What Is Your Favorite Food To Dehydrate?

dehydrated strawberries and bananas

Okay folks, let’s hear it… What is your favorite food or foods to dehydrate in your dehydrator?

And let us know which dehydrator you have, or any tips that you’ve learned along the way…

Here’s one tip I learned a long time ago: When dehydrating onions (I did a big batch of Vidalia onions several years ago), do it outside!

Another tip: When dehydrating foods into snacks, like banana chips, store them away – out of site – so you don’t eat them all right away!

Your turn:


  1. Love my Excalibur 9 tray. When doing a bunch of strawberries, the smell that fills the house is great, so much better than the Vidalia’s.

    Great timing with this article Ken, I want to kick into high gear with dehydrating and my canning….. Look forward to hearing what everyone thinks is good to store and also how they might use said dehydrated goods!


  2. Oh Ken, aren’t those Vidalia onions great! I just dried several batches. They are so much better than the other bulk dried I also buy. Although I happen to love the smell but whenever I can I dry outdoors.
    I have 2 Excalibur dehydrators. Last year purchased the second one. When purchased, I didn’t realize I bought the economy model. This one doesn’t have a timer along with you can’t run it with just the fan which comes in handy when you want to dry outdoors in the sun.
    Favorite foods in order are

    Fuyu persimmons
    Apples and pears
    Banana chips
    Vidalia onions
    Green beans

    1. Double Tap
      The fruits are obviously snacks but the beans, mushrooms and onions I use in soups, breakfast or whatever when I don’t have fresh. My tomatoes I dry and grind to a powder for whenever you need that great added flavor. During the winter when DW comes home with those cardboard tomatoes from the store (Which I refuse to eat) I’ll put a bunch of powder on my burger instead.
      I haven’t done this in a few years because know one liked it but me. I dried the avocado pits. Slice and chop into small cubes then grind into powder. I believe the pit has as much or more nutrition than the the meat. You can just leave them on a plate and they will dry just fine. I think I will start doing that again.
      I was going to save this for after I try this, but I read in a book that they preserved tomatoes for months in wood ash. Looked it up and seems to be true. I saved a big bag and am going to try it this year. Has anyone ever tried it? My big question is how fine do I sift the ashes?

    2. Years ago my parents had one of those el cheapo food dryers. The kind that had a fan and heater and fan in the bottom and you just stacked trays on top. All plastic. Wellll. One time my dad decided he wanted to dry some habanero peppers. That was a bad move. Our eyes burned for days while those peppers were drying. That was the last time he put peppers in the dryer. 😭😭

    3. I have an Excaliber 9 and love it. I’ve done mushrooms, apples, jalapenos, organ meats for dog treats, onions, frozen corn. This year I want to dehydrating the tomato skins I remove when canning tomatoes. Understand the tomato powder really enhances flavor in soups and chilis

  3. I use my Excalibur to dehydrate a lot of the ingredients I use in soups/stews, in addition to fruits like apples and strawberries. Favorite cooking ingredients I dehydrate are:

    Green Beans
    Garlic scapes
    Potato slices

    When I use most of these things, I don’t rehydrate separately. I just toss them into whatever I’m cooking and they rehydrate in the cooking liquid.

  4. I like making jerky in my dehydrator. I use London broil sliced paper thin and marinated in a bourbon marinade. And you have to hide it afterward or it disappears in short time.

    1. After being ground up, mixed with seasonings, then crammed through the jerkey shooter.
      Of course,
      Hard to fit a whole deer in there,,,

      1. Kulafarmer,

        Or elk, if you can get it!!
        I love my jerky shooter, so do our family and friends, well…. at least what I produce out of it and share with them!!

        1. Kulafarmer, minerjim,
          I make a batch of venison jerky about every 3 weeks + or -. I’d love to try some elk jerky. I’ve never had it.

