Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Answers on Dehydrating

First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to comment on my post about dehydrating. So much has happened between then and now that this is the first opportunity I have had to post answers. I am uncertain how to answer through the comments themselves, so I will answer here.

While fruits and veggies that have been dehydrated, can be re hydrated to use in recipes, I will not be doing that with these pears. I have used other re hydrated fruits but I think that the pears would just fall apart. They could be used for a cake or muffins.

We will be using our pears for snacks. Dehydrated fruit snacks are very expensive in the store and most of them contain sulfuring of some type for preservation. Since I am allergic to sulfur, this is not a good option for me. Personally I don't care if my fruit looks brown as long as it tastes good! However there are some things you can do naturally. One thing is soaking them in lemon juice. Not only does this help with coloring but Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) is a natural preservative. Potentially this will help them store longer.

To date I have dehydrated bananas (a big hit in our family) and pears. Apples are next.

When I was growing up, my Grandma dehydrated a lot of food. She took classes from a local woman named Gen MacManiman, a master herbalist who wrote a book called Dry It You'll Like It. A lot of her information is geared to "make it yourself" dehydrators and the old kind running on light bulb heat. However, she does have great tips and a little info on drying herbs and what they are good.

I purchased my dehydrator from a local company who happens to make one of the most highly acclaimed dehydrators used by raw food chefs and other "health nuts", called an Excalibur. They sell on their site and on eBay. You can buy less expensive models but this one is engineered very efficiently. Also the round ones cannot do very much at a time. I find even with the big one, I need to do a couple batches to go through a box of fruit.

Excalibur has their own book, Preserve It Naturally, which is a great resource whether you use their dehydrators or not.

In the future, I hope to dehydrate some veggies for making homemade soup mixes and more fruit to have for summer snacks in the winter!

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