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Old 03-23-2012, 11:44 PM
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ArrowDehydrating


Some of you know that I am an organic veggie, fruit and herb gardener. I can, freeze and dry things that I have an abundance of for later use. I have been dehydrating more and more lately, not only garden produce, but Farmer Market finds, sale vegetables from the grocery store and my barter gleanings.
Living in the suburbs of a large city has been both a blessing and a curse. With this end of year nonsense going on, my greatest fear are the crazies that will come out to loot grocery stores and disrupt normal life. So I am buying a bit extra each week to put aside for use in case trucks are stopped from running and the grocery store shelves become barren.
To that end I have bought a new (additional) dehydrator! A new Nesco Garden-Master with a digital thermostat and time. I love it...the bigger trays, bigger fan and the motor on the top, unlike my old one that has the motor on the bottom.
I am hoping that some of you all will join me in comparing dehydrating tips and stories as the year progresses.
Until it is gardening weather here in the Midwest, I experimented with canned corn, which was recommended to me by a friend. It is wonderful!! Tastes great, takes up less room, and re-hydrates well. The nice part is that it cost me far less than buying it from one of this places online that sells emergency long-term-storage food.
Here is the picture. Note: No oxygen absorbers are in there, I have a Food Saver attachment that sucks all of the air out of canning jars. Easy-Peasy...and cheaper too!
SeeksRoots
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:00 AM
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SeeksRoots, I have also just purchased a dehydrator. The older I get, the harder it is for me to do canning so I thought I would try and switch to something that would be easier to do. I love the way that large can of corn was compacted down to a third of the shelf space. Since this is all new for me we will have to talk more especially when my garden veggies and herbs start coming in.
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  #3  
Old 03-24-2012, 06:09 PM
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SwampLady...
I passed old some time ago...am closing in on ancient I think!! LOL...with my knees I am restricted, so I have raised beds, which does restrict some of my crops. Others seems to thrive in raised beds! All I know is I plan to get the most value from my garden as I can, and that means efficient storage of foods when they are in abundance.
Everyone cans tomatoes for example, however, have you ever tasted sun-dried tomatoes? Because you are actually dehydrating them, the flavor is concentrated....making for one yummy, fat-free snack! It makes me smile to eat dried 'maters when there is snow on the ground, and they are a great source of Vitamin C, Lycopene and Antioxidants! They also have been shown to help lower cholesterol. And of course they are so much cheaper to make then to buy, and you know there are no harmful chemicals on them!
Now you understand why I am such a proportionate of dehydrating!

SR
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Old 03-24-2012, 08:18 PM
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I could also use a few tips on using a dehyrerator. I purchased it years ago @ a estate sale but didn't get the manual. Without knowing how to use it,its been shelved since last week. We had a huge spring fling last week at work before spring break; and we had tons of lettuce/sliced onions left so I pulled down dehydrator and tried save the onions. I left them on all nite, and ended up with little black onion rings. Wish it had a timer like yours.

I also got a food saver; have only used it on fresh deep water fish.
I have baby green beans coming on; I guess those could been dehydrated?
How do you rehydrate ? How do you know how much water to use?
Nows when the manual would come in handy.
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Old 03-26-2012, 11:09 AM
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We have a foodsaver and a dehydrator that's cheap and only has one heating element I think it got to like 160 by the element? I measured it a couple years ago

The trick with it is allways watching it but even then it won't be fast by any means I personially love exploded apples (my juicer) I have tryied sun-dried tomatoes and didn't get it right but I think I may try it again this summer tho as I love sundried tomatoes I may even try some in the oven as well for kicks
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Old 03-28-2012, 07:07 AM
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Well before I go and start dehydrating food I think I need to purchase a FoodSavser also. What model to you have Cathy and how difficult is it to use? Does it come with any attachments? I think I need to get my ducks in a row before I go jumping into the pond, so to speak.
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:21 AM
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*has a foodsaver too it's a mid-range one*

The model numbers change every like 6 months or so we got ours at Tuesday morning oddly enough I pushed for the better but this one won because it matched our kitchen and took up less total room

Over all I'd say it's cake to use lol just make certain you get it in the right way you press the right buttons (ours seals and vac/seals) and be aware some bags won't wanna work (I would guess like 10-20% have faught to work)

