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November 10, 2010

Dehydrating Adventures

My new dehydrator, a L'Equip 528 model, arrived last week. I lost no time in trying it out - the very next morning it was loaded and turned on.

First up was a bag of frozen "stir-fry vegetables", sliced red, orange and green peppers and onions, that I bought on sale and had used a few here and there in various recipes. The almost-one-pound bag dried down to about half a cup. It dried in about half the time the old cheap round dehydrator took.

The rice left over from that night's dinner also went on a tray and was dry in just a couple of hours. I'll use this in small quantities in "cup of soup" type recipes.

I also experimented with dehydrating eggs. The two fruit leather trays that came with my new model are comically small, about 6 inches wide. I'll have to buy more, or figure out an alternative. Many people use plastic wrap on top of the dehydrator's mesh tray, but the raw eggs are too runny for that, I think. A friend told me that it works better to line fruit leather trays with plastic wrap, and when partially dry to peel them off and put on a regular tray, then start more eggs.

The eggs dried perfectly, and flaked off of the fruit leather tray; I think I could make them a little thicker. The dried eggs are deep orange, which surprised me until I remembered that these are home-grown eggs, not anemic yellow supermarket eggs.

The next step is to powder them in my blender or my little coffee grinder (I don't use it for coffee), and to experiment with reconstituting them. By the way, the USDA doesn't approve of dehydrating eggs.

This dehydrator works much quicker than my old cheap round one, and has a thermostat as well. So far I'm very happy with it. I hope it lasts longer than the old one, but it also has a ten-year warranty.

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