Anti-Junk Food

What do you do when you’ve got that big, end-of-the-season, overflowing with goodness bounty? Or when you see that hug box of peppers at the famers market for $2.00 that you just couldn’t resist buying?

  Of course, there is always canning and pickling, but have you ever considered dehydrating? There are different ways to dehydrate fruits and veggies. Some people dehydrate outside using Mother Nature’s biggest dehydrator, but I don’t. I wish I could, but I cannot figure out how to keep the flies off my food and eeewwww, that’s the end of my project.

So I exaggerate not a bit when I tell you that I love, love, love my electric dehydrator. I use an Excalibur, 9-tray dehydrator. It’s a handy little hot box that can cost upwards of 300 clams, so do as I did and keep your eyes  open at garage sales and want ads. The 9 trays give me 15 square feet of space. It sounds like a lot, but it fills up quickly.

Last week, I put in mushrooms, corn, red bell peppers, apple slices and bananas. It took two days to finish and what ended up with was a huge tub of apple chips, crunchy corn nuggets, and banana chips (all great and healthy snack replacements for potato chips); the red bell peppers dried up into a bit more than a quart of twist-tie sized bits (wonderful just for snacking, but a great crunchy topping for salads, sandwiches, soups, baked potatoes or casseroles), and dried mushrooms (I use my crock pot a lot, so it’s nice to have mushrooms ready that are not rotting in the crisper drawer of the fridge.

The strangest thing that I regularly dehydrate is yogurt. Dehydrating turns yogurt into something like candy, but because of the low heat, it maintains its living enzymes. What’s the most interesting thing you had or wanted to have dehydrated?



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