          Try some magic dust on your jerky, dehydrated jalapenos ground into powder. I mix it right in with the other spices, before using the shooter. Even in small quantities, it adds a really nice flavor. Add a little more if ya like hot. Easy there, not too much. I’ve tried habenaro pepper this way and didn’t like it nearly as well.

          I make 3-5 lbs. at a time, depending on how big we packaged it when butchering. Even those older bigger bucks, taste good as jerky. That’s why I grow so many jalapenos.

        2. Miner Jim
          I know where i can get one, like a tall cow!
          Jerkey shooter made jerkey fun for me, i think flavors are better too. Easier to eat. Way more consistent dry on it.

  5. Kulafarmer

    I’d like to make jerkey this year, so I’m learning about it. What do you use for a ‘jerkey shooter’? Didn’t know about those, I just figured after seasoning and grinding, I’d spread it on the dehydrator sheets and cut it up after.

    1. Farmgirl
      I buy stuff from LEM
      They have everything, way good supplier. Jerkey cannon i think is proper name. Looks like a big caulking gun, actually, looks exactly like a chinking gun for log home building,
      I got my stainless meat grinder from a place called Texas Tastes, they are excellent, fast shipping, good prices, dont be afraid of hand grinders, i have a stailess #22 and i love it, super fast and easy.

      1. Thanks, Kulafarmer, great recommendation! I have a very old hand meat grinder that I use, and that should work for this. Funny how much the cannon looks just like a caulking gun! Makes one wonder how it got ‘invented’….

  6. Hello! I am new here. I am currently trying to learn how to partially cook and dry “dry” beans to make them quick cooking. I’m following another person’s blog post describing their many trials to get a good result. I’m particularly interested in making beans/rice mixes. Right now one of my biggest successes is potatoes! We love them! I have an Excalibur 9 tray. It’s great but noisy. Thank you for this site. It’s becoming my morning newspaper!

  7. Elk and deer jerky, tomatoes, onions!
    Best thing we have produced is Honeycrisp apple rings. We dried them to the point where they would ‘snap’ when broken, but oh so sweet. Had to hide the bags of those from the family otherwise they would have been gone as fast as I made them. Being so dry they will last forever. Better than candy.

  8. Could someone please share with me what the benefits of dehydrating over canning are? I know that some people do both, but I am specifically wondering if there are benefits of one versus the other. Thanks!

    1. lovelypoet,
      One obvious benefit is some food types would not can well. Imagine canning bananas or strawberries?

      Some people enjoy snacking on dehydrated foods (they retain excellent flavor).

      Canned foods when opened should be consumed relatively soon (and kept refrigerated afterwards). Dehydrated foods you just take what you need out of the jar (or however you packaged it).

      Those are a few benefits off the top of my head.

      With that said, there are plenty of benefits for canning food too. Each have their diversified place in the prepper home.

      1. Thank you, Ken. That makes sense. Now, are there things you would never dry, only can? I am thinking seriously about getting a dehydrator. I have a friend who is willing to teach me canning this fall, but I feel rather certain we won’t be able to do so in person.

      2. Everything Ken said, plus dehydrated food takes up less storage space.

      3. Yes, Dehydrated squash of all kinds are exceptionally sweet. I like that dehydration gives me the ability to put up to 3 pints of a food in a pint jar.- depending on the food. and how i prepare it. Mushrooms i powder. can put a lot of them, packed in a jar for soups, stews and spaghetti sauce.

    2. lovelypoet – another benefit to dehydrating,…if you dehydrate something (I have done various veg, likely work for potatoes, who knws what else), enough, you can pulverize it in a blender/processor to a powder. Makes a lovely hot drink/addition to soup or stew for flavor, hamburger addition, etc

      1. Plus, powdered veggies are a good way to sneak some vegetables into your family’s diet.

    3. Lovelypoet, some items I both can and dehydrate like pears. We enjoy them canned just to eat or in jello and we snack on the delicious dried pears which are a favorite in our home. I can peaches but didn’t like the results of dehydrating them. I can, pickle and dehydrate jalapeños. But they are dried outside…my eyes and throat would burn otherwise,

      My dehydrator runs a lot when I am drying herbs that I have grown. I use them as spices and teas. I use it outside when drying red chili peppers, which I then grind for my own red pepper flakes.

