July 13, 2009


Sliced Ginger

I'm impressed with dehydrating as a method of long-term storage, so recently I took the plunge and pulled out our dehydrator.

When we first moved here, we lived in a travel trailer and put all of our worldly possessions into a storage unit in town. It was broken into - twice! - and one of the thankfully-few things that was stolen was our dehydrator. A few days later we were at a large store and saw them on sale, so we picked one up to replace the stolen one. It is just a cheapie model, one of the round ones with an unknown brand name. Up till now, it had mostly been used to make jerky. It's not the best model, but it's what I have, and therefore I will use it.

The first thing I did was run it for awhile with my candy thermometer inside. There is no thermostat on this model, of course, so I wanted to find out the temperature. It topped out at 125 degrees. Not great, but not awful, and again, it is what I have and so I will use it.

I chopped a pound of carrots, a red pepper and a green pepper, and sliced two lemons and a hand of ginger. I blanched the carrots and the peppers and sprinkled with a bit of lemon juice, then put them on the trays and forgot to take any photos. Sorry about that.

The peppers filled the tray and were on top of each other, but I'd read that you don't need to worry about them being in a single layer, so I didn't. Likewise with the carrots which also were more than one layer on a tray. I put the lemon slices on another tray and the ginger on a fourth. On the bottom tray I put the fruit roll-up liner because I could foresee the dried pieces going through the screen.

This is how it looked in the morning, about halfway done.

The dehydrator was turned on and warmed up when I put the food in the trays, and I went to bed. I see now why people do this at night, because it can be a bit noisy if you don't have a big house, which we do not.

Sixteen hours later they were done. The ginger was actually done first and I removed the slices and left the rest to dry longer. I thought the lemons might be finished before the veggies but some were a bit sticky when I checked so I left them till the end as well.

The results are in jars and vacuum-sealed to keep oxygen out (and hopefully moisture too). I'd intended to have a jar of carrots and a jar of mixed peppers but the peppers fell through the holes in the trays and were mixed with the carrots, so rather than tediously pick through them, I put them all in one jar.

Note to self: if you are drying more than one kind of item, they should be different colors or shapes/sizes; chopped red peppers and carrots are too much alike.

Can you believe that the pint jar of lemon slices used to be two whole lemons? And the pint-size veggie jar holds more than a pound of carrots AND two large peppers? Wow, this is truly a space-saving way to preserve food.

Here is my source of information and inspiration: Dehydrate2store.com. The website is new, and Tammy is adding more videos and recipes as time goes on. I discovered the videos a month or so ago on YouTube; they are different videos than the ones on the website so please check out both places. Excellent information!

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