Dehydrating

Dehydrating is a fantastic space saver:  10 kg of fresh fruit will reduce to 1.5-2 kgs of dried.
Hints and tips:
  • Humid conditions will require a higher drying temperature
  • Blend berries with other fruits to avoid them becoming brittle
  • Do not over dry – food will loose it’s nutritional value
Pre-Treatments

Some vegetables will benefit from blanching.  This stops the ripening process.

Some fruits may be pretreated by dipping for 5 minutes in citrus or pineapple juice for 5 minutes.  this will prevent browning and the loss of vitamin A and C.

Storage

Allow dried produce to cool completely before storing to avoid condensation.  Ideally dried produce should be stored in vacuum packed bags or glass jars.  Store in a cool dark dry location.

Below are guides for electric dehydrators – but don’t forget in summer it is easy to make a Solar Dehydrator!

Drying times – A rough guide
  • Leathers:  10 to 12 hours – Medium heat
  • Herbs and Spices:  4 to 8 hours – Low heat
  • Vegetables: 6 to 10 hours – Medium Heat
  • Flowers: 6 to 12 hours – Medium heat
  • Meat:  6 to 8 hours – High heat
Fruit  Preparation Drying Time * Dryness Test  Suggested Use
Apples Sliced and cored  10 hours Pliable  Snacks, fritters
Apricots Halve fruit, remove stone 14 hours Pliable Snacks, muesli. desserts
Bananas  Slice 5mm thick 14 hours Leathery Snacks, muesli, banana cake
Blueberries Remove stems 14 hours Leathery Ice cream, muesli. muffins
Cherries  Remove stems and pit 16 hours Leathery Pies, cakes, snacks
Citrus  Slice 3mm thick  16 hours  Crisp Snacks, cakes, chocolates
Feijoas Cut fruit in half, scoop out.  Cut 5mm thick 12 hours Leathery Snacks, desserts, chocolates
Figs Quarter  14 hours Leathery Stewed puddings, snacks
Grapes Whole or Halved  20 hours Pliable Muesli, snacks
Kiwifruit Peel and slice 5mm thick  10 hours Pliable Snacks, chutney
Melons Peel and Slice 5mm thick 12 hours Leathery Snacks
Pears Slice 5mm thick 10 hours Leathery Snacks, dessert
Persimmons Peeling is optional, slice 5mm thick 12 hours Leathery Snacks
Plums Slice in half, remove stone, pop backs 12 hours Leathery Muesli, snacks, chutney
Rhubarb Slice 5mm thick 10 hours Leathery Pies, stewed
Stonefruit Halve, remove stone, slice 5mm thick 10 hours Leathery Snacks, chutney, pies
Strawberries Slice 5mm thick 8 hours Crisp Muesli, add to ice cream or yogurt

* Drying times will vary depending on thickness of fruit, dehydrator type, relative humidity.

Vegetable Preparation Drying Time * Dryness Test Suggested Use
Asparagus Cut on an angle in 20mm chunks.  Blanch 5 mins 7 hours Leathery Powder for soups
Beans Cut on long angle.  Blanch 3 mins. 5 hours Brittle Reconstitute in boiling water for 5 minutes then cook
Broad Beans Shell. Boil 5 mins till outer shell is crazed.  Drop into cold water. 9 hours Leathery Stews
Beetroot Cook till tender.  Cut into 5mm slices. 9 hours Leathery Reconstitute in vinegar for salads
Broccoli, Cauliflower Cut florets lengthwise 5mm thick.  Blanch 3 mins. 7 hours Crisp Soups, stews etc
Carrots Peel.  Slice 5mm thick.  Blanch 5 mins. 9 hours Leathery Casseroles, soups, cake
Celery Cut 5mm thick. 7 hours Crisp Powder for soups.  Celery salt
Corn Steam until milk sets.  Remove kernels 8 hours Brittle Fritters, soups, stews
Cucumber Slice 5mm thick 7 hours Leathery Salads, Chips for dip
Eggplant Cut 5mm thick.  Blanch 5 minutes 9 hours Leathery Casseroles
Silverbeet, Spinach, Cabbage, kale Blanch till slightly wilted.  Lay flat. 6 hours Brittle Power for soups.  Cabbage can be re-hydrated in vinegar.
Mushrooms Dry whole or in slices 8 hours Crisp Powder for soup,stews, omelettes etc
Onions** Remove skins, slice 5mm thick. 8 hours Crisp Powder for soups, sauces, stews, etc
Parsnips Slice 5mm thick.  Blanch 5 mins. 9 hours Leathery Casseroles and stews
Peas Shell.  Blanch. 6 hours Brittle Stews and soups
Peppers Slice 5mm thick.  Remove seeds. 9 hours Leathery Casseroles and soups
Potatoes, Yams, Kumara Peel.  Slive 5mm thick, dice or grate.  Boil 5 mins in salted water. Rinse in cold water 9 hours Leathery Soups, stews, casseroles etc
Tomato Slice 5mm thick 11 hours Leathery Soups, pizzas
Zucchini Slice 5mm thick.  Blanch 2 min 8 hours Leathery Soups and casseroles

** (I seriously recommend this is done separate to other vegetables and in a garage or similar as the smell can be VERY strong)