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Susan, I love the chicken dehydrating section and now the banana section. My question is: My dog loves this combination for a treat. They are becoming hard to find and expensive. Can you tell me how to combine both of these for a healthy homemade treat? Thank you, Cathy.
Hi Cathy! Thanks for the compliments, appreciate it! Now then, how to tackle chicken and bananas, in one! Seriously, this is what I would do: COOK the chicken first, and shred it apart with your hands or a fork. THEN add mushy bananas to the chicken. Mix. THEN make into small thin patties or strips and dehydrate them. Dehydrate them ON HIGH temp due to there being chicken in the mix! Please let us know how they turn out - and we can post the recipe on the site if you'd like – Cheers, Susan
Kelly from Canada wrote in to ask: How do I make the instant mashed potato flakes?
Good question, Kelly!
Thanks for writing in. Having never tried to make dehydrated potato flakes personally, how about this idea?: Grate raw potato as if you were making hash browns.
Then dehydrate it on fruit-roll sheets (so that the grated potato doesn't get stuck in the dehydrator trays).
When the potato is fully dried, you could do a very quick grind up in the blender or food processor. That would make it powdery.
Don't go adding butter or milk, as fat goes rancid. Vacuum seal
it with an oxy-pack and there you go!
Yes it will be bland upon re-hydrating, but that's when you can add the salt, pepper, butter, and milk! Give this a try and let us know how it worked for you! – Susan
I'm glad Lyn asked this: I am confused about the placement of oxygen absorbers. In one place, you said to put one in the Mylar bag along with the vacuum sealed food saver bag. If the Mylar bag is not to be vacuum sealed, why put an oxygen absorber into it?
Hi Lyn, apologies for any misunderstanding! Thanks for writing in.
In the small clear vacuum-sealer bags, we add the food AND a 100cc oxypack, and vacuum seal it. The oxypack's job is to absorb any stray air and moisture.
We then place our sealed vacuum-sealed bags (that contain the smaller 100cc oxypacks) into the larger Mylar bags. As an added precaution we add a 300cc oxypack in there too for the same reason, to absorb air and moisture. I hope that answered your question :-)
Abby posted on FB: Can you use wax paper instead of plastic wrap on dehydrator trays?
Hi Abby – I wouldn't recommend wax paper. It (the wax coating) can melt! Stick to either the roll-up sheets, or the plastic wrap, and remember to cut out the center hole if you're using a Nesco or similar brand dehydrator.
Regarding the Mylar bags. How do you seal them? Does it have a self seal method or do you seal it on your clear bag sealer (mine is a Food Saver) – Thanks, Mary
Hi Mary, thanks for writing in! You seal your Mylar bags on the Food-Saver, using the 'seal only' function because we don't draw air out of the Mylar bags. The Mylar bags are to hold several packages safely out of air, light, and moisture. Cheers, Susan.
From Diane: Thank you for this excellent source of educational material. Can you do a variety of vegetables and herbs at one time?
concern would be blending of flavors especially with herbs.
Diane! To answer your question as best I can: I'd have to say "no" to
dehydrating a variety – especially herbs AND other vegetables, and the
reason I'm saying "no" is that herbs take a VERY long time to dry out.
Also, different vegetables also have varying drying-time lengths.
However, if you want to have Rosemary-flavored potatoes, why NOT have both items going, and simply take out the potatoes when they're done, and replace them with a new batch, while the Rosemary continues drying!
If you try that, please let us know how it turned out for you!
Glen wrote in a short while ago to ask "How do you dehydrate
beets?" I said to treat them like potatoes. He did. Glen replied today
with this: "I did the beets as you suggested and they turned out just
fine! I boiled them first, then I peeled the skin off and sliced them
for the trays. They dried out perfectly just like chips. The one thing I
noticed is that due to the sugar content in beets, some slices were
very sticky, but once dry they were fine. I did have to wash all my
trays afterwards due to this red sticky sap that occurred!"
Hi Glen, thanks for much for taking time to share your beets with us! Glad to hear they worked out, but sorry to hear that they do indeed have a habit of staining. Use the non-stick sheets that Dehydrator manufacturers sell, that should help! Cheers, Susan
Jodie posted: Can I dehydrate pre-cooked turkey bacon and then vacuum seal in jars?
Hi Jodie, I prefer to store meat flat, in vacuum-sealed bags to really remove as much air as possible. BUT you can store your meat in jars, IF you're going to eat it within a week or so (don't forget to put an oxypack in the jars!)
I've been looking at your directions for drying veggies. And, I wanted to know what the shelf live is for this process? I've done cabbage and am trying to do carrots. I'm putting them into mason jars and vacuuming the air out. My wife thought if we did the sliced carrots that they would or should be more brittle and according to your directions they are more like leathery. I'm going to do some that are shredded and see how they come out. We are using a Nesco Dehydrator Model 61 – thanks, Ron
Hi Ron, first – thanks for writing in! Regarding the shelf life: if unopened, then at least six months or more with an oxypack. If the food is in a jar that you open, say once or twice a week, then you're looking at three to six months with an oxypack. Don't worry about your carrots being a little leathery, that's OK! Don't forget to use either cling wrap (cut out the center hole!) or use the plastic solid sheets for the grated carrots (and it will take longer with the sheets!). Cheers, Susan
Hi Sue, I am going to try my first batch of onions tonight, I like
to use minced garlic, onion, whole pepper and sea salt in my pepper
mill. Will these onions be dry enough for grinding? Thanks, Bob
Hi Bob! If you let them sit around a day in a Ziploc bag (after dehydrating) you'll be able to tell if the onions are really crisp or still a bit on the damp side. If still 'damp', then dehydrate some more. For grinding, they really need to be dry. Great idea Bob, by the way! Thanks for posting.
Carrie asks: Can you recommend an oxy pack that is NOT made in China? Hard to find them on-line with that info. Thanks from Idaho.
Hi Carrie – unfortunately I don't have any oxypack info. and I was going to suggest going online to search for US suppliers, which is what you've already done. Sorry about that ... Thanks for posting, Susan.
Marlene posted this: Question about dehydrating Green Tomatoes. I
was given a recipe and have lots of green tomatoes brought in from the
garden. Have you tried them? Would they have the same flavor when re-hydrated and could I make my pie recipe at a later time with
Hi Marlene – thanks for writing in! I say "go for it"! And when you've made your pie, take photos while you do it, and then we can devote a whole page to your pie! You be the judge and let us know how it tastes! Cheers, Susan
Sallie posted on FB: Can I use 'Fruit-Fresh' in place of lemon juice to keep the fruit from turning brown?
Hi Sallie, thanks for posting!
YES – you can use Ball's "Fruit-Fresh" produce protector, though I've never tried it – so do us a favor and report back and let us know if it does indeed work in a dehydrator!
NOTE: they do say though that it only protects up to 8 hours and we know that our apples, for instance, will be in the dehydrator maybe longer than 8 hours, so that's why I say "give it a try!" I think it'll be fine!