      I am still learning how to do many things with the dehydrator. I think it depends on what your family enjoys eating and what you want to grow and dry or get from a trusted source and dry.

  9. i love drying tomatoes apples beef jerky bananas hell pretty much anything if it can be dryed i have even gone so far as drying my home made chili have some chili i dried years ago thats still good

  10. My favorite thing is deer jerky. I also dry onions, mushrooms and peppers. I am going to try drying squash this year. I do not have a dehydrator. I have a confection oven and set it for the lowest heat setting. It works very well.

  11. I have learned not to dehydrate jalapenos in the house. On the back porch next time. Those were a strong batch of jalapenos. I dang near killed us all. hahaha…………oh my gosh. I pepper sprayed the whole house.
    No common sense was used there folks……….haha……

    Zucchini squash is my favorite! I make chips out of it.

    1. Texasgirl, you just made me laugh out loud. Seriously!!!

      I made the mistake my first time handling jalapeños (36 to be exact) and after cutting them in half and cleaning out the insides to make jalapeño poppers with no gloves, my fingers burned for days…I can only imagine what that was like in your house. haha

    2. I am going to have to try the zuke squash chips…they sound tasty! Thanks!

  12. Jerky using the western mix found in the back of an old preservation book from the 1980’s. Then banana chips, even though the process is a little be longer. The neice will eat then as soon as they are ready if she knows I am making them. Made fruit roll ups in the dehydrator, friends grand children loved the strawberry. Depending on this years supply might try it again, used a seed extractor so that we would have pulp & juice but no seeds. If you do not have the sheets for roll ups worth the extra cost to have them available.
    Our unit is the Excalibur 9 tray with a timer.

    1. If you can find the older model of the Excalibur they are better insulated for drying. Saves on electrical costs and they do have the model with a timer and temperature control. Not easy to locate but if you find one in a yard sale do not pass it up.
      The cabinet is a brown exterior and the controls on the front of the unit–in case you happen to see this particular system.

    2. Regarding sheets for roll ups. The bag inside cereal box works great Just wash out, dry and cut to size of tray. Easy, peasy and cheap.

  13. Deer jerky some thru a Cabelas shooter, some sliced on a deli slicer I have. Dehydrator I have is American Harvest, used it for 20 yrs so far.By the way I deli slice thinner than a quarter inch, any roasts I cut from deer hindquarters freeze in lb packages or so, then fry for a short time with onions peppers and top with Swiss or provolone on a hoagie bun. This is my absolute fav meal from deer meat.I prefer it even over a ribeye Angus steak.

  14. I dehydrate a lot of apple slices and elderberries for later use. Also lots of herbs (especially lemon balm and elderberry flowers for tea).

  15. Love apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon. Also dry leeks, strawberries, potato slices, cooked hamburger and very lean ham diced fine, I’ve also dried my sourdough starter (on VERY low heat or you kill it. Stored vac paced in jars for shtf). I’ve dried cooked pinto beans but haven’t tried them yet. The list goes on….

  16. Ken

    Just curious, have you used your Kill-a-watt meter on your Excalibur to figure out how much power it pulls in 12/24 hours? Wondering how much solar would be needed to run it in a grid down situation.


  17. We use our Nesco dehydrator to dry scalloped and diced potatoes, diced carrots, plums,apple slices w/cinnamon and onions. Our Nesco is 5 years old and we are quite pleased with it .

    1. Hi Bluesman,
      After reading your post I think I remember you writing about dehydrating scalloped potatoes some time ago. Do you mean potato slices, or are you doing more to it than that? Thanks!

