With the renewed interest in health foods and cultivating home veggie gardens, food drying using a dehydrator at home is becoming more and more popular, not only because of the high cost of commercially dried fruits, but also due to the fact that removing the moisture in food helps to preserve the enzymes and amino-acids that our bodies need to make protein. Cooking can destroy the natural vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, robbing our foods of their ‘superpowers’ where as food drying is done at such a low temperature all the wonderful substances that were designed to heal, nourish and protect us are left intact. Good drying is easier than canning or freezing: you simply wash, slice and load food onto the Excalibur dehydrator trays. Within hours your foods are dried and ready to eat or store. Although food drying is not difficult, it does take time and attention if you want a good-quality product. It’s best if vegetables and fruits are prepared for food drying as soon as possible after harvesting. Fruits are easier to dry than vegetables because the moisture evaporates more easily, and not as much moisture needs to be removed for the product to keep. Ripe apples, bananas, berries, cherries, peaches, apricots, and pears make great fruits to use for food drying. Vegetables that are also practical for food dryin include tomatoes, kale, peas, corn, peppers, zucchini, okra, onions, and green beans. Buy produce that’s in season from your local organic markets when there is an abundance of it. Drying food makes it easier to store them when the moisture is removed, it makes them less bulky and you can store most things in the freezer once they are dried. Fresh herbs of all types are also suitable for food drying. The parts of the plant to dry vary, but leaves, seeds, or blossoms usually give the best results. Lean meats such as beef, lamb, and kangaroo can also be dried for jerky. Fish is also excellent when dried but certain foods are not suitable for food drying because of their high moisture content. Lettuce, melons, and cucumbers are a few foods that are not suitable for food drying. With the use of silicone food drying sheets you are able to create delicious flax seed crackers and many more healthy treats that satisfy the need for crunch in your diet. Because the recommended settings for each major food type can vary quite a lot, one of the most important features of an Excalibur dehydrator is an adjustable thermostat that can be used to set and maintain an even temperature. A typical range of an adjustable thermostat is 95 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit. The Excalibur dehydrator is a shelf dehydrator where the trays of the dehydrator have shelves that slide in and out of a box. The Excalibur dehydrator have the best airflow system where the fan and heating elements are mounted in the rear of the unit, and blow air horizontally across the shelves toward the front. This design promotes even food drying, so that the trays do not need to be rotated.
As an example, the temperatures below are printed on Excalibur dehydrators to help make your food drying easy.
Adjustable timer and thermostat that can be used to set and maintain an even temperature when food drying.
With 9 large trays (each measuring approximately 15″ x 15″) the Excalibur Dehydrator has about 15 sq ft of food drying capacity.
How to make Kale Chips by food drying
Kale is high in beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin K, and rich in calcium, definitely qualifies as a ‘superfood’. Here is a kale chip recipe with a nutty crunch with great flavour and the added nutritional benefit of cashews, red pepper, and nutritional yeast. Ingredients:
- 1 large bunch of kale – half purple & green
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 cup of cashews
- 1 red pepper
- 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- Salt & pepper to taste
Directions: Soak cashews in water for 2 or more hours Drain water while reserving 1/4 cup Blend ingredients in a food processor until smooth Wash kale and spin dry. Then place in a large mixing bowl Spoon garlic-cashew mixture over kale toss with a rubber spatula until evenly coated Place on food drying trays. Lightly salt and pepper kale leaves to taste Dehydrate at 115° for 2-4 hours until dry Recipe courtesy of deydrator review