The Excalibur Food Dehydrator
When I discovered dehydrating several years ago, I could not have imagined how easy and enjoyable the process would be. It was such a relief from the hot sweaty kitchen. Instead of being totally consumed with times, recipes and process, my daughter and I could leisurely prepare our produce, place it on racks in our dehydrator, turn it to the proper temperature and be done. Often we would watch videos to learn how to do even more preserving while we sliced and diced. Now that a year has passed and I have been able to use the foods we dried I am even more excited about dehydrating again this year.
Dehydrating has many benefits but I will name four:
- Ease in doing
- Small space needed to store the amount of food you preserve
- Properly dehydrated foods can store for up to 33 years
- Dehydrated foods are considered raw, for those on a raw food diet.
There are 25 dried apples in this container.
To dehydrate food you will need a dehydrator. Many people try to dry food in their ovens, but this does not work as well and is not energy efficient. You will want a dehydrator that you can keep on your counter and use every day. There are many styles and price ranges so you will need to select one that best meets your needs. For me, it was important that I could dry a large amount of food at once and so I went with a 10 rack commercial dehydrator. It was perfect!
Here are some other dehydrators that you might like to consider:
Deluxe 9 Tray Excalibur This is a very popular model.
If you are the do it yourself type, you may want to search for plans and make a solar dehydrator. Just remember that maintaining the proper low temperature is very important.
Yard sales and Craig’s List are great places to look for used. Buying used is a great way to try dehydrating without making a huge investment. You may want to search YouTube for food dehydrating videos to see what others have used and why they like the model they use.
You may also want to go to YouTube to learn the “How To’s” of dehydrating.
When you have finished dehydrating your food you will need to store it in an air tight container. There are many options.
Canning jars and other large sealable glass containers up to a gallon capacity work very well for the food you plan to use within a year. You may wish to have smaller containers so that you can open them fresh as needed.
Plastic containers also work very well. I travel in the winter and need something lightweight and non-breakable. I went with Pinch Grip-It Jars. They come in many sizes and can be ordered with a Polypropylene Cap with a PE Foam Liner. This makes the container even more air tight.
When you process your food by canning it is good for about one year; dehydrated food, 33 years. This means you can dehydrate a large amount of food, use what you need during the year and save and use the rest throughout following years. Your efforts are never wasted and neither is your food. Also, I have learned while cooking with dehydrated foods that you only use what you need. You are never obligated to use more than you need.
If you have been considering dehydrating food you will find a vast amount of information through the links I have provided through out the post. It is really not too early to start learning about dehydrating foods. The more information you have the better your success when you begin.
If you have any questions I will be happy to answer them. I will do dehydrating of specific fruits and vegetables in future posts.