Reasons Why You Should Be Using A Food Dehydrator
Dig out your old food dehydrator
While helping my parents move some stuff out of their basement, I ran across Ron Popeil's dehydrator. The dehydrator in the basement was 19 years old and thanks to its simple design it still worked perfectly. This brought back some memories and gave me a hankering to dehydrate some food.
Get the moisture out.
If you do not have a dehydrator you can cross train home economics and shop class and make your own by following Alton Brown's instructions which call for a hot plate and some clay flower pots. There are many reasons to suck the moisture out of your food. I will lay out the advantages of dehydrating and some of my favorite stuff to dry.
Like most people I was drawn to the dehydrator because I love beef jerky and I hate paying so much for some seasoned dry meat. In 2012 beef jerky in the USA costs about $25 per pound. Good dehydrating cuts of meat like flank and skirt cost about $5-$7 per pound and it takes 3 pounds of raw meat to make 1 pound of beef jerky. If you do the math there is about $10 of possible savings when making your own beef jerky. The savings are nice and it is also fun to create your own flavored beef jerky by trying out recipes from sweet to spicy.
The easiest and most useful stuff to dehydrate is fruit. Fruit is easy because all you have to do is slice it up and let it dry out. Drying times for fruit can vary depending on the fruit and how chewy you like it. Dehydrating concentrates the fruits flavor and changes the texture. Grapes dehydrate down to make deliciously juicy raisins. Instead of throwing away those leftover grapes dehydrate them instead. Bananas turn into delicious banana chips. Strawberries sliced thick are light and fibrous when dried and go great on cereal. Apples tend to taste mealy and they are light on flavor so these are not my favorite. My favorite fruit to dehydrate is the mango. The mango flavor concentrates deliciously and the texture is like a fruit rollup.
Sometimes an herb garden produces more herbs than you know what to do with. Save that extra oregano and basil by drying it and using it to cook. Dry lemon and orange rind and use them to cook or as for your potpourri. What to do with all that extra mint that took over your planter like a weed - make homemade mint tea by just dehydrating those extra mint leaves.
Dehydrating food is easy and allows you to keep fruit and meat a lot longer. Enjoy your savory snacks like beef jerky and your sweet toppings for cereal and trail mix and dehydrate.