Skip to comments.Any FReepers use a food dehydrator??
Posted on 06/08/2013 2:36:26 PM PDT by djf
I wuz at a yard sale and bought a couple do-it-yourself type handbooks.
Gal had a Ronco food dehydrator but I didn't get it then... after driving around a bit I went back and got it.
Hitting it with bleach and all the cleaning stuff now.
So! Any FReepers use a dehydrator? Experiences? Good things to dehydrate or not-so-good?
Manual says you can use it to make jerky. Anybody tried that?
All ideas welcome!
None that I know of!
Post your query on the weekly garden thread. I remember justadumbblonde talking about it and maybe greeneyes.
I’ve got a small cheap one and have actually dried a fair number of tomato slices. I haven’t tried meat but I’ve been thinking about drying some turkey for doggie treats first.
I’ve got a plastic 55 gallon drum I’ve been thinking about making into a dehydrator.
I have a dehydrator & mostly use it for apples. Sliced dried apples make a nice snack. I’ve also made jerky & have a pretty good marinade:
Its recommended that you use either 1pound of very lean round or flank steak to make jerky. We use any meat we have, but most often we use shoulder roasts and round roasts. When the meat is semi-frozen it is easily sliced to about 3/8 inch thick (the thinner the slices the faster the drying). Meat cut with the grain will be chewy while the cuts against the grain will be tender and break more easily when dried. Marinate the meat in a sauce of:
4 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon onion salt
1 tablespoon ketchup
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon pepper (more if you like)
1 tablespoon of liquid smoke
Marinate the meat for at least 4 hours, then drain in a colander. Place the meat on trays to dry. For fastest drying time, do not overlap the meat on the trays and turn the meat over at least once during the drying period if it doesn’t look as though it’s drying evenly.
Dry at 145º F. for 8 to 10 hours. It is ready when it bends like a green willow without breaking. Store in a jar with a tight fitting lid, or ziplock freezer bags. Long-term storage should be in a refrigerator or freezer.
The Scoutmaster of my son’s troop used one for beef and veggies. I never tasted it but he would use it to make beef stew with the added water on hiking trips.
If you dry peppers, or onions, those dehydrators become tear gas generators if used inside. Best to dry anything hot and spicy outside.
I preferred only putting salt and pepper on the strips of meat before drying it. Some people use different flavorings like teriyaki, liquid smoke, etc but I don't care for that.
I have a dehydrator and use it all summer long. Anything from the garden that is not eaten gets sliced up and dehydrated. I then put them in zip lock baggies and freeze them. They last forever and are great for whatever you need, soups, etc. If you want to just eat the veggie just add water and rehydrate them.
I use one. I have an apple orchard. I dehydrated hundreds of pounds of apple slices. They are wonderful! Use an acid in the water that you slice the apples into. Lemon juice or Fruit Fresh
I dehydrated potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, celery. Those need to be blanched after slicing, so they don’t brown. I also dehydrated bags of frozen veggies. This way, they don’t require refrigeration, they last forever and they weigh little and don’t take up much space.
I make deer jerky in the fall using a dehydrator. I typically freeze some of the jerky to be safe ... for like 6 months. Short-term, just keep things dry and covered.
I’m cherry-smoking the chopped up remains of some salt-brined bottom round beef for a couple of hours, then will use my dehydrator for 24 hours. Makes great jerky.
Have only done jerky in mine and have not been disappointed.
My wife uses it mostly to make her own granola. We’ve done jerky, fruit, etc. I made powdered eggs once for a scout trip.
They are useful, do some pineapple and bananas, apricots, herbs, tomatoes, dehydrated refried beans are very cool.
Dehydrating is fun. If I have too much of something, I dehydrate it or it ends up as worm food.
Try dehydrating watermelon or cantaloupe. Cut each into one inch squares. When dry they are fantastic, so sweet!
You can make your own raisins. Poke grapes with a large needle and dry ‘em.
They dry everything out. I hate dehydrators.
Best jerky is done in a smoker, then can be finished in a dehydrator if you like.
Most important thing about your jerky is the cut followed by the seasoning/smoking. I use brisket cut *along* the grain, which is the opposite of roasting brisket for maximum tenderness by slicing it against the grain. I call it done dehydrating once it's the moistness of Jack Link's commercially-made jerky. Then I vacuum seal it. Dry, crisp jerky is just wrong in my opinion, and I used to think the opposite.
A simple brining/seasoning to leave the brisket slices for 24 hours before smoking/dehydrating is one cup each of soy, Worcestershire, and some A-1 sauce thrown in with onion powder and a little garlic. Mix until it's thin with some fresh water and let it soak in the fridge overnight at least. I like adding Zatarain's blackening seasoning before smoking. This recipe is if you don't have any special homespun recipe and just need quick seasoning. Smoking with hickory does a world's better job.
My next door neighbor makes Elk and pronghorn antelope brisket jerky that's just beyond compare. He once made antelope jerky from a local tribe's recipe that was just amazing.
I’ve got several, use them all summer and fall to dehydrate vegetables from the garden and fruit. I’ve made jerky several times from antelope meat.
I make trail mixes and soup mixes along with just filling jars and seal a meals with vegetables for winter.
We have one by Nesco. We love it. Just finished drying a bunch of oregano leaves, which we then grind up and use on pizza/sauce etc. I dried some Stevia (sweetleaf) and the kids were actually snacking on the leaves all winter. I kid you not...they would go into the pantry themselves and just munch on leaves.
