Dehydrate Vegetables and Save Some Green

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.

How do I prepare to dehydrate vegetables?

  • Wash in cool water to remove soil and chemical residues.
  • Trim, peel, cut, slice or shred vegetables.
  • Remove any fibrous or woody portions and core when necessary, removing all decayed and bruised areas.
  • Keep pieces uniform in size so they will dry at the same rate.
  • A food slicer or food processor can be used.
  • Prepare only as many as can be dried at one time.

What are the best kinds of vegetables to dry?

Vegetable Technique Pretreatment
Beans Slice Blanch
Cabbage Slice Blanch
Carrots Slice Blanching (Optional)
Cauliflower Slice Blanch
Celery Slice Blanching
Corn Husk Blanch (Optional)
Eggplant Peel (Optional) & Slice Dip
Greens None Blanch
Mushrooms Slice None
Potatoes Peel & Slice Blanch
Pumpkin Peel & Slice Bake or Blanch
Tomatoes Peel (Optional) & Slice None
Zuccghini Peel (Optional) & Slice Dip (Optional)

Do I have to pretreat when I dehydrate vegetables?

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 waysWater blanching results in a greater loss of nutrients, but it takes less time then steam blanching.

  • Water Blanching – Fill a large pot 2/3 full of water, cover and bring to a rolling boil. Place the vegetables in a wire basket or a colander and submerge them in the water. Begin timing when water returns to boiling. If it takes longer than one minute for the water to come back to boiling, too many vegetables were added. Reduce the amount in the next batch.

  • Steam Blanching - Use a deep pot with a tight fitting lid and a wire basket, colander or sieve placed so the steam will circulate freely around the vegetables. Add water to the pot and bring to a rolling boil. Place the vegetables loosely in the basket no more than 2 inches deep. Place the basket of vegetables in the pot, making sure the water does not come in contact with the vegetables. Cover and steam.

What is the best way to cool and dry the prepared vegetables?

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.

Are my vegetables dry yet?

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.

How do I reconstitute dried vegetables?

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.

Dehydrated vegetables are better seasoned after cooking then before.

What can I do with my dried vegetables?

Dried celery and celery powder
  • Make veggie powders.  Celery powder makes a great Salt substitute. Add vegetable powders to soups and stews for a more intense flavor. Make your own version of a salt free seasoning.  Make Your Own Vegetable Bullion for a soup base. I have a designated coffee grinder just for grinding dried veggies.

  • Mary Bell has a great book called “Drying with an Attitude” She has wonder creative recipes. I love the asparagus soup recipe in it. She takes the tough asparagus ends, dries them, grinds them and makes soup.  Yummy.

  • Do you have a favorite Chili? Dehydrate vegetables to make your own chili powder.

  • Make dehydrated vegetable chips by thinly slicing the vegetables and sprinkling with salt or seasonings before drying.

  • Make vegetable crackers by grinding dried vegetables into flour.

  • Make your own instant hummus or refried bean mixes-just grind up the dried beans add spices and store.

  • Make dried beans for instant gratification. Dehydrate Pre-cooked beans like Kidney or Pinto beans. You will have precooked instant beans for chilies and sauces.

  • Make Instant rice by cooking brown or white rice then dehydrating it.

  • Use your imagination….the options are endless when you dehydrate vegetables.

Don't throw out that shaker top off the parmesan cheese!

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.

Top of page

Home >> How to dehydrate food >> Dehydrate Vegetables