The drying reduces the volume extremely
The trick I learned is to put the dried fruits - after they’re down to room temperature - into plastic sandwich bags and seal them up. Wait a couple of hours and look for condensation on the inside of the bag. That means they need more drying to forestall mold.
Moisture level is indeed key to the process
I have a couple excalibur dehydrators and dry a lot of fruit and vegetables. For me, I haven’t had to freeze it, as it keeps for years at room temp. Only problem I have to fight off are moths that try to destroy my hoard.
So, if I am understanding all of your helpful advice, the only pre-drying treatment is for color stabilization.
Freezing after drying will prevent spoilage but some foods will keep without freezing. Keep experimenting. What additional foods do you really like dehydrated?
Never thought of summer squash! I wish someone was growing the pepper that ‘paprika’ (not spicy, mild) peppers. I would love some freshly ground paprika!
Making powdered pepper in the blender can be a dangerous hobby I found out the hard way! Think pepper spray the dust escapes from the blender so take precautions in advance like dusk mask, goggles, a towel over the blender etc.
The foods with very high moisture, very high fats, sometimes sugar can be a factor. I have some pears that are difficult to dry correctly and they are typically the ones that are dripping and sugary. To get around that slice them very thin and dry longer times. You will see what I mean as you dry but chewy is not as good at keeping as very dry. So dried persimmons I took a fork and raked the seeds out and dried into fruit leather. I had to get a special cover for my trays for fruit leather that was a non stick plastic sheet. Must not have been fantastic because I was still eating it 2 years later. It was filling but I did not freeze it. When in doubt freeze it. Anyway persimmons are chewy as are other fruits and the more chewy they are the worse they keep typically.
Are there not special peppers for making ‘mild paprika’? There should be zero or very little of the stinging pepper in the air. Oh well!
Some peppers are milder than others but remember what I said about the dust. You will see it when it rises from the blender so hit the off button then and exit the room.
I think I’ll just buy it!
Yep. You can grow paprika peppers. I did. Dried them and vacuum sealed them in a mason jar. Grind up some at a time. I haven’t had the problem @clarkinks describes. Just put the dried pieces in a Nutribullet type blender and go. The smell is amazing - I could put my face in it, LOL.
@Anne How something is dried depends first on how you plan to use it. Just drying as described above results in a very chewy (some might say tough) end product - like a raisin or most dried tomatoes. So if you are going to take it from storage and put it in your mouth for a snack and that is OK then you are all set.
If you are going to grind it, then dry and keep dry and grind as needed.
If you are going to add it to a recipe and you do not want the chewy texture, that is where the blanching comes in (or baking). This breaks down the cellular structure. This option is used for potatoes, onions, carrots, zukes, cukes, beets, etc. Many make chips from veggies in a dehydrator. If you want something chewy then don’t blanch. If you want crispy or to add it to a stew/soup, then break it down with heat to the texture you want in a soup and then dehydrate it.
I have a solar oven that I use as a dehydrator. I added small solar fans to move the air in it. If I close the lid I can cook the veggies some before dehydrating them, which I do by raising the lid and adding the fans.
Yes, many of them, every country uses different peppers for paprika, Spain, Poland, Hungary. etc. And the powder is not harsh enough to worry about. I do wear a mask with Carolina Reapers though!
Sometimes (low amounts), it is actually one of the best anti-bacterial ingredients, only honey never goes bad. High sugar rips apart bacteria/fungi from osmotic action.
You can only buy before you ever make some, after, you will go empty your spike racks of the swill they sell as spices at the store.
I think you’ll have fun with your dryer as you use it and see what you like and don’t like. My dry r is a major appliance for me. It’s a 4x8 solar dryer which helps.
No freezer. I only blanch what really needs to be blanchd like sweet corn , snap beans, peas. Cherries are real nice, pull into halves as you pit them. I cube my apples into maybe half in pcs as i do a lot of them… Strawberries are easiezt to mash them, drain the juice off then dry as fruit leather. You can pull or cut into pcs later. I store all in glass jars with gasseted lids to keep air out. Never had a problem but i seldom keep for more than a year. As others have mentioned in the many good posts experiment and experience is the best teacher and fun. It’s a nice way to preserve the harvest and i’ve been doing it for decades.
I’d like to try an anti-mold preservative if I could find one and the instructions for using it
Thanks for all of the great advice. I just wasn’t understanding why some books said to blanch everything while another book said to pretreat with citric acid or ascorbic acid. All of your explanations have cleared that up. I would love to try a solar dehydrator but this area of NE Ohio isn’t known for dry sunny weather. The amount of cloud cover is the reason for siting a huge arsenal here during WW2. Hopefully in future years, I’ll have fruit to preserve along with my veggies. Any other advice?
No more advice, I just wanted to add for me it was making room in the freezer. I’m not going to dry something, if I have to freeze it, i would just freeze it. My idea was for an alternative to freezing. Here is my freezer right now
Not much room in there, and I need to defrost the thing. I could use a bigger better freezer too.
I’m not much worried about mold, I just use regular jars, whatever I happen to have.
In 3 years nothing has molded yet, works for me. Even if it did and you ate it, it’s not going to kill you, so I have little concern.
My freezer is a little bigger but looks much the same. Including the frost.. I have to say that my dehydrated grape tomatoes look like red raisins. Thanks, I’ll dig out my jars.
I never thought of doing that. i always have too many, I may try it!
I also have these silica gel pellets I put one in each jar. A friend was quitting smoking and these were in with nicotine lozenges.
I wonder if you can buy them retail
Yes, and you can buy oxygen absorbers too. I know Amazon has both. I’ve been looking for them locally but haven’t found them in stores. Make sure they are food grade.