      1. So cal gal. go to u tube channel deep south with Mr. tom- and put in beside it dehydrating potatoes. he gives details of how he does his potatoes they turn out just like the scalloped ones.in box.

      2. So Cal Gal,

        We just slice them thin,1/8″ , dry them and store them in a 1/2 gallon jar.

  18. Hello All, Can you tell me how long your dehydrated food lasts and how do you store it? I have done bananas, apples and unfortunately onions in the house…. However I am not sure the best way to store or how long i should trust it. As of now I keep the fruits in mason jars with a food grade dessicant but I normally consume within 30 days.

    1. KM, I have dehydrated jerky vac sealed that tastes fresh a year later.

    2. I just opened a small jar of dried strawberry slices from 2004. Crumbled them in overnight oatmeal. Delicious! The key is drying them rock hard. No moisture. I put them in brown lunch bags – about 1 cup – roll up the bag and stuff in a jar and vac-seal it.

      1. You could also grind this product very fine in a good blender and use it as a powder in smoothies and such.

    3. Km, with a dessicant and oxygen absorber i have food done 5 years ago. that is same process food companies give a shelf life of 25 years. IT MUST be very dry. and kept that way. sealed..Mine will not make it that long.

      1. Just saying, thank you. I have not giving dehydrated food enough shelf life. Now I know I can keep bananas for much longer!

      2. o2 absorbers are not recommended to be used with desiccant packs as they need some moisture to work.

  19. So can i expect the same for fruits, onions and spices? I normally just put them in a mason jar with a dessicant.

  20. Spinach dehydrates quickly, in 4 hours, and is a great addition to a smoothie.

    1. so does plantain the herb, and sorrel, dandelion greens., blanche all- lightly- before dehydration.they work well crumbled and added to soups… if you are in the south also Kudzu….as long as it has not been sprayed in more than 5 years.

  21. I have a Nesco and do lots and lots of sliced carrots (parboil or steam first). I like good-sized slices (I cut on the bias) for soups. It takes longer to dry slices compared to diced, but I like the nice big slices – looks and feels more like fresh carrots to me.

    I’ve tried strawberries, but they never come out looking good – they seem dark and look unappealing.

    I haven’t tried potatoes, for those who dehydrate them, do you steam them whole until partially cooked, then slice? Or par-cook slices? Any preference of red, gold or russets?

    1. So Cal Gal. potatoes should be iced between every stage.once peeled ice in water.until finished peeling remainder. have hot boiling water and tea strainer. dip for 3-4 minutes in 1 cup batches( until begin to turn). drain and place in fresh ice water.. chill fully. drain. blot off all excess water…put on dehydrator trays. I have tried shredded and sliced.. “whole does not work well” uneven poduct.- from my “encourager to try”. My family does not like the red. gold and russets work well…comments along same lines.for you and others..
      I cut my carrots and do not blanche/parboil .they taste fine.they do slightly discolor when on shelf for a good while, they do taste ok. and work in soups and stews.. when rehydrated no discoloration….. frozen ones have been parboiled so would work.. i slice my organic ones crosswise, small and the others i get are sliced in small sticks or with a potato peeler. i can tell at a glance which one i have.
      String beans, broccoli and caulifower, mixed (soup) vegetables…. ALL need to be blanched -unless using commercial frozen( they have already been prepared.) We use from dehydrated things on regular basis. rehydration is the key to a pleasant experience. to fry okra it usually needs 60-75 min soak time in very warm water to fully rehydrate..

  22. Any suggestions on cookbooks or websites with recipes for a beginner? Just got my dehydrator last week. Thanks

    1. I have had a Nesco for years & am so glad I bought many extra trays. Same electricity is used whether you have 2 or 12 trays stacked up.

      Here in Texas, it heats the house up too much so I dehydrate on the back covered porch. When I lived in Ohio, I loved to dry apple slices in the house during the winter….delicious smell & ambient heat was a bonus. But be careful snacking on dehydrated foods as too much may cause a tummy ache!

