Category Archives: Dehydrating

Oathkeepers presentation – Dehydrating Foods


51BNPS4kYOLDehydrating Foods
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Every gardening season, we have an over-abundance of vegetables in the garden. We can and dehydrate everything that we don’t eat fresh.  Some of the favorites in our household are “sun-dried” tomatoes, zucchini chips, watermelon chips, fruit roll-ups and jerky. We also use our dehydrator for rising bread and for making yogurt. (This only works in the box dehydrators like the Excalibur.)

Here is a link to the Excalubur dehydrator that I have on Amazon (about $199): http://amzn.to/29ohJKJ

What is Food Dehydrating? (http://www.rhubarb-central.com/why-dehydrate-food.html)

Dehydrating food is a method of preserving fruits, vegetables, meats, and other food by removing the moisture from the food. Drying food helps prevent the growth of microorganisms and decay of the food, and increases the “shelf life” of the food.

What Types of Food Can be Dehydrated?

Fruits, vegetables, meats, herbs, flowers, bread (for bread crumbs), and pet treats, are examples of foods which can be dried. You can dehydrate almost anything that contains water!

Can I Dry Different Foods Together in the Same Dehydrator?

Yes, you can dry, for example, various fruits together, different vegetables together, etc., and the flavors should not mix. However, it is not advisable to dry onions with any other food.

Does Drying Food Destroy the Nutritional Value Foods?

Sources suggest that a minimal loss of nutrients occurs during the food dehydration process, however about 90% of the vitamins and minerals will be retained. When using a higher heat temperature, the foods will dry faster, but this will also result in more nutrient loss. 

How Long Does it Take to Dehydrate Food?

The time to dry food depends on the type of food, quantity, and the capabilities of the dehydrator.

Do I Need to Pre-treat Foods Before Hydrating Them?

Pre-treating foods may enhance the color and flavor of certain foods, but it is not necessary to pre-treat foods. If desired, options are dipping, blanching and marinating. Apples and pears can be pre-treated to help prevent them from oxidizing when exposed to air, and turning a brownish color.

How Do I Store Dried Foods?

Always store dehydrated food in airtight containers or bags. Store the containers or bags in a cool, dry place, away from light and humidity.

How Long Can Dried Foods be Stored?

For the best appearance, and the optimum nutritional value, dried food should be stored for a maximum of one year. Vacuum packaging extends the “shelf life”. Refrigeration or freezing of dried food will double or triple the “shelf life”.

Can I “Powder” My Dehydrated Foods?

Yes, you may wish to “powder” certain foods, such as onion, garlic, tomatoes, etc. Dried food can be processed in a blender or a food processor to the desired texture, for use in sauces, pastes, and seasonings. If desired, options are dipping, blanching and marinating. Apples and pears can be pre-treated to help prevent them from oxidizing when exposed to air, and turning a brownish color.

 

5 Simple Food Dehydrating Tipshttp://learn.compactappliance.com/guide-to-dehydrating-food/

Here are five basic food dehydrating tips that you should keep in mind.

1.    Make sure you have the right temperature:

The temperature and time required to adequately dehydrate will vary depending on the type of dehydrator you buy, as well as the food you want to dehydrate. General time and temperature guidelines will be printed on the dehydrator label or included in the instruction manual along with suggested times needed.

2.    Make sure foods are 95% dehydrated:

In order to be stored properly, foods need to be at least 95 percent dehydrated. If your items feel soft, spongy or sticky, put them back in the dehydrator for additional time. Hard and crunchy or breakable pieces are done. High indoor humidity, air conditioning or breezes may alter the time needed to dehydrate foods. Ideally, find a dry, warm place away from air vents and windows to set up your dehydrator.

3.    Don’t try to dry foods quicker:

Do not worry about over-drying your foods. You can dry them longer if necessary, but it’s not wise to turn the temperature settings up in an attempt to dry the foods quicker. This will seal the outside, leaving moisture within, which will ultimately lead to the food spoiling before you have a chance to eat it.

4.    Preparation is key:

Before you add dehydrate anything, make sure you thoroughly wash all foods with an anti-bacterial vegetable cleaner. Wear gloves when preparing foods to avoid getting skin oils on the food. Steam all low-acid vegetables for 10 minutes prior to dehydrating. After they have been steamed, pat them dry before placing them in the food dehydrator. Spritz bananas and apples with lemon juice to avoid browning.

