Well, I finally did it – I put away one of my gadgets – the dehydrator. It’s been sitting on the corner of the kitchen counter since spring. I know it should have been put away a month or so, but as long as it’s out, in my mind it’s still summer!
The Excalibur is a great dehydrator. Years ago I had one of those round ones, but it just took so long to dry and the trays didn’t hold as much. In addition to being a great product, it’s made in the USA! The only thing I would do differently is buy the nine-tray unit.
We dry a lot of tomatoes and my favorite to dry are Juliets. They are great tasting, firm, and a good size (larger than a cherry tomato and smaller than a Roma). But I also dry others. Below are the varieties from our garden that I dried this past summer.
We use these dried tomatoes all winter long in stir-fry dishes, omelettes, salads, pizza, and just as a snack. Yum! If you’ve never dried tomatoes, you are missing a treat.
I also love to dry apples, especially for leather. The dried apples are great to eat too, but they also are good thrown in oatmeal, breads, and any dish you’d use apples. The leather rollups are great to pack in a purse or a backpack for the kids. They are such a healthy snack – just apples, unsweetened apple cider (or water) and cinnamon!
We also dry our bell and hot peppers. Food I’ve not been successful drying include squash (the drying brings out the bitter although they are ok to throw in soup), blueberries (way too small and easier to freeze) and strawberries (they taste bitter to me). We have also dried peaches, but usually freeze or eat them when they’re available.
Even if you don’t grow your own food, the dehydrator is a great way to preserve those fruits and veggies that are overflowing at the local farmers’ markets or road stands in the summer. We had to buy apples this year from the local orchard because our apples did not produce.
If you already dry food, I’d love to hear what you dry and your success stories. I know I’m probably missing out on other goodies to dry and I’d love to free up some of our freezer space for food that doesn’t dry well.