      The tastiest for me are the cherry/patio tomatoes. I slice them in half to dehydrate & store in ziplock bags. They are super in soups & sauces & delicious to just snack on! And dehydrated takes up less pantry space than the canned tomatoes in jars.

      Personally, I find buying dehydrated onions in the spice aisles of the grocery store to be a better value as cutting up all those onions is tedious & hard to get uniform pieces.

    2. Hank Scorpio
      Look on the net using this phrase ‘Books for Dehydrating Foods’. There are a lot of them out there.

      I have the book “How to Dehydrate Food”, it was written back in the 1980’s.

      There is the “The Dehydrator Bible”

      Welcome to the site, ask questions will go our best to assist you.

  23. Hank S.
    Dehydration tips…i have been doing this since about 2011.
    okra, carrots, and celery only need to be washed, drained and cut in even pieces. to get an acceptable product. if end product is too large they can be run thru a food processor or coffee grinder… works great for celery. the smaller the pieces the easier they rehydrate.
    Much depends on your dehydrator and all are not the same.. you are going to be needing a product that is fully dry, if you try to break it will snap.. if it is not there, but almost, try adding 1-2 hours more. allowing it to cool and trying again.
    frozen vegetables can be placed directly on racks and immediately dehydrated, just do not heap them and make sure to leave air holes.
    if you have problems with something like sweet peas/english peas falling thru to next level, you can use a old well washed cotton sheet to make tray liners, or get the grid plastic used for plastic canvass work.to make a layer to prevent drop thru..
    . tomatoes, banana’s, most fruit and cheese, i purchase pre done. i do not like peeling small pieces off my drying racks., too time consuming. can use the fruit leather trays- they also interfere with air flow of my machines. Be sure to try one tray for these items…to see if your method will work.
    Summer and zucchini squash also require very little to be done to them for dehydration, they do not keep as long unless packed carefully with oxygen absorber and silica dry packs- like come in medication bottles. pack all vegetables in glass jars with lids. used canning lids work well and can be repurposed for this if clean and dry. as well as, glass spaghetti sauce jars….
    I like the 2.5 gallon ziplock for unloading my dehdyrator. the trays go in easily and turned sideways they clean off easily with out loss.
    Some people also vacume seal their jars inside a food saver bag after sealed in jars. Items not commonly kept can be preserved longer than previously thought possible via this method.
    Hope this helps…Enjoy… oh the okra, my DH can eat a whole pint at a setting. nothing but dehydrated okra for crunchies… can also spice them if desired.

    1. @just sayin

      Oh yeah, celery, great in the dehydrator. Good advice!

      Never tried okra, hmmmm…got me thinking!

      Thanks for Sayin’, Just Sayin’


      1. Fire for Effect!,
        My DH will eat okra, yellow squash or zucchini by the jar. all i have to do is leave them visible.
        ..sweet corn i have done, but ground fine..after dry.. for a creamed corn that rehydrates quicker..can also use it for cornmeal or thickening a casserole…if corn is and accepted ingredient …in the dish.The french cut string beans are easiest to rehydrate.

        1. @ Just sayin’

          So do you spice or salt them to try to mimic like a potato chip style snack?

          I am sooo going to dehydrate okra and squash this year thanks to you!

        2. Fire for Effect!,
          My DH said they would need to be either air fried or dropped in hot grease for potato chips… and lightly salted..my intent was to preserve what i have more of today than i need today for use – months down the road..
          what i have saved is in shreds/thin slices. with the knowledge i have a super taster in the family who does not want anyone’s instant potatoes, nor any canned ones… to use even in soups or stews i must wash them thoroughly..can fry them with onions it masks part of the taste…. we may be doing without potatoes./much of the year…. we do have some planted , know they will not be sufficient…..

    2. Just Saying – I bought a roll of nylon window screen material and cut a pattern to fit in my L’Equip unit. I use that to dehydrate my spices and small items. Works like a charm.