5.    Become more efficient

Just like you’re using an oven, it is wise to turn on the dehydrator prior to use to allow it to warm up to the required temperature before adding food. Prepare items that require the same temperature, and dehydrate at the same time. For best results, slice all items to equal thickness and size.

Simple Dehydrator Recipes

 

Watermelon

  1. Remove the rind and cut the watermelon in desired shapes and sizes.
  2. Place the watermelon on the mesh sheets that come with the dehydrator.
  3. Dry at 145 degrees (F)  for 1 hour, then reduce to 115 degrees (F) for 6-8 hours or until dry.

The dry time will vary depending on the machine you are using, the climate you live in, humidity and how full the dehydrator is. It will also depend on thick or thin you cut the pieces.

  1. Store in an airtight container for 3-12 months.

 

Meat Jerky (You can use beef, pork, venison, elk, buffalo, etc.

  1. Cut meat into 3/16 inch thickness
  2. Combine all ingredients into a bowl making sure meat is completely covered in marinade.
  3. Cover for 4-10 hours.
  4. Place on Excalibur dehydrator trays and dry at 155F until meat cracks. This takes approximately 6-8 hours.

Dehydrated Tomatoes Recipe

  1. Wash and slice tomatoes 1/4 inch thick
  2. Add 1 gram of pure absorbic acid (vitamin C) to a bowl of water
  3. Submerge the tomatoes in this water for about 3-4 minutes – this helps preserve the color
  4. Remove the tomoatoes from the water
  5. Place slices on Excalibur Dehydrator trays
  6. Dry at 135 degree F for 7-8 hours or until dry
  7. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container

 

Dehydrated Potatoes Recipe

  1. Peel potatoes (optional) and slice crosswise 1/8″ inch thick or dice into 3/8″ cubes
  2. Then boil for 5-10 minutes. Allow the potatoes to cool
  3. Next, place in a single layer on a Paraflexx lined Excalibur Dehydrator tray
  4. Season with salt and pepper if desired
  5. Dry at 125 degrees F for 6-8 hours

 

Dehydrating Eggs (http://bigredcouch.com/journal/?p=3923)

1 tbsp of the egg powder to 2 tbsp water

  1. Scramble 1 dozen eggs without any oil or butter.
  2. Once fully scrambled, place eggs on dehydrator tray and dehydrate for 12 hours at 145 degrees.
  3. Once dehydrated, place eggs into blender or food processor and blend until a fine powder.
  4. Once blended, place powder into a jar.

Homemade Yogurt

  1. Pour milk into saucepan, heat over medium until temperature reaches 185°F-195°F.
  2. Cool milk to about 100-115 degrees F. Whisk in yogurt with active cultures. Make sure yogurt is mixed in well with milk.
  3. Transfer mixture into glass jars, and close with lids.
  4. Remove all trays from dehydrator and place jars inside.
  5. Dehydrate for 8 to 10 hours. Do not stir or check yogurt during this time.
  6. Once dehydrating is done, place in fridge. Yogurt will thicken as it cools.

 

Websites with dehydrating recipes:

http://momwithaprep.com/101-dehydrating-recipes/

http://pioneersettler.com/category/homesteading-lost-skills-tips/cooking-food/drying-smoking/

https://www.excaliburdehydrator.com/index.php/recipe/index/list/

 

 

 

I LOVE Zucchini!

IMG_20150902_183620072Every year I have a zucchini post. I absolutely LOVE zucchini… as long as it isn’t “mushy”, I am good with it.

We have made everything from breads, cakes, cookies, veggie stir fries, fried, baked and even pizzas with zucchini.

Yes, this time of year is a crazy time… monsoon weather comes up and yes, zucchinis start growing and growing and GROWING!!!  I remember the year that I moved to Arizona, about 25 years ago, someone left a bag of zucchini in my mom’s car at the grocery store… The zucchini wars of 1991 in Chino Valley, AZ.

Zucchini Chips - www.krisandlarry.comThere are many different ways to prepare zucchini… We LOVE Z-Bread – and have now perfects a Gluten-Free version for Trystan… All of the kids gobble this one down!  Click here for that recipe! 

