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Food Dehydrator

Looks like tonight we'll finally drop down into the 40ies and that means the first frost can't be too far away. So I made a mad dash out to my garden tonight and picked the last of my peppers. And you know what? There was a ton of them. I guess having 80 degree weather in September will do that.

This late season bounty was enough to get me to break out the Food Dehydrator. I'm the king of seldom used kitchen appliances and I have a whole closet full of them. Ice Cream Maker, Fondue Pot, Kitchen Aid Mixer, Panini Press, Hand Mixers, Vacuum Sealer, Vegetable Juicer and some more that don't even remember buying. You name it and I probably have it. And I probably don't use it as much as I thought I would when I bought it. Funny how that works.

The Dehydrator was a gift from my parents that I specifically asked for. I had visions of home made beef jerky, fruit leather and sun dried tomatoes. I would be ready in case I ever had to stock up a bomb shelter so that my entire neighborhood could live underground during a nuclear war. I watched Jericho last season, I knew the deal.

The reality was that there was no nuclear war in New Jersey and I haven't used my Dehydrator in the two years that I've owned it.

But that's not true anymore! I'm talking about the Dehydrator part, not the war. With all these extra peppers sitting around, I decided that it was time. I sliced up some poblanos and some jalapenos and I was ready to dehydrate. Well actually, I was ready to sit down and read the manual because I'd never used the thing but shortly after that I was ready to dehydrate.

To finally start drying some peppers was a big accomplishment for me. I was so happy I could cry. Well, I was actually crying because after about an hour my kitchen was filled with pepper fumes, but it was still a happy moment.

I had to move the Dehydrator outside to my BBQ area. But in 30 hours, I'll have dried peppers. And I may even break out the vacuum sealer so that I can store these peppers in my bomb shelter. Hey, you never know.


  1. Entangled said...
    I'd be interested in seeing how the peppers turn out. I was considering buying a dehydrator, but put it off for another year. I'm trying to dry some chile peppers in the oven right now with just the oven light turned on - not the heating element.

    Want to buy a waffle iron? ;-) There's one here somewhere.
    Jenna said...
    Very nifty. Might I make one sugestion? When you begin to crave more dried foods (it happens to us all sadly) and run out of room in the dehydraytor... give the Alton Brown method of drying a whirl. (Box fan, furnace filters, bungee cords, and a spot where the pets wont play with it) gives just as good results as my regular dehydraytor at pennies to run. ( the actual machine is essentially a hair dryer unit running for 30 hours... it can get pricey for the electric bill if you have a LOT to dry.) I think you are going to enjoy dried foods, they are an addictive snack source in my kitchen. Extra bonus? Essential oils don't get airbrn as much so no watery eyes!

    By the by.... while I LOVE my vacuum sealer, I wouldn't suggest putting dried food in one of the bags. If they have ANY moisture left at all it will circulate and moisten the entire batch (thus ruining all your hard work.) Just find an old mason jar - or any clean glass jar with a lid, and toss the peppers in. Screw on the lid, place in a cupboard, and give it a shake once a week or so to make sure lots of dry air is circulating.

    Have fun!
    steven said...
    I'm doing my peppers the lazy way. I threaded them together through the stems and hung them up in the basement near the furnace. I do habe a dehydrator somewhere, with the ice cream maker, the waffle iron etc.
    Anthony said...
    Entangled, I really liked the way everything turned out with my dehydrator. The peppers snap if you bend them so that's seems pretty dry. Although you may want to read Jenna's comment below for an alternative.

    Jenna, great tips thanks. I did see that Good Eats when he made the beef jerky with the box fan. Do the filters get all funky when you do that or can you reuse them? (I mean for dehydrating, not in the attic)

    And I guess I'll save the vacuum sealer for freezing things. Thanks for the advice.

    Steve, perhaps we should go to some AA meetings together. Appliances Anonymous. :)
    Jenna said...
    For jerky? Yup the filters get funky. For fruits and veggies? Not really. I did a 4 batches of apples on my first set of filters and while I did throw them away after... that had more to do with the cats chewing on them. Alton DOES suugest you go online and order dehydrator liners to keep everything tidy, but we wandered around in a Michael's craft store and picked up 8 of the huge plastic canvas sheets for 75 cents a pop. Just lay the stacks fan/filter/canvas/fruit/canvas/ filter repeat 3x. Rinse off each time and your set and don't have to keep buying filters.

    -Edit- Hon just yelled up the stairs he tried the same thing with the jerky and if you drain it well on paper towels before putting it on the canvas, it can be reused as well.
    lisa said...
    Very fun post! I've always wanted a food dehydrator myself, but my Jack Lalane juicer said my kitchen's not big enough for both of them!
    Ki said...
    We bought a dehydrator a couple of years ago and have not regretted buying it. I was surprised it actually worked considering how cheap it was. We mostly use it to dry hot peppers. Haven't tried using it on anything else yet. The only problem is that it if you use too hot a temperature the food seems to get cooked as well as dehydrated so we use it on almost the lowest setting possible.

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