  24. Oh man, I am such a dehydrating geek! We own several Nesco FD60 dehydrators and love them, great design with motor on top that blows down.

    1a. BILTONG!!!!! (You will never do jerky again)

    1b. Frozen mixed veggies. Already cut and blanched, just dehydrate and voila!

    2. Fresh sliced ginger for hot tea and adult beverages!

    3. Baby portabella mushrooms.

    4. Frozen hash-browns (hands down the best way to store hash browns for long term storage)

    5. Vidalia onions

    6. Fresh strawberries.

    7. Malabar spinach for green smoothies

    8. Swiss chard for green smoothies

    9. Frozen mango slices for mango infused adult drinks

    10. Fruit rolls

    FYI; forget the factory recommendations about separating and spreading out the fruits and veggies on the dehydrating trays. We stack them and cram them together as tight as possible as many as will possibly fit on a tray and then cram some more on for good measure. The finished product always comes out beautiful.

    1. Fire for Effect

      I love Malibar spinach! Never thought of dehydrating it before. Do you blanch it first?

      1. No, I don’t bother to blanch malibar since I am using it only in green smoothies. If it turns the smoothie a little dark, I just close my eyes as I chug it down 😉

        Honestly, I am too lazy to blanche anything. That is why I like pre-cut frozen veggies. Already blanched.

    2. Fire,
      Great list!
      I never thought about frozen hash browns, or frozen mango slices… in fact I’ve never tried frozen fruit at all, only fresh. I’ve really missed the boat on this.

      And sliced ginger… Hmmmm.

      I have a new batch of ideas – thanks so much!

      1. @So Cal

        The beauty of frozen hashies, (and all foods for that matter) is how compact they become after dehydration.

        I just finished dehydrating a load of Walmart/Great Value frozen hashbrowns in the 4lb size bags. The best I can tell is that a 4lb bag will fit in about the size of a pint canning jar once dehydrated. But I like the large 1/2 gallon size Ball jars and vac seal the jar after it is full. Good for 20+ years


        1. Fire,
          That’s great – it’s amazing how small things get once you get the moisture out of them!

          I’m thinking shredded hash browns, not the cubed kind… is that right?

          I do the vac deal with an O2 absorber tossed into the jar.

        2. @So Cal

          Yes the shredded style.

          But know you got me to thinking, Im gonna pick up a bag of the cubed to try. I don’t see why the cubed wouldn’t work just fine.

          So you vac seal AND an O2 packet? Do you need a crowbar to pry the lids off from so much vacuum? 😉

        3. I am amazed at the size also. 10 large bell peppers in a pint jar. never really counted how many tomatoes fit in a quart jar but its at least a full dehydrator full if not more

  25. Dill pickles. Slice them thin. Dehydrate. Then mulch them to a fine grind in a food processor. It makes dill pickle salt. Great for cookouts. Of course you can skip the mulching part, and just snack on the pickle chips.

    1. @Livin

      Cool. I have always wondered about dehydrating dill pickles.

      We make dill pickles by fermenting them in our fermenting crock and they are just so tasty they don’t last very long around our place.

      If you have never tried fermented dill pickles, they are truly fantastic!

      1. @ Fire.
        Might have to try your fermenting. Got a recipe you can share?
        My family is like yours. We usually have a family pickle making party every year. And if I don’t hide a case or three. They magically disappear.

        1. My wife is the pickle pro. I am not 100% sure how she does it but they are absolutely awesome.

          I know our fermenter is a German made Harsch (? spelling) brand that has a water ring on top for an airtight seal.

    2. Although pickled beets didn’t fare well. Nice taste, extremely rubbery and chewy.

  26. I have done many of the foods mentioned here in both a Nesco and an Excalibur dehydrator. One food I have not seen is sweet corn! Using fully mature but not too mature ears use a knife or what ever you want to use cut the kernels off and “blanch” in a microwave safe pan on high stirring every minute until the kernels change color. You will notice the color change fairly easily. Dry until each kernel is very dry and hard. I store them in canning jars with a desiccant. They are very good in soups and such. The longer they are re-hydrated in cooking the better they are.

