Dehydrating Experiments

     I was hooked after my Master Food Preserver Class.  I tried dehydrating years ago with unpromising results, so I gave it up.  Now, with the new dehydrators, that they say use only as much energy as a crock pot, I'm experimenting up a storm.

     Only 2 models of dehydrators were recommended for taking enough humidity out of the food.  The Nesco Gardenmaster, and the Excalibur.  I found a Gardenmaster to start, (about 1/2 the price of the Excalibur) and what fun I am having.

     The top 3 foods so far according to family: plums with a smidge of sugar on them, (this was
 #1 - who'd a thunk) pineapple, and the beef jerky.  All are long gone, so no pictures, sorry.  I've also done carrots, strawberries, (granddaughter Gracie's favorite) and apples (skins on, skins off, thin, & chunky).  When the grandkids ask for a snack and I suggest the dehydrated fruit, they are all for it!  Fruit leather is going to be tried with my Wolf River apples just coming ripe.

Organic kale and my first crop from my Honey Crisp apple tree.
I think there were only about 20 apples -- but are they yummy!

My organic sweet potatoes that I grew!

     Today I tried kale, sweet potatoes, and more chunky apples (which has turned out to be our favorite way with the apples).  I've heard good reviews about kale chips -- that kids will eat them.   I took out the main vein, shredded it into big pieces, drizzled some olive oil and sea salt.  Mixed it up real good so everything was coated, and layed them on the trays. My "organic guy" at the farmers market only had curly kale, I have no idea the pros or cons of curly vs. regular.   Caution! They dry fast :-).  The sweet potatoes I did the same thing with olive oil and salt -- never heard of anyone doing that -- told you I was experimenting.

      I've done the apples with an apple peeler and layed out the "rings".  It works good.  But, I'd like to keep the peels on.  Just under the peel is where the pectin is.  Pectin is good for sweeping out extra cholesterol.  So, I used an apple corer.  Sliced the sections in rather chunky pieces into lemon water, drained it, put them on the trays, and sprinkled some cinnamon.  It takes a lot longer to dry them in chunks, but I so enjoy them -- there's more "chew" to them.   .....and Rick will eat them...go figure!

     The results:

The kale dries very deep green, and crunchy.  I like it. 
There is a bit of a "green" taste at the end.   I salted it a little too much. 
So, I figure I might not even taste that "green" if I was drinking a glass of wine with it :-) 
On one piece I tasted sand!  Wash it good before dehydrating.

Yum organic apple chunks.

Organic sweet potatoes.  .....won't be eating them like a chip. Didn't like them.
They were way tough.  Unless I throw them in some soup, I'm thinking
 they will become dog treats.  Billy and Butsch both approved wholeheartily!
 .....dr momi

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Mama Pea said...

Aren't dehydrators fun? I'm gonna give the kale a try. Maybe do it with Swiss chard, too?

What didn't you like about the sweet potato "chips?"

dr momi said...

Mama Pea....they were very hard to chew. And I thought maybe they would taste like a sweet potato fry....nothing like it at all. Oh well, I had fun experimenting :-)

I don't know why swiss chard wouldn't work too. If you experiment, you'll have to let us know how it tastes!

Michaele said...

Darn! I was excited to hear about sweet potatoes and was all ready to try them. Oh well, glad you saved me the trouble. I would like to try the kale. I could get over the green taste at the end I think - just knowing how healthy it is.

Candy C. said...

I've heard to put a little crushed red pepper flake on the kale too. I have a LOT of kale right now so we are going to have stir fry tomorrow. I think the rest should become kale chips! :)

Teresa said...

You may have just convinced me to go get a dehydrator. I'll have to see if I can find one of those recommended ones.

dr momi said...

Michaele....exactly -- the green taste isn't that bad at all, especially when you know how good it is for you.

Candy C. ....I was hoping to hear some other ideas on how to fix the kale. Red pepper flakes sound good. I did use some garlic powder on a few of them -- I liked that too.

Teresa....the Nesco Garden Master is about $100. I love it. I need to buy more trays though. It comes with 4, but you can stack up a whole lot more. (you can buy them seperately)

Intentional Living Homestead said...

I think it's time to pull my dehydrator out...even if it is old:-)


dr momi said...

Hey Connie ....if I were you, I'd be dehydrating pears ! :-) (I haven't tried those yet but I bet they are good!)

LNL said...

I never would have thought of dehydrating kale I have 2 rows of kale in the fall garden and now I will definitley be dehydrating alot of it. At the moment I have watermelon slices in the dehydrator, which should be yummy and super sweet.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

You could probably rehydrate the sweet potatoes and use them in a casserole. I love playing around with dehydrators.

Unknown said...

I was also going to suggest rehydrating the potatoes. I love our apple chips that we've made and some of the other fruits as well, but most of the vegetables are destined for soups and stir fry meals. Looks like you really are having a ton of fun with yours!

dr momi said...

Hi Kathy and Mary...thanks for commenting!

Absolutely could rehydrate the sweet potatoes. We've never really eaten them much before, this is the first year I've planted them. I'll have to experiment rehydrating them too :-). I think I may have stumbled on the best dog treat ever though! Maybe the "chewiness" of them? Butsch (my Future Leader Dog For The Blind)was workin' like a charm for them today!! Dog treats are top priority here too LOL!

1st Man said...

I found your blog while looking for some stuff on dehydrating. Love your blog, it's exactly what we hope to do on our acreage in the country one of these days (or so I tell myself on my blog, ha). I'm looking forward to reading thru your blog. Keep up the good work!