We make a TON of dried chips during the summ
er, including kale and zucchini.

Since I have a few zucchinis the size of my arm… yes, I know… you are supposed to pick them when they are little… but, they seem to grow overnight with the monsoon rain. We sliced them thin and placed in a glass bowl.

I drizzle with 1T of olive oil and toss until coated.

Lay out on the dehydrator trays – I run 2 Excalibur 3900 dehydrators most of the summer and fall with goodies for snack for later.

Sprinkle with salt (We only use pink salt in our house… and I grind it … SO GOOD!) Or you can try a BBQ blend, garlic salt, ranch dressing mix (we make our own with buttermilk and other seasonings)

Dry at 115 degrees for 12+ hours or until crisp.  (Don’t use too much oil or they will be greasy and mushy and ever get really crisp)

Budgeting for food for your family

IABM_1437409961 am asked all of the time… “How much do you spend on groceries a month?”

$600 (ok, pick your jaw up off of the ground) Yes, for our family of 10, I only spend $600 a month. Do you know why? Because that is all that is in the budget anyhow! So I make do!!!

My kids do not go without EVER! They just don’t get filled up with processed foods.

Every month, I take $600 cash out of my account. I DO NOT use my debit card for groceries EVER! I would tend to spend as much as I want if I do not budget out cash. I always take a calculator with me to the store or use my cell phone in order to budget better. And I know exactly what I am buying before I walk in the door. A list truly helps.  In this budget, we do buy gluten free bread and occasionally GF pasta. Although, Zucchini makes REALLY YUMMY pasta noodles.

Let’s do a breakdown. 

  1. For starters, I don’t buy eggs, I have chickens, ducks, geese and quail. They give me sufficient eggs and then I sell what I have left for money to go to chicken and quail food. We eat eggs about 4 times a week. And I sell enough eggs to cover their feed.
  2. In the summer, I grow my own veggies, including lettuce that I eat at every meal. We have a 1/4 acre garden and an aquaponics system. We plant lettuce, spinach, kale and Swiss chard for salad greens as well as tomatoes, egg plant, peppers, tomatillos, zucchini, onions, etc. If you don’t have a lot of time, you can plant spinach and lettuce in big pots on your back porch and grow the base of your salad.
  3. I buy in bulk every chance that I get. I buy bulk meat. I buy bulk fruit. Heck, I buy bulk rice too!
  4. We do not buy hamburger helper or rice-a-roni. I used to, but then I realized how bad those foods are for me. So, we make our own. It may be cheap… but… Try mixing cheese in with hot quinoa. Or some ranch dip mix(we make our own dip mix too) in with pasta and a little milk.
  5. I don’t clip coupons anymore because the foods on the coupons tend to be the processed foods that are full of artificial EVERYTHING that I don’t want my kids eating anyway. I do however watch the sale flyers for my local Sprouts and Safeway stores for meat and veggie deals.
  6. I make a menu for the week. I do not always stick to it, but I do make it so I know what we “plan” on eating and what we have in our cabinets.
  7. Figure out your staples in your household. We eat refried beans and ranch beans several times a week for a side. I make my own by buying dried beans in BULK!!!  We cook in a pressure cooker to get the beans going. We also cook chickpeas in the pressure cooker (that I also buy in bulk) to make hummus as a snack. We buy rice in 50 pound bags, and beans in 20 pound bags. I buy several pounds of quinoa when it is on sale and I fill up 1/2 gallon jars for storage.
  8. If I am buying chicken, I only buy boneless chicken breasts on sale ($1.77/pound or cheaper) and I buy a lot of them and fill up my freezer. I do NOT buy ground chicken even though we use that often for tacos and burritos.  Ground chicken costs $3.99/pound so instead I invested in a meat grinder to attach to my kitchen aid and grind my own.
  9. My kids LOVE dehydrated fruit! I have 2 of the big Excalibur dehydrators, that I have running all of the time. If I find a great sale on strawberries, then I buy a lot of strawberries.  They go great in homemade instant oatmeal, granola snacks and even fresh yogurt. We get our fair share of strange looks from people when I purchase 25 watermelons – you should try dehydrating watermelons… they are SO YUMMY!
  10. Costco and Sam’s Clubs are great… But know that your will not get out of there without spending several hundred dollars or more. Every month, I stock up on certain items that I know that I will use like canned goods as a go-to meal add in like corn or green beans or even green chilies. Again make a list.
  11. If you are worried about budgeting, try pre-making freezer meals for later use. 10 meals can be put together in a single afternoon with no problem. Meat and veggies go a long way in a stew. Honey mustard chicken and pineapple chicken can be prepared ahead of time and then put in a crockpot in the morning to cook all day. If you premake the meals, it is as simple as defrosting and pouring in. (All of the veggies are already cut for you.) My secret is to put on a movie and work while that movie is on. It keeps my mind going and then I have set my limit, so I need to work.
  12. Use what you have in your pantry. You bought it at one time for something! Rotate!
  13. Making bread from scratch only takes a few minutes of prep time. We make dough just once a week and I put that in the oven after dinner or when I am getting kids up and going in the morning. We even buy bulk wheat seeds and grind my own wheat for the kids who can eat gluten. Pitas and tortillas are simple to make too.
  14. Water can and should replace kids drinks like koolaid. We drink water and iced tea rather than Koolaid and soda in our house. Tea bags are inexpensive. Juice is a rare thing here, because of juice rotting teeth and we do not buy soda. For tea sweetener, try liquid stevia. A jar lasts forever. Or slice up fruit and add to pitchers of water.
  15. Try buying a pig from a local farm to send to the butcher. Better meat! Try you local 4H or FFA groups, they will often have animals ready to go. This actually helps local and allows you to use all different cuts of meat. Or, you can raise your own. (Not for everyone!)
  16. Find a fruit and veggie co-op. Bountiful baskets offers awesome produce weekly.
  17. I do not buy laundry detergent… I make my own. Fabric softener… Yep, make that too… When my kids were little, heck, we even used cloth diapers. I buy theives cleaner in concentrate and mix my own.

