Did you know that you can already make your own dehydrated fruits and vegetables at home?
You only need to buy a dehydration machine — you can already find these machines for sale in several places, and with different formats and prices.
The one you see in the photo is very practical, easy to use and clean, and one of the least expensive.
It has a temperature regulator, but no timer, you have to turn it off yourself.
However, this is not a problem, as you can turn it on at night before going to bed, and when you wake up in the morning the fruit or vegetables are ready, just turn it off.
Or you can turn it on in the morning (a day when you are more at home, and stay at home) and follow along as they do, and turn it off whenever you want.
It has a low electrical consumption.
These already have a timer, more trays to place the food, and other formats. But it’s basically the only difference.
What foods can you use?
Fruit — we’ve already tried the following ones, and they’re delicious!
- clementine and orange
Vegetable or animal proteins
Or others, use your imagination and experiment, respecting, however, the safety rules mentioned in the instruction manual!
Try to buy fruits and vegetables, preferably organic, as this way you don’t need to remove the skin, and this way you avoid ingesting some chemicals or pesticides that they may have, if they are not organic.
How to use?
The machine has several trays, one on top of the other, as you can see in the photo.
You can choose to make just one fruit or vegetable, and fill all the trays with just that species, or you can choose to place, for example, apple in one tray, orange in another, banana in another, etc.
The machines bring a table with the food and the average times it takes to dehydrate. You can guide yourself by it, but then it’s really a matter of personal taste (you prefer fruit or vegetables, drier or less dry).
But be careful, and this is a VERY IMPORTANT aspect, the drying time will depend on 3 factors:
The thickness of the slices you cut: the thinner the slice you cut, the faster it will dehydrate.
The percentage of water the fruit or vegetable contains: the more water the fruit has, the longer it will take to dehydrate.
Air humidity: if the environment in the room where you place the machine is very humid, it will take longer.
How to make?
So, depending on the type of fruit or vegetable you use, do the following:
When you use only one kind of fruit and/or vegetable
The one on the bottom tray tends to dry faster. So, while they are “doing” in the machine, you should taste it to see if you want to leave it longer or not.
When the one on the bottom board is ready, you can take it out and leave the rest for a while – move the next board down, the empty one up and so on, but for technical reasons, you can never remove the empty boards out of your stack. Even if only one has fruit still dehydrating, the others have to keep stacked.
When you put several fruits and/or vegetables to cook at the same time
Place the fruit and/or vegetable that has the most water on the bottom tray, and the driest one on the top tray, and in this way “make” all of them at the same time.
You can leave it to dehydrate longer, if you like the fruit or vegetable slices to be more crispy, or leave it less time, if you don’t like it so “crispy”.
1 — Dried fruit
You can take it with you to eat mid-morning or mid-afternoon, as a snack.
Add it to your breakfast or snack: for example, raisins and red fruits are delicious with yogurt, with flakes, adding to smoothies, etc.
With desserts: for example, slices of orange, clementine or dehydrated lemon, they are great not only as a decoration, but also for cooking when making rice pudding. Also, to make jellies and puddings, you can incorporate the fruit or use it to decorate.
With vegetables, fish or other stews, mango is great, but so is apple.
In sauces, creams, jellies, etc.
2 — Dehydrated vegetables
As for vegetables, do your own experiments, as they vary a lot in terms of shape, density, and type of vegetable.
You can reserve dehydrated vegetables to add to your culinary preparations. Whenever you want to prepare something, and you don’t have the vegetables you want, go to your reserve: onions, carrots, courgettes, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic, and others.
If you have aromatic herbs, you can dry some to use later.
You can buy some plants to make tea, for example, and dry them for later use.
Now just start experimenting!