Monday, October 12, 2009

Dehydrated Yummies

In an effort to maximize the use of fresh fruits and veggies we consume, I got turned on to dehydrating by the lovely gals (and guys) over at Homesteading Today. I actually have a food dehydrator Rob picked up at Harbor Freight for about $15 a while back. HF is like Rob's mecca and I actually enjoy going there too. Lots of fun, cheap stuff.

So, back to dehydrating...

One issue I have in our house is overbuying fresh produce that doesn't get used before it starts turning. Nothing like going to get a fresh ripe strawberry to find they're squishy! Some people deal with it, I don't. Dehydrating has been a great way to fix this problem.

Basically, I've found three ways to do this that fit my family. One is to over buy in season produce and just go dehydrate it then, another is to wait until they're just a bit too ripe and then suck them dry and the last is to use the remnants of cut/used food. For instance, the leaves and discarded parts of celery, the ends of an onion, that last bit of pepper that didn't get used, etc.

From those ways, I've established quite a little pantry of dehydrated foods. I used the mason jars I wrote about in the Soy Candle post.

The benefits of dehydrated foods are quite vast; they retain their nutrient value, no electricity goes to storage, the jars can be opened and resealed with use of O2 packets, you can keep foods on hand out of season easily.

I used my dehydrated red peppers and tomatoes as additions on homemade pizza. The other day I threw in a few hand fulls of dehydrated corn and celery into matzo ball soup. There are some great cook books out there too that utilize dehydrated foods and it doesn't stop with fruits and veggies, even meats can be dehydrated after cooked.

Check it out, dehydration might be a new addition to your pantry!

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