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On FAQ 10, Trina asked if it was OK to eat dehydrated vegetables for snacks, and Nick from Wales wanted to add this as his super response (thanks Nick!)
Hi Susan, Nick from Wales just coming in to comment on one of the FAQ page 10 questions regarding eating raw dehydrated veg as travel sweets. I do this all the time and only this morning topped up my airtight plastic container with dehydrated to crisp consistency salt, pepper, thyme, and sugar-seasoned tomatoes – along with carrots, beets, radish – all cut into 1/8th inch discs – work well in an assorted box.
Added to this were kiwi fruit discs (skin on), apples, apricots, raspberries, and banana chips (spiced before dehydrating with allspice).
No idea how long they will last as I've not yet had anything go bad so certainly 4 months minimum as that's how long I've had the box kicking around in the cab of the Landrover, topping up here and there as ingredients crop up.
I reckon any veg that is attractive to eat fresh & raw would be worth a go – all done to a hard consistency.
I did some nice ripe pears the other day, skin on in wedges, they shrank away to nothing and were I thought horrid. Ah we'll can't win 'em all eh?!
Thanks for the great news letters .. great format & content. Until the next time, CHEERS! N
Hi Susan, I wanted to know what you thought the process should be for dehydrating yams? I figured if you can dehydrate potatoes so I'm thinking yams can be done similarly. Look forward to hearing from you soon. FYI, I've done cabbage, mushrooms, carrots and celery already. It's so nice knowing that if anything ever happens to our local food supply that I've got my own vegetables and all I need to do is re-hydrate. Take care and God Bless! – Ron T. in California.
Hi Ron! I've never eaten yams before, so bear that in mind with my response to your question.
There are two varieties of sweet potatoes; most of us are familiar with the outer golden colored skin with innards to match; and then there's the lighter-skinned with lighter innards. Then there are yams. Yams are native to Africa and Asia and have starchy flesh and have a bark-like outer skin. Yams can be small like potatoes or grow up to five feet long!
Treat yams like sweet potatoes for dehydrating. If you're pre-boiling the yams (like regular potatoes) and letting them cool overnight, then remember sweet potatoes don't take as long to cook in the pan. Do the fork test as you boil the yams as I've never cooked yams before!
Slice the cold cooked potatoes pretty thick if you're just wanting to re-hydrated them later and perhaps "mash them up".
If you want to try chips, then slice the raw sweet potatoes (again, I've never tried yams) into very thin slices and toss in olive oil and and sea salt. (You can do this for regular potatoes too!) They need to be thin for a few reasons: potatoes are NOT to be eaten raw due to them being in the nightshade family - so the heat from the dehydration takes care of that; plus thinner slices crisp up better. Make sure to add enough oil for the crispyness factor, and dehydrate at 115°F - 125°F – until crispy – can take up to a day! When cooled completely, put in airtight containers as they will "go soft" pretty fast.
Nikki, from Ontario, Canada asks: Can you use frozen fruits to purée for Fruit Rollups?
Nikki, you can use frozen fruits for your rollups – no problem! Let it
thaw first, that way it'll spend less time on the dehydrator.
Also, letting it thaw enables the excess freezer frost water go down the drain. If you leave in the bag to thaw, remember to drain out the excess water; or let the frozen fruit thaw in a sieve, over a bowl.
"How do I dehydrate eggs?" asks Scott ...
Hi Scott, I believe a safe way to dehydrate eggs is to first scramble them. Do not add any seasoning or milk. Then dehydrate the eggs. If you're not lucky enough to have your own laying chickens, then another good alternative is to purchase already-dehydrated eggs from Honeyville Farms. Thanks for posting – Susan.
Michael wrote in to ask this:
"I have some really soft bananas and don't think I can slice them.
Can they be smashed and spread on the sheets to be dried in strips like a fruit leather?"
Hi Michael, thanks for writing.
You can indeed use very soft bananas in a fruit leather.
Just make sure to add a decent spray of lemon juice to the bananas so they don't oxidize too fast.
Give it a shot, and let us know how they turned out!
Amy has three questions for us:
1) When making apple chips, can you add spices before dehydrating, like cinnamon?
2) Can you dehydrate marinated chicken breasts, like beef jerky?
3) Can you dehydrate fruits at the same time as onion or garlic without the fruit taking on the garlic/onion flavor?
Here's my answers for Amy:
1) Hi Amy, thanks for posting! Yes you can add spices prior to dehydrating when making chips!
When we dehydrate beef for jerky, the spices act as a preservative.
When marinating raw meat, expect it to take longer to dry out, but this
does cause me a bit of concern regarding salmonella and that's why I
mention dehydrating 'cooked' meat on our site. But if you wish to marinate
raw meat, slice the chicken into even thickness-slices. Marinate the
chicken overnight and then dehydrate. If your dehydrator manufacturer
provided a "how to dehydrate meat" booklet with your purchase, then
please, by all means, follow their directions.
3) It's a "NO" to doing fruits and smelly onions and garlic at the same time! Thanks for posting! :-)
Lonni posted this: This is an excellent site! I have a Ronco Food Dehydrator, and haven't used in quite a while. Now I'm inspired to use it more often. I have a Q: Why do you need to blanch the veggies before dehydrating? What does blanching do? Also, can I dehydrate left over cooked veggies, and how about watermelon? Thank you! I'm going to tell my friends about this site. It's very informative ... and makes me hungry!
Hi Lonnie, thanks for posting! Blanching slows down the action of enzymes that make our fruits and veggies go bad; also blanching enables the fruit/veg to retain their fresh colors ... if you use frozen veggies, you can skip the blanching as the manufacturer already did that step for us!
Don't over-blanch as that is counter-productive, resulting in less flavorful fruit and veggies, and toughens them. Regarding dehydrating the cooked veggies, I do it all the time with my potatoes.
When they have cooled overnight in the fridge, it makes them very easy to slice the following day. However, having said that, make sure your leftovers aren't highly seasoned, or have sauce/gravy on them.
Try a pack for yourself, and label them as "pre cooked" then you won't forget. Watermelon dehydrates well - remember to save the seeds for roasting later on! See the "melons" page on the site.
I bought some snacking dried green beans at Whole Foods and they were very yummy ... and EXPENSIVE! I tried dehydrating canned GB ... they tasted good, but looked like a shriveled up little booger! I have some fresh ones in there now ... How can I keep them looking like a green bean? – Betty
Hi Betty! Yes, they DO shrivel up, don't they! Don't worry about that ... when they get re-hydrated, they plump right back up!