How to Dehydrate Vegetables For Long Life

Dehydrating vegetables is something that has been going on since the age of agriculture. In today’s age, there are more convenient ways to dehydrate vegetables. Older types of technology did not work as well as they do now. Vegetables that were dehydrated still had over thirty percent problems with moisture, which caused them not to store very well. Today, the moisture levels for vegetables have been cut down by over three percent. Dehydrated green beans today are more crisp, and will snap instead of become pliable. The storage life for vegetables can last now for many years. The main mode to extending the life of vegetables that have been dehydrated is by removing their oxidizing oxygen. Dehydrated vegetables will taste a little different from their canned counterparts. They will not have as much flavor, but with butter, salt, and even pepper, it will taste just as good as canned vegetables. The reason that dehydrated vegetables last for such a long time is because their moisture content is not enough to cause bacteria and mold. In order to cause bacteria and mold, dehydrated vegetables would have to have up to fifteen to thirty percent moisture.

When a person is ready to dehydrate their vegetables, they should pick their vegetables, and then start the dehydration process as soon possible, so that the vegetables do not lose their flavor, or their color. The first steps for dehydrating vegetables are:

Preparing Vegetables

Vegetables will need to be washed and trimmed. They can also be cut, sliced, or chopped. The importance is that the thickness of the vegetables remain. The thickness of vegetables will help to dehydrate them faster.

Blanch Vegetables

Blanching vegetables will preserve the flavor and the color of the vegetables by stopping the enzyme that causes a vegetable to spoil so quickly. Blanching vegetables involve trimming them to the size the person wants, boiling water and adding a little bit of salt, in small amounts place the vegetables in water that has reached a boil, so the water remains boiling. Boil the vegetables until they are almost cooked. As the vegetables are boiling, put ice in a bowl. Once the vegetables have boiled enough, quickly put them into the bowl with ice. Once the vegetables are no longer hot, take them out of the bowl of ice. They have now been blanched.

Ready for storage

There are three different ways to dehydrate vegetables. That is an oven, sun dried, or a commercial dehydrator. Sun drying is the least recommended because temperatures would need to be an even 90 degrees for many days. Most places that people live do not have consistent temperatures. Commercial dehydrators are great to use, but they can be expensive, especially if a person does not dehydrate vegetables very much. The best way is to use an oven because everyone has an oven, and they do not have to spend any extra money to use it, besides the gas bill. The only draw back to using an oven is that it is very time consuming because an oven can only dry vegetables six pounds at a time. However, an oven gives greater results than a dehydrator or sun drying.

Steps for an Oven

Set oven temperature to 140 degrees

Lay vegetables out on a stainless steel screen or a wooden frame covered in cheesecloth. Do not use metal because vegetables can have a metallic taste to them. Cookie sheets should also not be used because air is unable to circulate around the vegetables.

Stronger flavored vegetables should not be mixed with other vegetables, or that flavor could be the dominating taste on all vegetables. Carrots, potatoes, and pumpkins would make a good mix to put together on a cheesecloth covered screen.

Place in oven, and keep oven door open about three inches while the vegetables are drying, so that the moisture can be let out. The temperature should be checked every half hour, and vegetables should not be allowed to scorch. Moving the trays around every half hour will help them to be heated evenly.

Depending on the type of vegetables, the times to dry them will take from four to twelve hours. When the vegetables are finished, they should be hard enough that they can snap or shatter if they are hit.

Store the vegetables in a water tight container.