In yesterday’s apple blog post, I touched on the topic of food dehydration when I talked about my homemade apple chips. By the way, did you know that it is much cheaper to make your own apple chips than to buy a package of them in the store? But, enough about apples. I am focusing on food dehydration today.
How did I get into food dehydration? It all began when I started my fruit and vegetable garden in earnest a few years ago. I always dabbled a bit in gardening but as the years went on the dabbling became a full-fledged hobby. There is nothing better than going out in your garden in the morning and pick some fresh fruits and vegetables and eat them the same day. As my gardening hobby grew, the yield of my produce grew along with it. I had way more fresh fruits and vegetables than I could possible eat. I started giving some of my vegetables away. This is how I would do it: I would go to work and give one of my co-workers a zucchini. I would tell them in a very solemn voice “You have been selected to receive the Gift of the Zucchini”. They could never say no.
The year that I had a bumper crop of kale, I knew that I had to do something. I was using my kale in smoothies, giving lots of kale to my backyard hens but that kale kept on growing and growing throughout the summer and fall season. To get ideas as to how to harvest this bumper crop, I researched kale recipes on line. I saw a recipe on how to make kale chips in the oven. I gave that recipe a try and the taste was pretty good (salt and olive oil was added to the kale). The oven baked kale had to be watched very closely so that the kale didn’t burn. The only problem with baked kale chips was that I could only make them in small batches. As fast as I made a batch, I would need to make another because that batch would be eaten at one sitting.
I explored more recipes online and came across some recipes for dehydrated kale chips. I read more about food dehydration and realized that the food dehydrator could be the answer to my overabundant fresh fruit and vegetable problem.
I purchased an Excalibur food dehydrator and never looked back since. It was one of the best investments I ever made. In my blog post about creating a healthy pantry, I had mentioned about the extra space that a person would have in their cupboards after clearing the cupboards of all the junk food. At least that is what happened in my cupboards. My empty pantry space came to good use. That empty space is now filled with mason jars full of dehydrated fruits and vegetables that were either grown in my garden or obtained from produce purchased in bulk when that produce was on sale. I have saved so much money with my food dehydrator.
There is a book that I have in my kitchen that is a great resource for food dehydration. It is called The Dehydrator Bible. This book goes over guidelines in dehydrating fruits, vegetables spices and meats. It also has a large section of recipes and gives ideas as to how to incorporate dehydrated goods into everyday meals.
In a future blog post, I will talk about the other methods that I use to preserve my fresh fruits and vegetables. But for now, I am signing off. Eat healthy and stay healthy!