Here is an average day of meals for us.  (Remember too that we homeschool so kids are not getting a school lunches either) The kids ages are 3, 7, 7, 9, 9, 11, 13, and 17.

Breakfast: Eggs and sausage with a slice of fruit or a stir-fry of veggies.  Or an egg bake of eggs, spinach and feta cheese. Homemade oatmeal and dried fruit and milk. Or Rice with butter and brown sugar.

Lunch: PB and honey sandwich with yogurt and carrot sticks. Chicken salad lettuce wrap with coleslaw, or quesadillas with sour cream and salsa with apples and peanut butter.

Dinner: BBQ-ed chicken with BBQed Zucchini,  enchiladas and rice, tacos and beans, or spaghetti and french bread. We offer salads at every meal for the kids. Another favorite in our house is shepherd’s pie. Every meal is cooked from scratch because I want to know what my kids are eating.

Snack: Carrots or Hummus and pita chips, or homemade granola bars, apple or pears, or string cheese (the only thing that I buy that is individually wrapped.)  I always have carrots available for snacks as well as apples, bananas or oranges. I buy all of those in bulk too. Carrots come in 25 pound bags from my local grocery store for only $7. It lasts us about 2 weeks unless the bunnies or goats get it first.(and by that I mean that the kiddoes are feeding them!)

This season, we began raising our own meat in rabbits (we have our first litters to butcher in about a month)  and chickens (we have 23 meat birds that will bulk up in about 6 weeks for my freezer). We also have 4 goats that next season will start giving us goats’ milk for drinking and making cheese. Our budget will go down even more next season with meat and milk. Yea! We have a neighbor that gives us 2 gallons of goats milk a week from her goats and we exchange some veggies and yard work for her. Look into purchasing bulk meat from Zaycon or even from Sam’s Club.  Here is my Zaycon link for bulk meats: http://www.zayconfresh.com/refer/zf52795

Know that you too can budget down you grocery bill if you just follow those simple

Dehydrating broccoli

www.krisandlarry.com dehydrating broccoliWhen we can pick up veggies for a super-great price, we jump all over that… I can some things, freeze some and even dehydrate some… after we get our fill on fresh.

This last week, I picked up 40 pounds of broccoli for $26. My kids love grilled broccoli served with feta cheese.

I did dehydrate about 15 pounds of it in my Excalibur 9-tray dehydrator.

