Quick guide to dehydrating vegetables
Dehydrating vegetables is a time-tested way to preserve them for future use. Not only that – dehydrated veggies make excellent healthy snacks that both kids and adults can enjoy. Adding dehydrated vegetable powder to your meals enhances the taste naturally without adding brain-damaging MSG. I will show you how to dehydrate vegetables and why.
Dehydration is a method of healthy cooking that retains nearly all the nutritional content of vegetables. It deters the growth of bacteria, and preserves enzymes in vegetables, making them a “living food”.
Living Foods are uncooked, free from animal products, organic, easy to digest, rich in enzymes, and highly nutritious. They include home-grown sprouted grains and beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts, fermented preparations, dehydrated snacks and delicious deserts such as fruit and nut pies and fruit ice cream.
Ann Wigmore Foundation
If your garden is overflowing, or the farmer’s market has a great sale – gather up the produce at its peak and get ready to dry the vegetables. Dehydrated, they will take up very little space, preserve their nutrition, and last a lot longer.
How to dehydrate vegetables
There are three ways to dehydrate vegetables: you can sundry them, oven-dry them, or use a commercial dehydrator.
Have you heard of dehydrators?
Have you even considered getting one?
This site is about cooking healthy fast, so I can hardly imagine myself sitting in front of the oven waiting for vegetables to dry. The only quick-n’-easy way to dehydrate my vegetables is using a dehydrator.
Using a commercial dehydrator yields the best results. They’re not terribly expensive, and earn back the money spent in short order by eliminating waste. Now you can preserve excess vegetables instead of having them go bad. Better still, you know that inside your vegetables are just… vegetables, no chemicals or coloring added.
Steps for dehydrating vegetables
- Wash, cut, trim, slice or chop the vegetables into smaller pieces. Make sure to get rid of any brown spots or bruises.
- If using your oven to dry the vegetables, remember to keep the temperature around 130 degrees by propping open the door. Put the vegetables on steel screening so that the air can circulate around them evenly. Don’t mix too many vegetables together to dry, and try and have uniform sizes so that everything dehydrates at the same rate.
- If using a commercial dehydrator, the vegetables will need between four and 12 hours depending on the water content (tomatoes, for example, take a while). The vegetables become brittle when they’re completely dehydrated. Size wise, a two pound bag of carrots shrinks to about 3 and one half pints – making tidy storage.
- Take your vegetables out of the dehydrator and place them into air-tight containers or zip-lock bags for longer storage.
Remember to store everything you dehydrate in an air-tight container to get the longest shelf life. Veggies intended for immediate use can be stored at the room temperature. To preserve the quality and taste for a longer period of time, store your zip-lock bags in the refrigerator. They won’t take up much space.
When you’re ready to use the vegetables remember that they’ll expand in liquid. You’ll want twice the amount of liquid (water or broth) as vegetables to reconstitute.
Advantages of dehydrating food
Raw food enthusiasts made the best use of dehydrating food. You can benefit from using this way of healthy cooking, too. Once you start dehydrating vegetables, you’ll probably want to dry other foods as well. People are dehydrating meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit and herbs. In fact, there’s an endless list of delicious healthy food snacks that can be prepared using a dehydrator.
Whether you need light and nutritious snacks for your outdoor activities, want to save some money by preserving your harvest or just want to cook healthy - give a dehydrator a try. Explore dehydrating and consider buying a dehydrator.