If you hate to see good food go to waste, or if you would love a cheap and healthy option for snacks, have you tried to dehydrate your own food? It’s a nutritious, not to mention delicious option and it really is easy.
It’s also a great way to use up extra food – so don’t be afraid to buy that cheap box of fruit on sale at the local markets.
You can use a special dehydrator but you can also use your own oven. Even better, there is no sulphur added which is great news for asthmatics. Organics expert Linda Brennan from Ecobotanica offers this advice for making the perfect dehydrated foods, and even offers a few surprise options.
What to do
- Wash and dry your fruit or vegetable.
- Slice the item into ½ centimetre slices.
- Wet items such as casseroles or fruit puree can be put on Teflex sheeting the shape of the dehydrator.
- Other dry items can go on a mesh surface or a baking tray lined with baking paper for the oven.
- Dehydrate overnight. Make sure to keep the temps low (36-45°C) or the lowest setting in the oven. Put a wooden spoon in your oven door and dehydrate until leathery.
- Make sure it is fully dry before you take it out. Fruit needs to be leathery to crisp. Rice must be really dry. If it is too moist it will go mouldy.
- Store your dehydrated goods in a jar in your pantry for easy snacks on hand.
Foods you can dehydrate
- Fruits such as pears, apples, bananas, berries.
- Turmeric and herbs
- Sundried tomato
- Ginger is great if you have nausea. You can use dehydrated ginger in hot water to make ginger tea. When dehydrating ginger, slice very thinly and sprinkle with a little caster sugar before dehydrating
- Crispy pieces of dehydrated lemon skin can be made into a toothpaste. Put it in the blender with a bicarb soda and then mix onto a paste.
- Some apples and pears go brown in the process. Dip them in lemon juice and water to prevent it.
- You can do meat in a hydrator but be careful. Follow the instructions of your machine to prevent getting poisoned.
- Experiment by blending fruits to make your own fruit rollups.
- Try cooking rice in stock first to give it flavour, then you can use the dehydrated rice to make a quick meal by adding dried or fresh veggies, water and put in a saucepan.
- You can even dehydrate meals such as soup and lasagne, for a quick meal later. Rehydrate them with some water in the oven or stove top.
Read more: How to make your own compost.