Fruits and Vegetables are healthy. But with the hectic schedules that people handle every day, preparing may be a daunting task. How can you have your healthy vegetable meal if you have a very tight schedule? On this page, you will learn how to dehydrate vegetables using your food dehydrator — a process that will make you enjoy the goodness of vegetables right at the comforts of your home, anywhere, or anytime. Dehydrating vegetables and fruits at home is one of the current trends in snack preparation. Dried vegetables are nutritious, healthy, and lightweight. Many are now turning into this storage process as they can be easily stored and very convenient to manage. Vegetables and fruits that have undergone dehydration can be high-energy snacks. Some vegetables suitable for dehydration include green beans, carrots, corn, celery, and potatoes. While almost all fruits can be dried in a food dehydrator.
Why Do You Need to Dehydrate Vegetables Before Storing Them?
Here are a few of the significant reasons why you need to store dried vegetables.
The process of storing vegetables, also called vegetable dehydrating, is done to preserve the vegetable’s edibility for a longer-term.
Vegetables are filled with water. Interestingly, they shrink during dehydrating. On shrinking, they lose the water, and they occupy less space. So, if you lack storage space, dehydrating is what you need.
Lesser/no electricity for storage
Another is it does not require electricity to store. What are the vegetables are processed; they no longer need refrigeration nor freezing.
They are lightweight
Vegetables, when dehydrated, lose the water in them, lightweight as it becomes. Do you know? Become handy and convenient for camping and emergency preparations.
No complex equipment needed
Further, you will not be required to use more equipment. For more significant dehydration processes, there is commercial dehydration machine being used. However, at home, you can also do dehydration using homemade drying racks or solar dehydrators. The drying racks do not use electricity and can be hand in a well-ventilated area or near a dehydrating wood stove.
How to Dehydrate Vegetables At Home in a Food Dehydrator
Read on because you are already on the part where you will learn how to dehydrate vegetables as well as prepare them for drying. One important thing that you need to know about dehydrating vegetables is that increasing temperature will evaporate moisture. The balance of humidity and temperature is essential to dry food successfully.
- First, set the electric dehydrator (if you are using one) to 60°C (140°F). After an hour, you can initially reduce the temperature to 135°F. If the vegetable was dried under a very high temperature, its outer surface could be hardened. Moisture will then be trapped or prevented from escaping. If this happens during dehydration, it is okay. Dehydration calls it case hardening.
- If you have already set your dehydrator, move on to the food you will dehydrate. Thinly sliced vegetables will dry faster. This means that if you have prepared similar sizes of vegetables, the dehydration process will complete simultaneously.
If the vegetable you are going to dry needs peeling, then be ready with your kitchen knife. However, peeling is optional because the peel can still help prevent the moisture. Slice the vegetable into thin pieces for quick drying. You can do this on your kitchen cutting board.
- Then place the trace on the dehydrator that was preheated. The temperature must be initially set at 145°F f45. There is still moisture on the surface of the vegetable. The vegetable shrinks after drying, so make use of the smaller container for your food storage.
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Pretreatment For Vegetables to Be Dehydrated
Vegetables also must undergo pretreatment. What are the pretreatment processes for vegetables?. Below are the major pre-treatments.
These are through dipping the vegetables or blending them. Putting your vegetables under pretreatment will help with faster dehydration and more extended storage time capacity.
Blanching is done by steaming the food or free cooking it in boiling water. With this process, the enzymatic reactions within the food will be stopped, ultimately slowing down decomposition. When blanched, the vegetables’ skin becomes softer, and water flows out easier, resulting in shorter drying time. Significantly it also kills unwanted spoilage organisms
Blanched vegetables must be drained in a dryer tray. The heat absorbed from drying will prepare the vegetables for the drying process.
How Long Does Vegetable Dehydration Take?
The time for food drying at home depends on the food that you dry and the drying conditions. It may take for hours or sometimes days–the difference depends on how you dry the vegetable or what vegetable you are drying.
To test whether the vegetables were dried entirely, here are some points that you need to know about dehydrating vegetables. Thinly cut vegetables can dry faster as compared to thick ones. During the drying period, the sugar content increases as well as high humidity. Drying units with a billion fans can dry faster as compared to units that do not have fans.
If the vegetables are dried, about 90% of the moisture is removed. The vegetables should break cleanly, be brittle, or snap. Check the vegetables’ dryness, place the dehydrated veggies in a mason jar, cover with a lid, and leave it for a day. If it has been thoroughly dried, you will notice that no condensation appears on the lid’s underside. However, if there is still condensation on leave, you need to put it back to the dehydration process. There are still thicker chunks, make it thinner for more effortless and speedy dehydration.
This article has focused on dehydrating vegetables and fruits. Besides, there are different types of food dehydrators to choose from. You can also purchase a hygrometer to ensure that your vegetables have completely been dried. One brand of this hygrometer is Hygrolid, which can fit on the lid of a mason jar. Also, use a vacuum sealed mason jar for storage of the dehydrated vegetables. If these materials are not available, plastic bags with zippers can be used as short-term storage. One popular plastic bag is the Mylar pouches that have oxygen absorbers used for a more extended period of storage. As much as possible, you need to keep the dehydrated vegetables away from any form of moisture. You can also check out these 9 tasty food dehydrator recipes you can make at home