How To Dehydrate Fruits and Vegetables to Make a Healthy Snack
Making healthier versions of your favorite snacks out of dried fruit and vegetables is a terrific way to release nutrients from them. Your ability to keep fruits and vegetables for a long time without freezing or canning depends on your ability to dehydrate them. They are therefore excellent for outdoor activities like hiking and camping. Dehydrated produce is an excellent way to supplement your emergency food supplies if you want to be prepared.
The Ideal Method for Dehydrating Fruits and Vegetables:
- Making Use of a Dehydrator:
A dehydrator is simple to use: simply plug it in, turn the dial, and vroom. You won't need to worry about dehydrator trays because the finest models distribute hot air uniformly.
Dehydrating fruit at 135°F and vegetables at 125°F is widely recommended by experts. Drying times vary greatly and are typically given as ranges since they are entirely dependent on the sort of fruit, how ripe and juicy it is, how thinly you cut it, and how humid the day is.
- Inside the oven:
Another alternative is to dry in the oven, albeit doing so may result in an increase in your power bill and ovens that operate a little hotter than usual. Usually, 200°F is the lowest setting for the oven to be preheated. Bakeware should be lined with parchment paper or nonstick mats.
To ensure that the air surrounding your fruits and veggies is moving, place a cooling rack on top of the parchment paper. There will be a substantial reduction in dry periods, and you may wish to rotate the pans.
Preparing Fruits and Vegetables for Drying:
- First, choose food that is in season:
Some individuals believe that dehydration is a good way to get rid of damaged, abused or outdated items. However, drying concentrates taste, so start with quality products that you're delighted to eat.
- Rinse, scrape, and peel:
If your budget permits, choose organic and give fruits and vegetables a short rinse or scrub. It is entirely up to you whether or not you peel, but keep in mind that skins will only become harsher in texture.
- Use a ma ndoline or sharp knife to thinly slice:
Choose pieces that are the same size and thickness (1/8 to 1/4 inch), since they will dry at the same rate. Go a little thicker than you desire for the finished product because slices will shrink as they dry.
- Dip the fruit in the citrus water:
The only fruit that may brown, such as apples and bananas, must go through this phase, which is optional. Slices of lemon should be soaked for 10 minutes in a bowl with equal parts lemon juice and water. Drain the fruit and wipe dry with paper towels.
- Blanch the vegetables in boiling water:
This stage is only required for starchy vegetables, such as sweet potatoes or sugar snap peas, and is also optional. To halt the cooking and maintain the vibrant hues, briefly boil them before shocking them in an ice bath.
Dried Produce Storage:
When completely dry to the touch, dehydrated foods can range in texture from leathery and flexible to crisp and brittle. Allow cooling fully before transferring to airtight containers like plastic snap-tops, mason jars, or freezer bags. Keep it in a cool, dark area. Shake one of the containers after a few days. If there is any moisture, return the contents to the dehydrator for another stint. Fruits and vegetables may be dried and preserved correctly for several months.
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