Saturday, August 17, 2013
Drying fruits and vegetables is another great way to preserve the harvest. It also does not require any special gadgets to accomplish. You can dry with a cookie sheet and an oven. If you live in a dry area, you can dry outside in the sun. In humid areas, this does not so work well. You could build a solar oven and use it outdoors. The trick here is to keep the temperatures low enough that you don't cook the food, but just dry it.
You can look on-line for recipes, times and temperatures for drying your favorite produce. Fruit leathers, dried peppers, and “sun dried” tomatoes are very popular. We have even made jerky in ours.
If you want to go the dehydrator route, there are a few things to think about. We did a great deal of reading on line when we bought our dehydrator. You want a fan to push the air so that all areas of the oven get good air circulation and keep an even temperature. You want a temperature dial that has a range of 100-150 degrees F. You want to have removable, washable racks. We also didn’t want any plastic parts so we went with all stainless. This isn't as important if you are drying food at lower temperatures and do not wash the racks in the dishwasher.
I really like going to Amazon because you can read how real people like the appliance they purchased. We went with a Weston and have been happy with it. Excalibur, STX, and TSM also make stainless models. Other well known brands are LEM, Nesco and L’Equip.