What do I use dehydrated broccoli for, you might ask.

  • My kids tend to snack on dehydrated veggies often and LOVE the flavor of dried broccoli.
  • We add it to soups, including veggie soup and cheese and broccoli soup.
  • I mix it with sour cream and serve with pita or carrots.
  • You know that vegetable soup mix that you use to make artichoke dip? Yep… grind it up and put it in there.
  • Powder it and put it in your morning slushies.
  • I have even stuck it in my blender and added it to bread and cracker dough.

In order to get a good dehydrated batch, cut into bite sized pieces. Soak your cut broccoli in a large bowl with a tablespoon of salt for 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. place on dehydrator trays for 12 hours at 135 degrees or until broccoli is crisp.

I warn you… Broccoli SMELLS when dehydrating! LOL

 

It's that time of year again – ZUCCHINI TIME!! Dried Zucchini Chips

Zucchini Chips - www.krisandlarry.comYes, this time of year is a crazy time… monsoon weather comes up and yes, zucchinis start growing and growing and GROWING!!!  I remember the year that I moved to Arizona, about 25 years ago, someone left a bag of zucchini in my mom’s car at the grocery store… The zucchini wars of 1991 in Chino Valley, AZ.

There are many different ways to prepare zucchini… We LOVE Z-Bread – and have now perfects a Gluten-Free version for Trystan… All of the kids gobble this one down!  Click here for that recipe! 

We make a TON of dried chips during the summer, including kale and zucchini.

Since I have a few zucchinis the size of my arm… yes, I know… you are supposed to pick them when they are little… but, they seem to grow overnight with the monsoon rain. We sliced them thin and placed in a glass bowl.

I drizzle with 1T of olive oil and toss until coated.

Lay out on the dehydrator trays – I run 2 Excalibur 3900 dehydrators most of the summer and fall with goodies for snack for later.

Sprinkle with salt (We only use pink salt in our house… and I grind it … SO GOOD!) Or you can try a BBQ blend, garlic salt, ranch dressing mix (we make our own with buttermilk and other seasonings)

Dry at 115 degrees for 12+ hours or until crisp.  (Don’t use too much oil or they will be greasy and mushy and ever get really crisp)

Dehydrating Strawberries

strawberriesIt’s that time of year again…. SPRING and strawberries are in full bloom at home and available at the grocery store (or as my grandma used to say, “the market.” Every year, I manage to pick up a TON of strawberries and dehydrate them.

What do you use those for you might ask… HELLO? EATING! No really….

    • We have strawberries as every day snacks. I mix them with other dried fruit for car trips and snacks for camping. ( well, and really everyday snacks because that is what I have for kids to grab.)
    • We make our our granola and mix dried strawberries into that.
    • Homemade instant oatmeal becomes strawberries and cream – That recipe is even in my mixes cookbook.
    • You can re-hydrate and mix into fruit smoothies.
    • Infuse dried strawberries in your drinking water or lemonade.
    • Chop fine and put in yogurt.  (If you grind it, you can make strawberry yogurt out of home-made plain (or store-bought)

  • Mix chopped up strawberries with honey and butter for a delicious spread for your morning toast!

 

Strawberries are EASY to dehydrate too! I pop off the stems, (my chickens love these) slice into 4 or 5 slices, and line up on the dehydrator trays.  Dehydrate according to the directions of your dehydrator.

We have and use 2 of the Excluibur 9-tray Dehydrators (My mom and sister both have these as well!)

Summertime Foods – Dehydrating Pineapple

I refuse to buy processed kids snacks, especially during the summer. I tend to buy in bulk and case quantity. last week we picked up 2 cases of pineapple, A FAVORITE in our household. They were FINALLY ripe

I used my slicer and then I have even thickness and no skins on them. I can easily cut them into smaller, bite-sized pieces too. 

I place them on my dehydrator trays (I have the Excalibur dehydrator… LOVE IT!) and put on about 125 degrees… It takes longer, but they taste so much better.