Fruit leather turns out well—like a fruit rollup only all natural. Some fruit like berries end up kinda watery and thin, so with anything like that, just mix in some apples to thicken it up. We never tried jerky but I’d like to.
By far the biggest success was dried apple rings. We get apples from an orchard, run them through our peeler/corer and then slice downward through the stack to make rings. Dip the rings in lemon or orange juice (the acidity will keep them from browning) and then spread them out on the dehydrator. No sugar or anything. They come out fantastic. We couldn’t make them fast enough.
I know for a fact potatoes don’t work. Don’t ask. :)
The stuff in my fridge gets pretty dehydrated after a few months in there. I’ve never tried to rehydrate it though, since it usually looks pretty nasty at that point.
Granola, really? How does she do that? I’ve only made it in the toaster oven.
Doesn’t one of you dehydrate?
Someone gave me 50 lbs of onions last winter. I tried dehydrating them in the mud room but it as too cold. I ended up dehydrating in the attic. It drove the mice crazy. They moved downstairs becoming easy prey to a feline.
no my mil does its called everdays dinner
What type dehydrator did you get?
Jerky is always great in the dehydrator as are fresh mushrooms.
Oregano - good idea. I have it in my garden and every year hang some upside down in a plastic bag and let it dry.
Comes out super, just not very efficient and I lose alot.
Also, try drying apples with it...they're fantastic. Just slice them the very same width and put your slices (pealed) in a zip-lock bag. Add some lemon juice and shake to coat them, then put them in, making sure not to overlap them, and have at it.
I dry my Habaneros for my friends. Pack them in baby food jars with “Radioactive” stickers on them. Cut them in half, and scrape out the seeds.
As for zip bags, the ones from the store are cr@p. Reuse the zip bags that frozen fish come in. Everything about them is stronger and thicker. Food lasts much longer.
I’ve used mine for everything and love it. The only bad experience I had was drying wild chives....I cut them up first and then once they dehydrated the blower blew little chives everywhere. What a mess. :)
Almost anything extra from the garden/fridge that doesn't get eaten or canned gets dehydrated.
I dehydrate potatoes. You have to blanch them first.
Fruits and veggies — some will do better than others. Drying times will vary also. Apples turn out pretty good, also banana slices, most anything really. It’s been a while since we’ve used ours, but we liked what we did.
I have dehydrated potatoes as a puree on the jerky tray. Boil potatoes, puree, add water then pour on the tray in a thin layer. Thinner is better because it dries faster and the end result easier to work with. When dry, I break it up, place through grinder and then store it in a canning jar.
Thought you might want to chime in on this and/or ping the prepper list?
We have two. We use them for produce when we can’t eat it fast enough. We dried spinach this year for the first time because we grew a lot of it. Works great in omelets.
I’ve had the same Nesco American Harvest food dehydrator for 10 years. I make jerky, dehydrate veggies and fruit, and make fruit leather almost weekly. It was incredibly cheap but just continues to work like a champ. I highly recommend the brand.
We dehydrate fruits, veggies and venison. The marinate recipe listed is a good one. Just one caveat: When drying meat, put the dehydrator in the garage overnight. The meaty smell in the kitchen can get overwhelming.
Aha! So potatoes are possible! Thank you both, that makes sense.
I’ve had the same Ronco for 40 years. Don’t try fruit roll ups on it because they’ll turn to mold before they dry out but it makes great jerky.
Have the top and bottom vents open to halfway each. Set the machine on a baking pan to catch the drippings. Get an arm roast with little to not fat on it. Slice it thin with an electric knife (quarter to less than a quarter an inch). Dunk the pieces into a bowl of soy sauce and sugar (sugar to taste). They don’t need to be in the sauce but for a minute. Lift out of the sauce and let drip a second and place onto the tray. Sprinkle pepper on top of each. It will take over night and into the next day but rotate the trays every few hours (before you go to bed and again in the morning and a third time - top to bottom). Some may take longer than other pieces but take the ones that are done off and reduce the number of trays as they get done. They’re done when they turn leathery. Place the done pieces on a tray to air out a bit and cool down before storing them in a baggie. Don’t think you’re going to store them for the end of times because you’ll have them eaten long before that but realistically, they’ll last 6 months as is in the baggies.
Tomatoes work well on it. Just slice and let it go until they’re done. What’s weird is you house will smell like you’re baking bread. Don’t know why.
Apples and pears do great on it.
The manual will have a recipe for yogurt but I;ve never tried it as I do the heating pad and quart jar method instead.
It’s a Ronco.
Has five trays and the top lid along with the top vent. It’s missing the bottom vent, but I don’t think that’s a biggie.
I washed and bleached it good - now it is dehydrating it’s first item:
I got a couple loaves of really good rye bread, I might try some of that first.
You can, however, use those bad potato brickbats to whack squirrels, if you have a slingshot.
There ya go!
I just let my hot peppers dry naturally on a cookie sheet on the kitchen counter. It takes a couple weeks but beats getting run outta the house from them getting heated in the dehydrator.
I do herbs in the microwave. Place them on a paper towel and zap them for a few minutes. Fast and easy. Crumble them and store them in a jar.
One day, a repairman was here and kept looking at it with a stange look on his face. I’m sure he thought I was doing something illegal!
No, you don’t have to worry about the missing bottom vent.
I dehydrate a lot of vegetables and then vacuum pack them in canning jars. There’s a section in my Preparedness Manual that details the process.
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