D is for Dehydrators

D is definitely for dehydrating, drying, and dried foods.  Dehydrating is my favorite food preservation method.  It creates a smaller, lighter, shelf-stable version of the food you put into it, and often concentrates the flavors making fruits sweeter and meats meatier.

Fresh peach slices on dehydrator shelvesDried peaches on dehydrator shelvesDried Peach Slices Summer 2013

My local farmer’s market boasts a fabulous peach vendor every year and I stock up on fresh peaches.  I love to peel and dry peach slices.  They are tart and sweet and wonderful.  I have a friend that is rationing out his slices to make sure they last until peach season comes around again!

6 Vidalia Onions sliced for drying

6 Vidalia Onions sliced for drying

I dry all sorts of fruits and vegetables.  I love the dehydrated Vidalia onions I did over the past couple of summers.  They add such a wonderful depth of flavor and sweetness to things like tomato sauces and casseroles.

Dried Vidalia Onion Slices

Dried Vidalia Onion Slices

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve made some great meat jerky too – marinated in soy sauce and seasonings, it makes for a fabulous portable protein source for camping or just being away from the house all day.  My nephew had a dehydrator that came with an expression gun (like a cookie press or a caulk gun). Their recipe called for seasoned ground meat, and then you used the gun to lay out long strips of the mix and dry that.  Delicious and much easier to chew that regular jerky.

You don’t have to use a specially designed dehydrator, although I love mine which is a relic of the 70’s (you can tell by the square shelves).  If you can set your oven for 125 degrees, or leave the door cracked to keep the temp low, you can dry many foods just fine.

Dry it, you’ll like it!

 

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