These are the BEST snacks and can be added to trail mix, oatmeal and even cakes and cookies (if you grind them smaller)

***NOTE: I DO NOT sugar coat these like the ones that you get at the store. If you over dehydrate, they are hard to eat and turn brown.

blog-pineapple

Summertime Foods – Saving your herbs

Summertime is such a great time to not only grow your own gardens with vegetables but also herbs to use in your kitchen! I have a pretty large herb selection in my garden as well. I store all of my bulk herb that I dehydrated in quart sized mason jars. I have them each labeled with chalkboard labels so that I can change them out… Then this year, I found the new BALL Herb Jars… (I found mine at my local ALCO store – But they are also online at AMAZON – link to the left)

I FELL I LOVE ALL OVER AGAIN! 😉

I still have all of my bulk herb jars in my pantry, but now, I have my little jars filled and labeled by my stove in a drawer. This makes it so much easier than searching for the big jars!

 

blog-herbjar

Herbs are REALLY easy to dehydrate (And you DO NOT need a dehydrator to do it) If you live where there is low humidity, you can lay your herbs out on trays and they should be dried out within about 24 hours. You can also use your oven set to the LOWEST temperature. You will need to flip the herbs over at least once while they are in the oven. 

So, You want to have fresh and/or dried herbs from your garden for your cooking? What herbs do I have in my garden?

  • Dill – I use in my potato salad, on fish and when I can my pickles
  • Cilantro – Think Mexican food – Cilantro is a staple here – in my guacamole, hummus, mixed with re-fried beans, taco meat and I even have a cilantro lime dressing that I make every week.
  • Parsley – I use mostly fresh to bring out the flavors and meld together other herbs. Tastes great with fish, chicken and veggies.
  • Lemon Balm – Use in my tea, to season my green salads, poultry and fish . The herb has a lemon taste with a hint of mint.
  • Chives – I use chives in my salads and on veggies. They have a slight onion taste.
  • Basil – this is another herb that I CAN NOT live without – Brescetta with tomato/basil, pesto and I love when I mix it with butter for toast with dinner!
  • Oregano – My basic Italian seasoning – oregano is best in italian dishes, in chili, with vegetables, soups.
  • Mint – in yogurt, with fresh fruit and dried for teas.
  • Rosemary – in potatoes, with roast

I do mix all of my herbs in my bread doughs for an added artisan flavor.

Organizing your pantry

Having an organized pantry is important in your kitchen. It allows for less time during meal preparation and a much better feel in your kitchen. I know that I feel a whole lot better when I walk into my kitchen and know exactly what I have in my pantry.

We do dehydrate a TON of veggies and herbs from our garden that I use in a variety of cooking when I do not have fresh available. I know that if I bag them up in zipper bags, then I can’t always find what I was looking for when I need it. We also store all of our mixes in gallon sized jars.

In my pantry, I use mason jars in both pint and quart and recycled gallon size pickle jars work great for mixes and bulk food.I don’ t loose anything this way!!!

I also use chalkboard labels so that I can change the label on them if I need to (There are many out on the market. I posted a link to the least expensive that I found on amazon.com.) The changable labels come in handy with our homemade instant oatmeal container. The kids always know what flavor is available!!

It does not take a ton of money to make your pantry be usable. (Yes, those are milk crates as extra shelves as well!)

 

Home-made fruit leather

Berlyn gives his approval!

We have been recovering from upper respiratory infections and stomach flu… ARGH! It’s the pits when all 8 in our house get sick!! I have missed posting on my blog and other sites and am trying to get caught up finally!!!

 

There are a few things in my kitchen that I can not go without (at least now that I have them). They are my Excalibur Dehydrator and my Vitamix. Home-made fruit leather is so easy to make and there is no added sugar or dyes in them when you make them from scratch at home. (we even made home-made soup in my Vitamix yesterday for lunch – the Vitamix even “cooks” it for you!!!

 


I add fruit into the Vitamix (KILLER BLENDER if you ever want one and MADE in the USA!)  I added 8 pears, 1 pint of blackberries and 2 bananas along with juice from 1/2 of a lemon and a tsp of cinnamon… then blend until it is just pulp. You can choose any fruit that you like. Applesauce make YUMMY rolls too as does strawberries.

 

Then, just pour the contents onto the non-stick sheets and spread out evenly. Turn on the dehydrator for about 14 hours… and there you have it… Fruit leather!! I cut them into strips so now the kids have HEALTHY fruit by the foot! Store these in either jars or zipper bags