Dehydrating fruits and vegetables is a great way to preserve them for later use. Once dehydrated, these foods become shelf-stable and can be stored for long periods without worrying about them going bad. Dehydrating your fruits and vegetables is also a great money saver. Since they’re cheap to buy and the yield from each one is high, you’ll spend much less money when you make your own instead of buying prepackaged versions.
Dehydrated fruit and vegetables are also a great addition to many meals that don’t normally include them as an ingredient, such as soups or casseroles. Preparing your own also gives you control over what ingredients are added so you can avoid things like sugar or sodium if you want to keep their carbohydrate count low or cut back on added fats. Read on to learn more about how to dehydrate fruit and vegetables at home!
Tips for Dehydrating Fruits and Vegetables at Home
- Be sure to wash and cut your produce before you start. The less you have to handle each item, the less chance there is for bacteria to get on them.
- You can also soak your produce in water and white vinegar to help kill any bacteria that may be on the surface.
- Don’t forget to remove the skin from any produce like apples or oranges before you begin. The peel can get tough and chewy when dried.
- You can put certain fruits in the oven or use a dehydrator to speed up the process.
- Make sure to rotate your jars once or twice during the drying process to ensure that everything dries evenly.
While bananas are normally eaten fresh, they make a great choice for dehydrating. They have a strong, sweet flavor that’s delicious in many recipes, including bread and muffins. You can dry bananas whole or sliced, depending on how you plan to use them. Whole bananas will have a chewy texture that’s great for snacks, while sliced bananas will be more like a dried fruit that’s tasty when added to oatmeal or yogurt.
Bananas are easy to dehydrate and don’t require any special preparation. Simply slice them lengthwise, spread them out on a baking tray, and put them in the oven at 125 degrees Fahrenheit, or 52 degrees Celsius, until they’re dry and chewy. Dried bananas will keep for up to a year if stored in an airtight container.
Dehydrating pineapple makes for a sweet and tangy snack that’s tasty on its own or when added to granola or trail mix. You can add a bit of spice to this sweet treat by using habanero pepper in place of the jalapeno.
Cut fresh pineapple into slices or chunks and place in a dehydrator at 115 degrees Fahrenheit, or 46 degrees Celsius, until it’s dry. You can also use an oven at the same temperature if you don’t own a dehydrator. Pineapple can also be canned in sugar syrup to make it shelf-stable, like canned fruit.
Dehydrating berries makes them easier to transport and can add a bit of sweetness to yogurt or oat bran. It’s best to use smaller berries like blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries for this process as large ones can take a bit longer. You can also freeze berries to make them shelf-stable and easy to transport, though they’ll need to be thawed before you eat them.
Cut the tops off of each berry, then place them in a single layer on a baking sheet or in a dehydrator tray. Dry them at around 115 degrees Fahrenheit, or 46 degrees Celsius, until they’re crumbly. Berries can also be made into a syrup for baking or cooking by boiling them in water with sugar. Once reduced by half, the syrup will be thick and sticky, perfect for adding to baked goods or to sweeten yogurt.
The strong, tangy flavor of dried citrus makes a great snack and can be used in many different recipes. You can use a mixture of oranges, lemons, and limes, or just one type if you prefer the flavor of one over the others.
Slice the citrus into thin pieces, peel and cut into slivers, and place them on a baking sheet. Dry them at around 110 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, or 43 to 60 degrees Celsius, until they’re brittle and easily break when you bend them. You can also mix the citrus with other dried fruits for a tasty trail mix.
A colorful, healthy vegetable that’s full of vitamins and minerals, bell peppers make a great choice for dehydrating. They can be stored dry and used as needed in many different meals. You can use red, yellow, or orange peppers for this, or mix and match for a colorful mix.
Cut peppers into thin slices or strips, then place them on a baking sheet. Use the lowest setting on your oven, or try placing them in an electric dehydrator if you’re looking for a faster drying time. You can also use a food dehydrator for greater control over the temperature.
While not as tasty as some of the other vegetables on this list, leafy greens are an important source of vitamins and minerals. This makes them a great addition to many meals, as well as a convenient snack when dried.
Try mixing various greens for a colorful mix. Cut greens like kale, Swiss chard, and spinach into small pieces and spread them out on a baking sheet or dehydrator tray. Dry them at around 110 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, or 43 to 48 degrees Celsius, until they’re brittle. You can also use a food dehydrator, which allows you to set the temperature higher and dry them more quickly.
Sugar Snap Peas
Dried peas are a great snack option that’s easy to make. You can mix different types of peas, or just use green peas if you prefer a milder flavor. Blanche the peas in hot water until they turn bright green, then place them in an electric dehydrator at around 110 degrees Fahrenheit, or 43 degrees Celsius, until they’re dry. You can also try baking them at around 130 degrees Fahrenheit, or 55 degrees Celsius, until they’re crispy.
While dehydrating is normally used for fruits and veggies, tomatoes are a fruit. They make a great addition to many meals and snacks and can be stored in a jar for long-term use. Cut tomatoes into slices or chunks, then dry them in an electric dehydrator at around 110 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, or 43 to 48 degrees Celsius, until they’re brittle. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can place them in a low oven at around 170 degrees Fahrenheit, or 77 degrees Celsius, until they’re dry. You can also sun-dry tomatoes by placing them on a tray outside during the hottest part of the day when the weather is clear.
How To store Dehydrating Fruits and Vegetables
Once your fruits and vegetables are fully dried, store them in an airtight container away from light and heat. You can place the container on a shelf or in a cabinet, but avoid putting it in cabinets over the stove. These foods are still foods and do need to be kept away from the heat to stay fresh. Depending on how long you let the product dry, it can last from 6 months to 2 years, though most will last around a year. As with any food, make sure to check on it periodically and toss anything that looks wilted or discolored. This will help keep your food fresh and safe to eat for as long as possible.