 16, 2012 11:21 am

Plenty of home-built ones here

http://www.permies.com/

and video instructions too!

Love and Peace
Jim
The law will punish man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the Common
But lets that greater thief go loose
Who steals the Common from the goose.

User avatar
British Red
Barbara Good
Barbara Good
Posts: 111
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 9:27 pm
Location: Mercia

Re: Anyone got a Dehydrator?

Post: # 260592Post British Red
Wed May 16, 2012 12:58 pm

safronsue wrote:this is great. i will definitely be doing the sauce idea. !
Its works well. Of course I do dry the meat as well - but separately. Meat needs to be really dry (or well salted) for ambient storage in the longer term. Jerk, hamburger rocks and all that stuff works well. Hamburger rocks are brilliant because they are so small - and so healthy.

Red
Com on wanre niht scriðan sceadugenga

Luath
Living the good life
Living the good life
Posts: 243
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2005 7:58 am

Re: Anyone got a Dehydrator?

Post: # 260679Post Luath
Thu May 17, 2012 10:14 am

Still on my quest to become less and less reliant on electricity, I won't have an electric dehydratr I use a rack on top of the RAyburn, with the lid down. Metal racks, got cheaply from the tip, the best ones are the 'shelf extenders' sort fo things, sold for making an extra shelf oin the larder/cupboard - they ahve good sturdy legs, so the actual grill and food is not touching any heat. Dries very well in a few hours - mushrooms, herbs, fruit, all sorts. Oaid about 10- or so for the racks I think.
visit my Creative Living forum
unboughtdelicacies
Radical sanity - it's the way to go.

Post Reply