Long-term storage of your favorite fruits, vegetables, and meat has definitely become easier because of the dehydrator. But what if you don’t have access to it?
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Let your oven save your day!
What is a dehydrator used for?
A dehydrator is an appliance that reduces the moisture of the food to make it last longer. It is especially helpful for avoiding food wastage by storing leftover ingredients.
This machine is also used for drying herbs to extend shelf life. In fact, dehydrating them can intensify the flavors. Moreover, it can be used for making healthy homemade chips such as Dried Apple Slices, and raisins, preserving scotch bonnets such as Chili Flakes, or making homemade Paprika.
How exactly does it work? Well, it allows airflow at a low temperature that eventually dries the food. The duration varies depending on the moisture of the food.
Benefits of Dehydrating Food
Whether you’re using a dehydrator, an oven, or even the sun, dehydrated food has its benefits.
First, it transforms natural food into long-lasting and preservative-free snacks. You can even preserve your preferred seasonal fruits and vegetables, so you never have to run out.
In addition, using a dehydrator aids in retaining the rich fiber content of food. It’ll be easy for you to get part of your nutritional value from dried treats.
Dehydrating is also an effective way of sustaining a vegan lifestyle. For instance, dried nuts and fruits are great additions for meal preps, salads, granola bars, and more.
It is also absolutely beneficial for reducing food waste. Dehydrating is also an excellent way of saving money, storing food, and maximizing space.
In conclusion, food dehydration has numerous advantages that you can gain. Start reaping them by learning how to dehydrate them with an oven!
- The first thing to do is to preheat the oven to 85ºC for about 10 minutes.
- Then, prepare the ingredients with a knife or V-Blade Slicer.
- Line the oven tray with grill mesh or parchment paper and place it on a cooling rack.
- Arrange the ingredients on the rack in a single layer.
- Place it in the oven and let the oven do the rest.
- You can flip the slices to ensure that both sides are drying out.
Remember to be patient when using the oven, especially if the ingredient contains lots of water. The average duration can last between 6 to 10 hours.
And that is how you can convert an oven into a nifty dehydrator! Try it out with your favorite fruits and vegetables, and let me know how it turns out!
Best Foods for Using a Dehydrator
You can dehydrate food from fruits and vegetables to meats and herbs.
Transform meat like beef, chicken, and turkey into jerky treats. Incorporate these into stews, salads, or dishes for variety and flavor.
For vegetables, the best ingredients include carrots and onions for preserved nutritional value and sumptuous texture.
Start your oven-drying journey with fruits like grapes, bananas, apples, and even cherries. Put them in a jar, and you have yourself a nutritious snack.
Interestingly, grains such as quinoa and barley can also be dehydrated to make flour for your baking needs.
Don’t stop there! Herbs such as oregano, mint, and basil can be dehydrated to cook the most perfectly seasoned dishes.
Dehydrator vs. Oven
When deciding whether to use an oven or a dehydrator, here are some pros and cons that you may consider when making this decision.
Let’s start with the dehydrator! Its size allows you to dry more food all at the same time. This also has a built-in thermostat and timer that can come in handy for monitoring dehydration.
Its parts are also specifically made to circulate heat and air for even dehydration effectively. However, it can also be expensive to buy. A dehydrator also consumes considerable electricity and space in the kitchen.
Meanwhile, an oven is more readily available than a dehydrator. It also dries the food quicker compared to a dehydrator. Oven drying also doesn’t alter the appearance of the ingredients too much.
Although, using an oven can be tricky when it comes to setting the time and temperature. It is also limited in terms of space. Drying in this machine also needs monitoring to prevent burning.
In conclusion, whichever you choose depends on your most important factors!
For instance, if your concern is space, it’s best to use a multi-purpose oven. The dehydrator might be better if you want to dehydrate food in bulk.
Below is a table to summarize and illustrate their dissimilarities.
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Important Tips to Remember for Oven Drying
All good things take time, and dried food is certainly not an exception. After all, the best results are always worth waiting for, right?
If your oven doesn’t have a fan feature, then you can leave the door ajar to circulate more air. This technique also helps you achieve a crunchy and crispy texture.
Line the tray
Place wax or parchment paper on the tray to catch any ingredient residue and prevent them from sticking together.
Pay attention to the temperature
Dehydrate the food slowly at a low temperature to avoid burning it.
Prepare the ingredients well
Slice the food thinly, if needed. Evenly distribute it in a single layer with a bit of space in between to cook them all the way through.
To summarize, a dehydrator may be useful for preserving food, but it’s not the only appliance that can dry your favorite food. When it comes to food, there are always alternatives available.
And when you don’t have a dehydrator, use an oven! What matters most are the results – the healthy, tasty, nutritious, and lasting quality of homemade dried goods.