I suck at dehydrating!

Discussion in 'General Food and Foraging Discussion' started by solaceofwinter, Mar 14, 2009.

  1. solaceofwinter

    solaceofwinter Guest

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    I have just a basis 4-5 tier dehydrator. When i try to dehydrate banana's or strawberry's even if i cut them large they shrivel to nothing. the banana's turn mostly dark brown/blackened. It seems to do apples, oranges, pineapples okay.
    any suggestions on how to do better at banana's? my daughter loves them and id like to make some chips for her.
    FYI- the dehydrator i have doesnt have settings or speed, its just one mode.
    ive tried leaving it on for different times etc but it didnt make a difference really.
     
  2. Herbalpagan

    Herbalpagan Well-Known Member

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    spray the shelves with Pam first. Then slice the bananas in a medium thickness. Dip each slice in lemon juice. The lemon juice keeps them from turning brown (and I do this with apples too). Then check them periodically. Try doing it with two shelves and see if that makes a difference. I find that rotating the shelves during the drying period helps too sometimes. Good luck....you don't suck! Bananas are just a bit more tricky.;)
     

  3. solaceofwinter

    solaceofwinter Guest

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    i figured there had to be a trick to it! thanks!
    what about strawberry's? any tips?
     
  4. Herbalpagan

    Herbalpagan Well-Known Member

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    I only did a few strawberries, but I just sliced them and dried them. I find with juicy stuff, the PAM helps otherwise they kind of mush into the tray grooves. :p It seems to have a lot to do with the thickness to make the drying go smoothly. I got a cheap mandolin slicer to help, but that wasn't smart. Next year, I'll get a better one. My tomatoes came out ok, use the paste/italian ones or they are too juicy. One thing I did was pick up some extra "jerky" trays, they are good for fruit roll ups and stuff. I juiced some of my tomatoes, then seasoned lightly and poured them into a tray in the dehydrator. Then I just snipped them up with scissors and have neat little chunks of dried tomato for sauces and even for dips, and I've even put them on crackers with cheese and melted them in microwave; they were yummy!
     
  5. Evanesence

    Evanesence Guest

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    How do you make fruit roll ups? I don't have a dehydrator yet but I've been looking into it. My kids would love something like fruit roll ups!
     
  6. Herbalpagan

    Herbalpagan Well-Known Member

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    Fruit roll ups made yourself are unbelievable! When you get your dehydrator, there is an insert that comes with it. It's a solid teflon type tray and you set in in the regular shelf tray. Take your fruit and run it through a juice if you have one, a blender if you don't. You can strain out the seeds if you want. Then just pour it into the tray and dehydrate. WARNING: these take a LONG time to get to the right texture and they are totally addicting. Lucky they are pretty good for you!
     
  7. fratermentula

    fratermentula Guest

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    Commercial banana chips that so many of us love are actually fried, not dried. This may explain why you are having problems duplicating that experience.
     
  8. Lucy

    Lucy Well-Known Member

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    The problem with drying your food is the dehydrator itself. Unless you have one with a good fan, a heat source, and an adjustable thermostat the food will just sit there and can even mold or spoil before it dries.
    I teach food preservation and food safety. This is something we hear alot about. We suggest tossing these kinds of dryers, like the Ronco kind, and getting a good one. You can get a good one for about $50 with the features needed. That, or check Craigslist, or Freecycle, or even Ebay for a good deal on one. Getting one that is opaque in color is best,too. You want to protect foods from light.
    The homedried things will not be like store ones, though. As said, the banana chips are dipped in sugar solution, then deep fried in coconut oil. Apples and other fruits are normally put into sulfur.
    You can get sulfur and do it at home, but one of the reasons I do my own is to get rid of those things.
    Fruit roll ups are good at home, better than the store. I use half cheap applesauce or my own homemade. Use half pureed berries or fruit along with the applesauce, and sweeten to taste. You can use Splenda, too, if you are diabetic. That, or use a little honey. Corn syrup can be added, but I know lots of folks are avoiding that substance, too.
    I can send you this link for a free booklet to use or print out. It is a nice one. You can order and buy it, too.
    http://info.ag.uidaho.edu/Resources/PDFs/PNW0397.pdf
    It will tell about buying a dehydrator, how to dry foods, storage, and some recipes for use.
    I hope this helps you out.
     
  9. azborderwatcher

    azborderwatcher Member

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    If yours is like mine 5 racks and round fits on top of the counter look at the bottom and top their should be vents you can slide open or closed. I would open them some more to reduce heat and yes dip them in lemon juice diluted cup of water to 2 tablespoons juices works great. if you dont have vents try propping tooth picks under the lid to make a air gap vent
     
  10. efbjr

    efbjr Well-Known Member

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    Yard sales...got 3 units...$1.50, $2 & $10. :)
     
  11. readytogo

    readytogo ExCommunicated

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    Dehydrating Problems????

    Prepare the ascorbic acid. For several pounds of fruit, use a large pot and combine 1 tsp. ascorbic acid (powder or crushed tablets) with 1 gallon distilled water. You may need to use several tablespoons of the store-bought mixture depending on the amount of fruit you are preparing and the manufacturer's instructions. Mix 1/2 tsp. ascorbic acid with 3 tbsp. water for a small bowl of fruit .Soak the fruit for a few minutes before drying or canning.
    Never add sugar to dehydrating fruit ,draws out juices and makes them sticky.
    Dry in a lower temp first to give the fruit more time to dry from the inside out.
    http://www.freshpreservingstore.com/ball-citric-acid-7-5-oz/shop/382702/#itemDescription

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Ball-Citric-Acid-Additive/20469602
    Don`t give up, everybody has problems drying food, I started dehydrating strawberries by sprinkling sugar on them,tasted great but they all got stuck to the trays spend a week sucking on one like a big lollipop.
     
  12. Moose33

    Moose33 Well-Known Member

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    I use parchment paper for everything. It works great and I don't have to scrape corn or bananas off the trays.
     
  13. tsrwivey

    tsrwivey Supporting Member

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    I dry everything on the clean a screen sheets, they are worth their weight in gold. I dip my bananas, apples, etc. in orange juice. Cut everything as thin as you can or it either won't dry or if it does it will be hard & tough.
     
  14. JayJay

    JayJay Well-Known Member

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    I also found using the trays with one filled and one as a buffer for the air circulation helps a lot.
    I have 8 trays (and my dehydrator is a cheap $45 Presto) and I might have 4 trays filled and the other 4 empty--no mesh liners or fruit roll trays also helps the air circulate better.
    One filled with one empty on top of that one, one filled and one empty--not sure how to describe this.
     
  15. JayJay

    JayJay Well-Known Member

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