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A little bit about dehydrating.. :-)

Posted By: Joe Ames
Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2000 at 6:48 a.m.

General instructions for home-drying.

Following are specific instructions for a few foods.

Beans, Shell (Great Northern, kidney, lima, pinto, navy etc.)
1 cup canned or cooked = generally about 3/4 cup dried, depending on variety
Dried uncooked shell beans take too long to cook at camp unless they are cooked first, then dried. Canned shell beans also dry well; drain and rinse before spreading on dryer trays. Doneness test: lightweight, hard; some may pop like popcorn. Total drying time: 4 to 7 hours.
1 cup sliced or diced celery = scant 2 tablespoons dried
Slice or dice celery, then steam or cook in microwave with a little water until bright green (this speeds drying and preserves color). Spread on mesh-lined dryer sheet, or mesh-covered cake-cooling rack set over a cookie sheet. Doneness test: shriveled, tough, fairly dark. Total drying time: 4-1/2 to 6 hours.
1 cup diced tomatoes = scant 1/4 cup dried
1 cup halved plum tomatoes = 1/3 cup dried
1 cup sliced tomato = 1/4 cup dried
Wash tomatoes, cut away blossom core. Cut large tomatoes into quarters before slicing or dicing; plum or small tomatoes can simply be halved or quartered. Place diced tomatoes on a solid liner sheet or plastic-lined trays. Doneness test: leathery, shrunken. Total drying time: 8 to 12 hours.
Fruit Leathers, Dried Tomato Sauce
Almost any fruit can be dried into a leather; simply puree in blender or food processor and spread evenly (about 1/4 inch) on dryer sheets* or cookie sheets lined with plastic wrap to dry. Puree should have the consistency of applesauce; if too thin, it takes too long to dry and may be brittle when dried. Citrus fruits are too watery to dry alone, but can be combined with other fruits for a mixed leather. Other mixes are interesting; try canned pineapple with banana and apples, or fresh raspberries and canned apricots. If the puree isn't sweet enough, add honey or sugar; cinnamon and other spices can also be added. Applesauce and tomato sauce can be dried with no additional preparation. Dry purees at 130-140 F until leathery with no sticky spots; peel from the sheets and flip once during drying if the bottom is not drying properly. Total drying time: 4 to 10 hours.
(*Some food dryers come with liner sheets that don't need to be lined with plastic wrap; check the book that came with your dehydrator, or experiment with a small amount. If the leather sticks to the liner sheet, spray the liner sheet with non-stick spray before pouring the puree on the liner sheet, or line with plastic wrap. Peel leather from liner sheets while still warm to avoid sticking.)
1 cup sliced bananas = 1/2 cup dried
Wash banana before peeling to remove pesticide residue on the skin. Bananas with brown-flecked skins are better when dried than bananas that are just barely ripe. Doneness test: leathery-to-hard; fully ripe bananas have a deeper color when dried than just-ripe bananas. Total drying time: 7-1/2 to 9 hours.
Ground Beef (also ground chicken, venison, pork)
1 pound extra-lean ground meat = 1-1/3 cups dried
Fry in large skillet, stirring frequently to break up chunks, until completely cooked and evenly crumbled. Transfer cooked meat to a mesh colander set in the sink; rinse meat quickly with very hot tap water, shaking the colander to expose more of the meat to the hot water. (The rinsing removes fat which can turn rancid while the dried meat is in storage.) Let drain for a few minutes, then spread evenly on dryer trays that are lined with paper towels. Stir occasionally during drying. Doneness test: hard, crumbly, darker in color than before drying. Total drying time: 4 to 8 hours.


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