    1. @Deep south

      I have noticed that too, about rehydrating times and veggies get better. Good point.

      I also once had an Excalibur. It was a fine dehydrator, nothing wrong at all I just didn’t care for the front loading aspect. Then I tried a Nesco (top motor style) that a friend owned and fell in love with Nesco! I ended up selling the Excalibur.

  27. I dehydrate citrus peel. Also, love dehydrated kumquat. Slice them lengthwise, remove the seed and dehydrate. Best orange candy ever.


  28. I know I’m gonna sound nuts, we dehydrate liver sliced thin. Years ago I got wondering what kind of treats I was feeding my dogs. After looking at the ingredients on some of the overpriced bags of ….. I started drying liver. My German Shepherds love them. They last a long time, travel well, are great for training, and I add them to their meals as a treat. I was using a Walmart machine, but broke down and bought what was suggested here through the Amazon link last year.
    I do make some killer jerkey with Bib and Tucker Burbon too.

    Thanks for the many other ideas everyone!

    1. Kev in CT

      That’s a really great idea! I sometimes have chicken livers left from my broiler chickens, and once in a while some beef liver, too. Dog treats are getting expensive, too. Thanks for sharing that.

    2. Kev in CT,
      When i do liver the dogs do NOT get it…It’s mine. Liver is termed the perfect food, for those with anemia and low blood counts in iron departments.. For people who have trouble absorbing nutrients- often are Vitamin B and iron deficient. Liver contains everything necessary to absorb the iron contained therein.. I dehydrate and grind into powder and put in a capsule…and i can take as medicine to replace B supplements and iron…It is better tolerated than commercial preps.. I use “00” size capsules.( for those who may have similar issue)
      I also dehydrated cooked, crumbled, washed and drained.. ground beef. I think it was 6-8 lbs i could pack into a jar… after jar is packed. i make room for a folded paper towel in top- turn upside down and leave for one week.. then remove paper towel that has absorbed the extra remaining oils. and insert a oxygen absorber..clean lid inside and rim with light vinegar.tighten down-tight.

  29. Mr. Ken,

    As a possible follow up to this article, would you consider an article on something like, “How do you use your favorite dehydrated foods?”

    For example, I noticed Beach’n said she dehydrates orange peels. This sounds so interesting and clever but I have no idea how or where to use dried orange peels? Would love to hear how others use dehydrated foods as well.

    Anyhoo, keep up the good work, sir. Thanks for considering.


    1. Fire for Effect,
      Thanks for asking! I use lemon peels on chicken when baking. Orange peels, I make an orange sauce for beef. Also, lemon peels ground for lemon pepper. Kumquats, I just eat for a treat or make a “jam” for toast. :) Not to mention lime peels with Vodka. Just let them re-hydrate in the vodka then macerate them for the flavor. Not as good as a “gin julep”, but pretty good (tip of the silver cup to NRP:D)

      1. By the way, I juice the fruit and freeze it for later use. I put 1/4 of juice in a ziplock and then lay them flat for freezing. That way, when you need juice, you just break off when you need.

        1. I never get any of the juice of my lemons–my nessies eat them like apples! But I do get the peels, so I dry those.

      2. Can’t believe I forgot to mention baked goods, use in cookies, muffins, cakes.

        1. @Beach

          Thanks for the suggestions on citrus!

          Boy oh boy! New stuff to dehydrate! I cant wait!!!

        2. @Fire For Effect
          You’re welcome. I use a potato peeler to remove the citrus skin. So, I get larger chunks and avoid the pith! Dehydrated pith is not good!

        3. This is great advice since my boys eat mandarins like they are going extinct. I usually throw the peels in the compost but they take a lot of time to decompose. Wonderful alternative.

