When I was considering long-term storage for vegetables, I first thought I might get some canned vegetables. I found that to be fairly expensive, but went ahead and got a few cases.
However, I discovered that I didn’t use the canned vegetables as much as I thought I would. So, following the “eat what you store and store what you eat” philosophy, I knew I needed to find a better alternative.
Dehydrated or Freeze-dried?
I did a lot of research on dried (dehydrated) vegetables and freeze-dried vegetables. They were both quite expensive – the freeze-dried more so than the dehydrated type. And I wasn’t sure how tasty the dehydrated ones would be.
So, I decided to purchase some dehydrated carrots and try them out. Wow, they were really good. They were even palatable before reconstituting (rehydrating?) them. And after letting them sit for a while in water, I could eat them just like that – without cooking.
But the expense of buying enough dehydrated vegetables for long-term storage was still a problem. So I decided to buy a food Dehydrator and dry my own food. And what a good decision that turned out to be!
Features of the Excalibur Dehydrator
I checked out the different types of electric-powered dehydrators that are available and settled on the Excalibur Food Dehydrator (Model 3526T). Another fortunate choice.
This model has five trays that combined give 8 square feet of tray space. It also has a timer and an adjustable thermostat. I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed using this appliance. And I’ve been using it a lot. The trays are made of polycarbonate with screen inserts and are easy to clean.
So far, I’ve used my Excalibur Dehydrator to dry both fruit and vegetables, including bananas, strawberries, blueberries, carrots, yams, potatoes, peas, greens (chard, kale, spinach), parsnips, tomatoes, peppers, and many more.
Learning How to Use a Dehydrator
The Excalibur dehydrator comes with a 28-page booklet (The Excalibur Dehydration Guide) which explains how to dehydrate foods using their product. This a good reference for starting out.
I also purchased a book called Making and Using Dried Foods (by Phyllis Hobson) which has been very useful in explaining the whole process of dehydrating foods.
This book has one page of information about each of about 55 different fruits and vegetables, telling how to prepare the food, dry it, and use it. The book also includes information on drying herbs, meat, and dairy products. And it contains advise on buying a dehydrator and a nice collection of recipes.
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