If you are looking for gift ideas that are one-of-a-kind that have your personal touch, consider making dehydrated food gifts for health-conscious family members, and friends!
Heck - make them for yourself too!
It's time to say "goodbye" to summer and welcome cooler temps (depending on where you live on the globe). In the US and Europe, the cooler festive season is fast approaching and the supermarkets and local roadside stands are
brimming with fresh fruits and vegetables. The timing couldn't
These gorgeous handmade dehydrated food gifts - that you're about to create - won't sit and spoil on your recipients' countertops any time soon.
You see, dehydrated food - when dried and packaged properly - has a long shelf life. Simply tuck in an 'oxygen absorber'
package right inside your gift that keeps your dehydrated food feeling
fresh! Seriously, oxygen absorber packets inhibit mold growth. Sorry to get all
serious on you there. But it has to be said.
I know you're eager to get going, so let’s leap right into crafting your very own DIY dehydrated food gifts in Mason jars and baskets!
As we twirl into the holiday swirl, (yup, I've had too much coffee...) it's such a blessing to see supermarkets and local roadside stands bursting at the seams with their bounties of fresh fruits and veggies.
Bear in mind: Dehydrated food gifts are not just unique; they are also a healthy and useful alternative to the usual (boring) gift options of socks, scarves, and underwear.
Plus, the anticipation of giving a homemade gift that you've put so much thought and effort into is simply unbeatable. Your friends and family will love you (even more) for it!
If you're at all worried about your lovely edible creations spoiling... well don't be. When foods are dried carefully, dehydrated food has a surprisingly long shelf life - so no fretting over your gifts going bad! And that's why adding the oxygen absorber in the Mason jar prior to screwing on the lid works to make sure your food doesn't go moldy.
No one wants a moldy gift.
The first step in making dehydrated food gifts is choosing the right foods to dehydrate. For the record, most fruits and vegetables dehydrate well.
Fruits make exceptional fruit leathers, aka rollups. Think
citrus (oranges, lemons, and limes), along with bananas, pears, and peaches... (Stop it, I'm getting hungry!)
The key is to choose ripe produce. Again, it doesn't matter what "shape" the fruit is. We have to slice'n'dice and dehydrate it!
The reason for the ripeness is this: Ripe fruits have higher sugar levels, resulting in sweeter and more flavorful dried fruit. Make sure they're ripe before dehydrating. The ripeness of a fruit drastically affects its sugar content which will impact the taste of the final dehydrated item.
Bear this in mind: the actual process of dehydration doesn't ripen fruit further, so starting with a ripe fruit is crucial. Avoid overripe or bruised fruits as they will 'darken' too soon and are more prone to potential spoilage. Again, misshapen is not to be associated with 'bruised.'
Side note: If you're making smoothies from ripe fruit, then by all means use the bruised and misshapen fruits! (I don't want to hurt their feelings...)
Go ahead and experiment with different fruits. The joy in
learning a new skill is in the journey, not just the destination. (Frustrating as that might be sometimes). Test out a few combos on yourself first, before gifting!
Now, let's talk about the dehydrating process itself. Try not to get impatient waiting for the dehydrating process to finish. Remember, good things take time.
All you need is fresh produce, an oven - or a dehydrator. Check out these pages on Nesco and Excalibur dehydrators, and What Are Food Dehydrators too. My choice - every time - is to use a dehydrator, I tried the 'oven-drying' method - once. (That ought to tell you all you need to know about oven drying). So: Get a dehydrator! You can "set it and forget it" and not worry about burning down the house...
The key to successful dehydration is to make sure the food is dried fully - and correctly. Dried foods should be allowed to cool and packed in airtight containers or vacuum-sealed bags.
For short-term storage, plastic food storage bags (specifically manufactured for use with a food vacuum sealer) can work well. But for long-term storage, you'd want to use glass Mason jars to keep your dehydrated food safe and fresh.
Seriously, adding your dehydrated slices of fruit to lovely glass Mason jars is the way to go. I wouldn't be overly ecstatic to receive dried food in vacuum-sealed bags as a gift, to be honest.
How about putting three filled Mason jars nestled in a basket?
Keep on reading!
How about creating themed gift baskets or jars filled with your dried goodies?
For instance, you could make a 'Tropical Delight' basket filled with dehydrated pineapple, mango, and coconut.
about a 'Veggie Crunch' jar with zucchini and beet chips... (now you're talkin').
Side note: Apples and pears make excellent fruit rollups. Check out how to make rollups here.
side note: Did you know that "going up the apple and pears," is
Cockney-rhyming slang for "going up the stairs?" Yup, Now your day is
complete. (What's Cockney-rhyming slang?) Thought you'd never ask. Check
that out here but COME BACK to continue learning how making dehydrated food gifts will make you the best gift-giver ever!
The oohs and aahs (gratitude) you'll receive from your loved ones when they receive these thoughtful, homemade gifts are priceless.
Looking to weave magic with some wicker basket gifts? Let's chat about just how to jazz them up!
Get ready to pull a rabbit out of a hat with the type of tissue paper you select.
Now, when it comes to colors, it's your, er, their party! Pick something that complements the dehydrated goodies stuffed inside or matches the occasion. Think red and green for Christmas. Pastels for Easter. Orange and black for Halloween. Don’t be shy to stack more tissue paper if your present is playing hard to get or has a bit of an edge (literally).
Your gift of dried fruit deserves a stunning wrapping, right? So, let's talk ribbons and bows. Satin or organza ribbons can add that luxury touch. Wired ribbons can hold their shape even better than a well-behaved poodle, and you can pick a color that matches or contrasts your tissue paper. Just make sure your ribbon isn’t trying to hog all the limelight from your basket...
Last but certainly not least, that crinkly-sounding clear plastic. It's often cellophane, the unsung hero of gift wrapping!
And if you do not want to go "the basket route," use these lovely clear plastic bags that measure almost 5.9" x 6.3" - use an assortment of smaller (half-pint size) Mason jars inside these bags!
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Creating delicious, long-lasting, and unique gifts is worth the effort. And who knows? You might discover that dehydrating food becomes a regular part of your kitchen routine. It's not just for holidays!
After all, making dehydrated food gifts is not just about the end product; it's about satisfaction - and empowerment - that comes from learning a new skill and sharing (actually gifting!) it with others.
I hope you enjoyed the inspiring gift basket images above! Remember, all you need to do is learn how to dehydrate fruits and vegetables safely. Read our "How to dehydrate fruit" and "How to dehydrate vegetables" pages.
Once you've mastered the art of dehydrating food, you'll be well on your way to creating unique healthy, and thoughtful gifts.
Before I sign off, please check out these beautiful potato-beaded necklaces by Janetta here.
And learn how to dehydrate potatoes here.
The author, Susan Gast, used GPT-4 by
OpenAI, Bard by Google, and Claude2 by Anthropic, to research this
topic. The author
then wrote this entire article, optimizing its content and value for you
the reader. As such, she takes ultimate responsibility for the content
this publication. Midjourney (and occasionally Leonardo) also helped her
bring back stunning images
for you to feast your eyes on. Also, utilizing AI as an assistant means she
can write better, more interesting articles - just for you - on a regular basis.