Food Dehydrating is a fun and versatile skill that no food enthusiast should lack. Whether you are making homemade meat jerkies, drying herbs for cooking or dehydrating fruits for tasty snacks -- this method of preserving food is simple and the possibilities are truly endless. Here are a few tips and tricks to get your started on your journey.
Choose the Right Dehydrator!
While some people may choose to go 1960’s hippie compound and open-air dehydrate.. It’s must faster if you don’t. As you search stores and online sources for your electronic dehydrator keep in mind that there will be an overwhelming number of choices. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing.
-Make sure the unit you pick has a temperature setting! Different types of plants, fruits and meats dry at different rates and dry optimally at varying temperatures! A lot of units do not have a temperature setting and dry everything with moving air- but these machines are much harder to time and it is much harder to get the result you are looking for.
-Multiple trays are your friend. If you plan to dehydrate snacks and herbs in bulk, having multiple drying racks in the same unit is key. Even if you are only doing smaller batches - having empty racks in between the ones you are using can help the food to dry more evenly by allowing for better air flow.
Start off Simple!
Like any other skill - dehydrating is a learned process - so it’s best to start off with easy projects and work your way up. Gourmet seasoned turkey jerky is likely not going to be a winner on your first go with a dehydrator. Here are some simple foods to try that tend to come out well -- even for beginners.
Before you begin dehydrating you want to do a bit of research on your intended project. Find out what the most commonly used temperature and time frames are for the plant, fruit or meat you are using. It is a common mistake to increase the suggested temperature in an effort to shorten the time it takes to dry the food thoroughly. Unfortunately - what ends up happening is that the outside of the food dries first and creates a seal over the item that often prevents the food from drying out completely. The main appeal to dehydrating food is that it preserves them and they stay edible for long periods of time. Trying to speed through leaves moisture inside that will cause the food to rot long before it should.
If done right, dehydrated foods can help you stockpile non-perishables, tasty meat treats, fresh spices and tasty snacks for the whole family. Once you learn the basics, there’s no end to what you can create!
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