Dehydrate vegetables to prevent waste. Do you have way more vegetables then you can eat? Don’t toss them out … dehydrate them.
Have you ever run to the grocery store to purchase a stalk or two of celery only to discover you have to purchase a whole bundle!? Most people just toss out the rest of the bunch. What a waste! Dried celery stores very well and next time you only need 1 or two stalks you will have it in food storage. No running to the store for it.
Dehydrating vegetables is a little different than other foods.
Vegetables contain less acid than fruits, so they need to be dried until they are brittle. At this stage, only 10% moisture remains and no microorganism can grow.
|Eggplant||Peel (Optional) & Slice||Dip|
|Potatoes||Peel & Slice||Blanch|
|Pumpkin||Peel & Slice||Bake or Blanch|
|Tomatoes||Peel (Optional) & Slice||None|
|Zuccghini||Peel (Optional) & Slice||Dip (Optional)|
Yes, blanching is
a must when preparing to dehydrate vegetables. Blanching stops the enzyme action that
causes loss of color and flavor during drying and storage. It shortens the
drying and re-hydration time by relaxing the tissue walls so moisture can
escape and later re-enter more rapidly.
Vegetables can be blanched a couple of ways. Water blanching results in a greater loss of nutrients, but it takes less time then steam blanching.
After blanching, dip the vegetables briefly in cold water. When they feel only slightly hot to the touch, drain the vegetables by pouring them directly onto the drying tray held over the sink. Wipe the excess water from underneath the tray and arrange the vegetables in a single layer.
Then place the tray immediately in the dehydrator or oven. The heat left in the vegetables from blanching will cause the drying process to begin more quickly. Watch the vegetables closely at the end of the drying period. They dry much more quickly at the end and could scorch.
Just a quick note: When you dehydrate vegetables like: peppers, onions or garlic, it is best to dry them outside away from drafts or in a garage. These veggies put off quite an aroma that could smell up your house for days.
Dehydrate vegetables until they are brittle or "crisp." Some vegetables would actually shatter if hit with a hammer. At this stage, they should contain about 10 percent moisture.
Because they are so dry, vegetables do not need conditioning like fruits.
Check out the page on How to Package Dehydrated Food to get your dehydrated vegetables packaged up correctly.
Vegetables take a little longer to reconstitute then fruit because they have had more water removed. It will take anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours to reconstitute vegetables.
It is best to plump vegetables up before you add them to soups or stews. If you add dried vegetables directly to soups or stews dried they come out tough and chewy.
To plump up dried veggies, place the dehydrated vegetables in a bowl with just enough to cover them up. Hint: The water you used to reconstitute the vegetables in is full of dissolved nutrients. Use it in your soups and stews to add more vitamins to them.
Once reconstituted, dried fruits or vegetables are treated as fresh. They are perishable so keep them in the refrigerator until you eat them.
CAUTION! If soaking takes more than 2 hours, refrigerate the product for the remainder of the time. Don’t let the vegetables be out of the refrigerator more than two hours… they will be susceptible to bacteria.
vegetables are better seasoned after cooking then before.
Did you know you can make you own dehydrated vegetable shaker?
The shaker top off a Kraft parmesan cheese shaker can fits on a small mouth canning jar.
The secret to dehydrated vegetables is using them. They add wonderful flavor to your meals. Be creative and enjoy your emergency food storage.
For more information on Dehydrating Vegetables see the Colorado State University's fact Sheet on drying vegetables.