  30. On the frozen items do you thaw them first then dehydrate or put in machine frozen?

    1. Midwest Mama,
      I thaw first so I can remove the little bit of water that’s on them.

    2. Midwest mama, when i dehydrate from frozen i do not always thaw before…so am a little more wary about how much i pile on a tray.. and several hours into dehydration i rotate my trays and make sure they are drying evenly… sometimes there will be high and low places.as the clumps break up..I had some that did not do well because i got in too big a hurry and they were clumped too much./process was neglected… By making sure there is air flow around the product at least in sections. Maybe every 2 inches?…it will prevent failures.

  31. The local food bank delivered boxes of vegetables (30+ lbs each) to the local schools and told the community to come and get it as they had too much. I picked up one. Full of monstrous carrots, potatoes, red onions, cabbage and apples. I gave the cabbage head to the chickens as a treat and making applesauce with the apples. But the onions, carrots and potatoes are going in the dehydrator. What a great bounty.

  32. I just wanted to post an update to my first attempt to produce “quick cook” dry beans. Success! I added the processed beans to a black beans and rice recipe and the beans cooked to very slightly al dente in 25 minutes, same as the rice. On standing a bit they were fully soft. Process is: soak beans overnight. Drain, rinse. Cover with fresh water, bring to boil, lower heat, cook for 10 minutes. Drain. Spread on dryer trays and dry at 95 degrees until hard. Overcooked or overheated beans will disintegrate. My excalibur’s lowest setting is 105. Only a very few clamshelled open. I think my nine tray will handle about a quart of dry beans. Will find out tomorrow! Oh, having our beans and rice with home made andouille sausage tonight!

  33. Wanted to add something I did with our dehydrated apples once. My family loves them, and I do have to hide them away so they don’t get eaten all at once. One year, I took partially dehydrated apple slices, brushed them with a ground cherry syrup (from a failed ground cherry preserves attempt!) and finished drying them. Those were so good, and so addictive, they should have been illegal! They kept just as well as our regular dried apples – I made sure they were dried until they ‘snapped’.

    1. Farmgirl— wow..great idea…Havent dehydrated for some long while, but opens up a entire new world of possibilities…yummers

      1. Right? It was a nice surprise to have a mistake turn into something supergood!

  34. I’ve been dehydrating fruits and vegetables for several years and have always kept ingredients separate in the dehydrator. I recently decided to try something new. After reading Backpack Gourmet by Linda Frederick Yaffe, I decided to dehydrate some of my 3 bean chile con carne. It was amazing! I was really sceptical at first, but it was so easy. I’m going to be trying spaghetti sauce next.

  35. I’ve been dehydrating for about 30 years, mostly jerky, but have done fruits and veggies. When the kids were little also did homemade fruit roll-ups. Fun for the kids. As far as the jerky goes, I have made both whole muscle jerky (sliced) and ground meat (mostly beef, but have done venison) with seasonings. A couple of years ago on a trip we stopped at an out of the way road side stand. They had okra “chips”. Basically, dehydrated okra. I’ve been making it ever since when its in season and when I can get it at the local produce stands or farms. I use Tony Chacheres creole seasoning or garlic powder and a little salt. You can’t use too much, as 3 lbs of fresh okra becomes about 1-1/2 quart baggies and the flavor gets real intense.
    I have had the same dehydrator for about 30 years. Have had to replace trays and added to them. American harvest, adjustable temp and fan. Trays stacked 12 high.

  36. I’ve got a 5 tray dehydrator; it’s about 8 square feet of space. Today I found some frozen mixed summer veggies seasoned in pepper for 52cents a bag. It’s a mix of summer squash, carrots, green beans, onions, and red pepper. I got a few bags and I’ve got them in the dehydrator now. I separated each vegetable type on its own tray. If all goes well, I’ll try to buy more if they are still there. I’m thinking I’ll make soup with them later.

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