Well, I finally did it – I put away one of my gadgets – the dehydrator. It’s been sitting on the corner of the kitchen counter since spring. I know it should have been put away a month or so, but as long as it’s out, in my mind it’s still summer!
The Excalibur is a great dehydrator. Years ago I had one of those round ones, but it just took so long to dry and the trays didn’t hold as much. In addition to being a great product, it’s made in the USA! The only thing I would do differently is buy the nine-tray unit.
We dry a lot of tomatoes and my favorite to dry are Juliets. They are great tasting, firm, and a good size (larger than a cherry tomato and smaller than a Roma). But I also dry others. Below are the varieties from our garden that I dried this past summer.
We use these dried tomatoes all winter long in stir-fry dishes, omelettes, salads, pizza, and just as a snack. Yum! If you’ve never dried tomatoes, you are missing a treat.
I also love to dry apples, especially for leather. The dried apples are great to eat too, but they also are good thrown in oatmeal, breads, and any dish you’d use apples. The leather rollups are great to pack in a purse or a backpack for the kids. They are such a healthy snack – just apples, unsweetened apple cider (or water) and cinnamon!
We also dry our bell and hot peppers. Food I’ve not been successful drying include squash (the drying brings out the bitter although they are ok to throw in soup), blueberries (way too small and easier to freeze) and strawberries (they taste bitter to me). We have also dried peaches, but usually freeze or eat them when they’re available.
Even if you don’t grow your own food, the dehydrator is a great way to preserve those fruits and veggies that are overflowing at the local farmers’ markets or road stands in the summer. We had to buy apples this year from the local orchard because our apples did not produce.
If you already dry food, I’d love to hear what you dry and your success stories. I know I’m probably missing out on other goodies to dry and I’d love to free up some of our freezer space for food that doesn’t dry well.
Your dehydrator reminds me of all the dehydrating my mother did while I was growing up. I don’t have any success stories to share, but I do absolutely love to bake (second only to gardening). I look forward to reading your future posts.
Lynda, we mostly freeze everything now as opposed to much canning, and just looked at an Excalibur! This year we plan to do much in the way of dehydrating: from our trees…. apples, pears, figs and of course many of the veggies from our vegetable garden. Our Sun Golds and a few other bite-sized tomatoes produced like gangbusters and we made salsas and bruschetta until we finally stopped. I assume that if you dry these smaller tomatoes, it is skin and all. Thanks for an encouraging post! I’m so happy to have found you on Blotanical. Diana
So glad you found me! To dry the tomatoes I just cut them in half (except for the Golden Raves which I cut in fourths since they are larger) and put them on the rack. Sungolds are my favorite for eating so I usually don’t dry them and we always have an abundance of the others including my fav for drying – Juliet. Let me know how it goes!
Yay! found this post. Thanks Lynda. Do you have any more posts on drying? Also, what do you do with your peppers that you dry?
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