Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Drying, drying, drying, keep those fruits a drying....
Okay, so it is not here yet. But, a friend is giving me one for a gift. Yessirree! It is an Excalibur. It has a thermostat and a 26 hour timer.
It should be soooo much easier to preserve fruits and vegetables this way. Of course, freezing and canning won't be eliminated entirely.
At Publix, a store here in the South, there is a very expensive dried vegetable snack in the deli that I want to try to duplicate. I cannot afford to buy it, but I have tasted the dried mixture. Everything is all crispy. Mine may not be the same mix of vegetables or the same flavor, but it will be delicious, I know. I want to put some of the dehydrated fruit in a mix that will work for soup, all the things I like and use in my soup.
Even if I freeze some dehydrated fruit, I can use less freezer real estate for dried fruit. I am not entirely comfortable with the fact that it will not mold.
The cheap, $39 Walmart dehydrator that I owned actually scorched some things on the same tray with other items that were still soft and moist. Having a thermostat and timer should solve this problem. Plus, they are sending a book on dehydrating. It did dry zucchini slices to potato-chip-crispiness. Lots of my time was spent rotating trays and rotating food on the trays.
Free fruit or vegetables can be saved and preserved more easily. One year, I picked 250 lbs of pears. Free. I really despise pears! Maybe dried pears will be more palatable. Last year, the hens ate most of the pears. One year, I made pear preserves and pear sauce. (Like applesauce) Pear sauce is good; pear preserves is delicious.
Dehydrating eggs is one of my goals. People keep warning me that the eggs need to be pasteurized. My thoughts are that if I handle the dried eggs like I do fresh or frozen eggs (like raw chicken), that I will be safe.
Options like sun-drying or drying in the car are there, I know.
The free instructional videos are great and inspiring. Drying sweet potatoes? Well, I have some of the 120 pounds left!
Does anyone have any experience with the Excalibur dehydrator? Has anyone dried eggs? Do you have any positive or negative experiences to share?