One of the best ways to preserve vegetables is by dehydrating it. Dehydration makes food keep longer, including various kinds of produce and it is also a relatively simple process that is quite easy to do at home. The principle is simply to put the vegetables to steady heat for an extended amount of time to wick away all of the moisture. Here are a few tips on how to dehydrate vegetables.
First, prepare the vegetables you want to dehydrate. There are many vegetables that you can subject to the dehydration process.
Practically everything can be used, except for such salad vegetables like lettuce, which are very delicate and are also best eaten raw and fresh. But the best vegetables to dehydrate are those that have a firmness to it like carrots, eggplant, potatoes, corn, or broccoli.
After you’ve chosen the vegetables that you want to dehydrate, it’s now time to prepare it. Wash the vegetables and make sure that all the dirt or soil has been removed. This is particularly important when cleaning root crops like potatoes. Don’t use any kind of chemical vegetable washes when washing. Just plain water will do. Chop the vegetables to small pieces. Choose the kind of slice that you think you’ll use the most for the vegetable when you start using it. There are some vegetables that you will have to blanch before dehydrating – this includes vegetables like carrots, asparagus or beans. There are other additional steps you may have to take for certain other vegetables. For example, you need to remove the skin of tomatoes or the seeds of bell peppers.
After you’ve prepared the vegetables put them in a shallow pan or sheet. You can use a number of methods for drying vegetables.
The most economical is by drying the vegetables under the heat of the sun. This is the traditional way of drying vegetables but remember that this is also the method that is the slowest. This method is perfect if you live in a place that is very sunny and hot. All you need to do is to put the vegetables in a tray that has been lined with aluminum foil or cheesecloth. Take the tray outside and leave it to dry. You can cover the vegetables with a cheesecloth to prevent contamination from insects. It may take three to four days for the vegetables to dry completely.
Another method is by using the oven. Prepare the vegetables the usual way but don’t use a cheesecloth. Preheat the oven to about 150 degrees and leave it the vegetables inside the oven for about six to twelve hours. Open the oven door occasionally to ensure that the correct temperature is maintained and to allow air to circulate.
Finally, you can use an electric dehydrator. This is the easiest method and also the fastest. Just follow the instructions that are provided in your dehydrator and you’ll have dried vegetables in no time.
When the vegetables are properly dehydrated, store it in an airtight container to ensure that it keeps properly.
Photo from joyfulabode.com