My first shot at dehydrating

Discussion in 'General Food and Foraging Discussion' started by Moose33, Apr 9, 2011.

  1. Moose33

    Moose33 Well-Known Member

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    Hi everybody,
    I splurged and bought an Excalibur a few weeks ago. I put four pounds of frozen corn in it last night. This morning I had a smidge less than a quart of perfectly dried corn. I rehydrated a teaspoon of it as a test. It tasted great. The only difference was that it didn't quite plump up to its pre dryed size. The plan is to use it in soups, chili and the like. Its perfect for that. :2thumb:

    Tonight its two pounds of frozen green beans and one pound of frozen mixed veggies. Hope this batch turns out as well as the first.

    I'm moving up to hash browns next.

    I'm starting with the easy stuff. I'm sure I'll move up to fresh veggies, if the snow ever melts so I can actually plant something.

    Take it easy,
    Moose
     
  2. snappy1

    snappy1 Well-Known Member

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    I'm just getting started too! I have a Nesco-American Harvest and have 4 pounds of frozen green beans to do. Can I use french cut green beans? Anyone know if that would be a problem?
     

  3. OldCootHillbilly

    OldCootHillbilly Reverend Coot

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    Sure, only thin bein, they may fall through the trays.

    Ain't hardly a weekend goes by what we don't use ours.

    The fresh veggies just require a bit a preppin before ya dry em, but it ain't that much trouble.
     
  4. Sudhira

    Sudhira Member

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    I wanted to practice with dehydrating before I splurged on the Excalibur, so I bought the Nesco Snackmaster ( square ), 8 trays...I tried apples and bananas ( fresh ) which came out great...the frozen stuff fell through the cracks so I have to make mesh thingies for them...but it worked great, it was only $60..
     
  5. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

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    Congrats on the Excalibur! :flower:

    Look forward to hearing about the hash browns. ;) (and all the other goodies)
     
  6. Moose33

    Moose33 Well-Known Member

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    Hi Andi,
    The green beans and mixed veggies did ok last night. The green beans turned white in places. They are not as flavorful or as plump as pre drying but still will work for soups and stews.

    I think the corn did a bit better than the green beans in terms of post drying taste and rehydration.

    The hash browns are thawing now. They'll go in later this afternoon. I want to make sure they have plenty of time to dry before I go to work tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes.

    Take care,
    Moose
     
  7. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    I ended up with a few of the "mesh" liners to go with the fruit leather trays for my dehydrator but wanted more so I went to the craft store and picked up the plastic canvas that people embroider yarn on and I cut it to fit... I don't like using plastic for anything food wise but so far it is the only thing that works well... I often dry my herbs and small items on the mesh and they work well and wash well and hold up to the abuse. for fruit leather trays and if you dehydrator is square/rectangle you could try buying the cheaper silicon mats at walmart or other big box stores and use them to line your trays(silpat is the name of the expensive ones and I would not cut them up!)
    Also, fruits and veggies with a high sugar content tend to dry much better and with less pre-prep than veggies without it.

    But fruits that turn brown should be dipped in either citric acid(aka orange or lemon or even lime juice) or even a very light mix of vinegar water.
    When I do my hash browns I often put a bit of lemon juice or a shot of vinegar into the processing water as it helps you not get "black" potatoes... even after blanching they will sometimes get a few 'black" spots and they are just not appetizing.
     
  8. ComputerGuy

    ComputerGuy Retired Air Force

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    I was lucky. I went to Bass Pro Shops and walked away with a LEM 6 try Excalibur Food Dehydrator for 80 bucks.

    The manager dropped the price because it was their last one and it was a floor model. My military discount helped even more!!

    First on the dehy list was hash browns, came out great. Vacuum sealed them with O2 absorbers and stored away.

    Makes great beef jerky. Have fun, it is addicting!!
     
  9. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    Just a hint on dehydrating-once you dry your foods you should put them in a nice mason jar for a few days to watch for moisture build up in the jar.. just in case of "not dry enuf" which does happen every so often. After a week of waiting if the foods are dry enuf then vac-pack them. It would suck to open your vac-packed foods and find mold.
     
  10. Moose33

    Moose33 Well-Known Member

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    Two questions have come up.

    Hi All,
    I put the thawed hash browns in the Excalibur and two hours later they are crispy as chips. They are not translucent but white in color. They appear to be done but I'm leaving them an extra hour to be sure. I've got the temp set at 125+ a smidge. Does anyone know how long I should leave them in there? I've searched the web and a book I have but cannot find any guidance on the matter.

    My second question, I have parchment paper in the house. Has anyone ever used it in a dehydrator? I'm thinking about using it for fruit leathers and would rather not spend any more right now if I don't have too.

    Thanks in advance for any guidance,
    Moose
     
  11. BizzyB

    BizzyB BucketHunter

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    How long can dehydrated veggies stay in mason jars, provided the lid is tightened down tight? I'm trying to not go buy a vac sealer, but...
     
  12. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    I've still got about 1 cup of dried green beans that were done in 08 and I didn't vac-pack them and they are still fine. So I would say that as long as you are not opening and closing them constantly they should be ok... adding a small piece of dry ice before closing the lid will drive out any oxygen too. once it stops "smoking/steaming" you just tighten the lid. Or just add some of the oxygen absorber packets. That would work for long term..
    I only leave some of the dried stuff in the mason jar to make sure that there is no moisture build up and that everything is dried. You will see in about 2 or 4 hours if your foods are going to off gas any moisture it will condense on the glass.
     
  13. neldarez

    neldarez Supporting Member

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    Excalibur

    Hi there, I also have an excalibur and have used it for years but I've never even come close to using it to full potential. I mostly dry apples, pears and green peppers out of the garden. You got me thinking, never thought of using frozen veggies. Some times I can be really dense!! :surrender:
     
  14. neldarez

    neldarez Supporting Member

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    waxed paper

    Moose, I tried fruit leather once and I used waxed paper....it worked fine as I remember...........I also bought 2 of the sheets excalibur sells just for that.
     
  15. BizzyB

    BizzyB BucketHunter

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    Cool -- thanks!
     
  16. sherldoe

    sherldoe Member

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    Just use plastic baggies for your fruit rollups, your tomato sauce/paste, etc.
     
  17. lilmissy0740

    lilmissy0740 Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone ever dried mushrooms? How did it work?
     
  18. snappy1

    snappy1 Well-Known Member

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    Boy, those frozen french style green beans sure dried fast!
     
  19. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    Baby bellas have been on sale here lately and I just dried my first batch and they did great!
    I do give mine a bit of a wash(alton brown said that it was an old wives tale that they "suck up water") and then I sliced them quite thickly and put them in the dehydrator at 120°F we put them in about overnight(it is still cool here and it keeps the boy's room warm--whoo hoo double duty) They dried quite crispy for me and one box of fresh mushrooms(only 8 oz) dried down to fit in a small canning jar. They rehydrated a bit chewier then when they were fresh but the mushroom flavor was more enhanced. But drying will do that with some things.