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Moon phases

Food Dehydrating

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Food Dehydrating

Post by actinglikeabanker on Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:00 am

In days gone by dehydration used to be commonplace as certain foodstuffs were only available during season and were either not available or cost prohibitive to buy all year round.

Today, many people still dehydrate. There are many reasons why they dehydrate, some do it for what is referred to as prepping, some do it to beat the cost of foodstuffs as they raise during the year and some do it simply because when they come to harvest their home grown fruit and veg that they just cant eat it all before it goes bad.

Whatever your reasons for dehydrating it is nice to know that you have some food on hand should anything go wrong or our just in time food delivery system should not get there, just in time.

The dehydrator that I am using in this example is the 'Excalibur 9 Tray Black Dehydrator with Timer 4926TB',

The Excalibur 9 Tray Dehydrator with Timer is renowned for offering quality, dependability and excellent performance, attributes highlighted by its 5 year domestic warranty. With 35 years of manufacturing experience, it is clear to see why the Excalibur dehydrator range stands as a clear market leader. The patented Parallexx horizontal airflow over the 9 removable polycarbonate dishwasher safe 380mm x 380mm trays allows continuous even drying, eliminating the need for restacking whilst its adjustable thermostat ensures precise user control. Offering perfect drying results, this exceptional food dehydrator is ideal for the preparation of a variety of herbs and spices, the raising of your very own bread and dough, making yogurt, drying a selection of fruit and vegetables, and a range of meat and fish.

There are many alternatives to the Excalibur and many that can be purchased at a lower cost, I chose to go with the Excalibur based upon the research that I did and felt it was the right one for my family. It is also possible to dehydrate without a dehydrator using the sun or even just your oven.

A couple of weeks ago due to the freezing weather all of the supermarkets had veggies on at around 20 pence a pack so I took the opportunity to stock up on some food items that we use on a regular basis, dehydrated foodstuffs are great for snacks and making easy slow cooker meals.  

Pre-treatment, certain items get blanched, one of the reasons for blanching is that it can stop discolouration that sometimes occurs during the drying process. There are multiple methods to pre-treatment, the following is not an exhaustive list.

Dipping, dipping is used to prevent fruits and veg from oxidizing, one method is to use 'Sodium Bisulfite'(SB) just make sure it is food grade. For fruits mix one and a half tablespoons of SB with one gallon (approx 3.8 litres) and soak fruit slices for five minutes of fruits cut in half for fifteen minutes then rinse. For veggies and steam blanching add one teaspoon of SB per cup of water used.

In this example I have used standard blanching in boiling water for three minutes and then blotted to remove the excess water before dehydrating.

After any pre-treatment that you have decided to use then tray up your fruit, veg, fish, meat, yogurt etc. Ensure that you have small spaces between each of the pieces to allow for air flow.

Set your temperature for the type of foodstuffs that you are drying. As this temperature is specific for the Excalibur it is only an example and not a strict requirement and other devices may vary greatly or not have a temperature adjustment function available. Here are some examples for when using an oven : however, as a side note it may be quite costly to run your oven for long periods for the purposes of dehydrating. The dehydrator used in this example is 600 watts and I try to run it during daylight hours when the solar panels are producing some electric

Rehydrating methods, there are many methods to rehydrating and my favourite one is in the slow cooker as I can fill it in the morning and go about my daily tasks and by the evening there is a nice warm meal ready to eat. Some examples are using an electric steamer, boiling water, cooking or soaking so experiment away and see what suits you best.
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Re: Food Dehydrating

Post by assassin on Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:43 am

Dehydration may be a forgotten method of food storage but it is one of the most effective methods of preserving foods for long periods, and is a method discouraged by commercial producers and retailers as it gives them more sales of more products over a much longer term so it is all about profit for them, and of course for all the chemical producers they buy from.

How about putting up some costs of these machines for people to make comparisons as to their viability for home produce storage as many people may see them as a viable long term option if they grow their own foods.

PS: send me some of those dehydrated bananas as I love them.

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Re: Food Dehydrating

Post by Lopsum on Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:14 am

some compounds in fruit and veg become more potent after being dehydrated , ginger for eg .(gingerol turns into shogaol Surprised )
home made re hydrateable meals would be tasty with some experimenting.

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Re: Food Dehydrating

Post by actinglikeabanker on Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:45 pm

assassin, I spent about 2 hours writing a long post about the pro's and con's to the different types of dehydrators, costs, size, effectiveness etc etc then accidentally pressed the back button on the web page and lost it all. Total face palm moment, I will do another one at some point and put it up.

Agreed Lopsum I love them especially in the slow cooker which costs very little to run.
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Re: Food Dehydrating

Post by assassin on Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:50 am

ALAB, if I can suggest saving it as you go, I do this as a matter of course now as I have also lost documents in the same way.

Slow cookers! brilliant things.

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