What lol I wanna know is if you can vac seal fresh chopped veg then can it be kept on the counter till you use it? (yup call me crazy)
  #8  
Old 03-29-2012, 12:20 AM
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I wi find out the model. I picked it up at an estate sale it did not come with a Manuel. i burnt my first try with the onions last week. it did not come with attachments and only has an on/off switch.
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Old 03-29-2012, 12:37 AM
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Cathy if you find the model number you may be able to get a manual on line.
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Old 03-29-2012, 04:56 AM
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Sounds like mine

*loves how people listen to her*
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Old 03-29-2012, 08:20 AM
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Hey, SeeksRoots, my honey came home and had a late night supper and forgot to put the peas away in a container by morning all the juice from them was gone and they were all dried up does that count as dehydrating?
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Old 03-29-2012, 09:50 PM
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Sorry I have been MIA everybody...I have been trying to get my salt scrub and other stuff up and running!
Now Kathy...I swear I answered your onion problem the day after it went up...but I do not see my last post. Did I write you an email instead? Well, no matter, we will answer it here.
Usually nothing burns in a dehydrator...it may turn brown and taste burnt but I have never seen anything truly come out black. If your onions did that, I would run it with an oven thermometer in it for about 20 minutes or so....and see just what temp it is running. It should be somewhere between 90 and 135. If any higher than that, I would not use it again, or at least not overnight or when away. It might be defective. A single temp dehydrator, which is what I started out with is great from most fruits and veggies.
As far as a manual, you should be able to download a manual from the internet. It would be most helpful to you!! If you can't find it, let me know and maybe I can help...even if I am a bit slow getting to emails and such right now!
SR
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Old 03-29-2012, 10:22 PM
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There are a few things in general I don't dehydrate...green beans and peas are two that come to mind. They do not re-hydrate well...the texture is off. If you have green beans coming on, pick them as needed, and what you don't eat, blanch, blot dry and place into a Food Saver bag and freeze them for later use. They will taste as good as fresh!
A couple of things I would point out about FS use. First off, I don't like the newer models with the automatic this and that...limits what you can do. And they can be a struggle to use...they have to go in just so or they won't work. If you don't believe me, look on You-Tube at a guy trying to show how easy it is to operate...he fusses with each bag...I simply do not have time for that! (One thing I did get from his video, other than to not bother with a newer one, is the double seal trick...neat.)
Secondly, it is easier to write with a Sharpie marker on the label edge BEFORE you put stuff in the bag and suck air out...it is crinkly then!
Next, Don't try to be cheap with the bag by making them shorter than you need. Yes, the older ones left a bit of wasted bag between where it sealed and where the vacuum channel is...but trying to shorten the bag too much, or put too much in the bag will just prevent the unit from sealing the bag well as you are actually pushing the lid up ever so slightly and the air will just seep back in when you release the handle.
Keep your unit clean, especially the vacuum channel, and don't try to vacuum liquids, as my husband did once! You can seal a bag of liquid...but why would you want too? If you need a container for liquids I recommend using a canning jar, which you can then vacuum seal shut with an attachment made for that...but it would still need to be stored in the fridge, so why not just use a Tupperware pitcher in that case?
There are other sealer units out there....Seal-A-Meal is an older brand...and I think Ron Pupil came out with his own unit once upon a time too...so they may not work the same. I can only speak to what I know so if you can tell me the brand that only goes on and off maybe one of us on here can help with it!
And last but not least...
No, Swampy...John was not dehydrating...LOL...although he and Tom may disagree!!

SR
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Old 03-29-2012, 10:26 PM
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Oops...I see I missed a question..
Anything that need refrigeration, needs refrigeration. In other words just because the air cannot get to it, does not mean it will not rot. It will keep crackers from going stale, but a cucumber will still turn to mush if not in the fridge!
Hope this helps,
SR
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:19 AM
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I grabbed this from another group I am part of...

"Thanks for all the comments and suggestions about the units. I was glad to hear about the LEM being made in China - I have since called Excalibur and ordered a refurbished unit (thanks for that suggestion also). The bottom line - I support American companies - thats why I have an All American canner; and I just found a second canner at Goodwill from the 70's - when Presto was made sturdy - and probably in America. It takes each of us supporting the others to build a community - and this is one way to do it. Thanks Again."

I have had people write to me in PMs asking about which dehydrator is best. That is a decision you have to make for yourself, but I will give you as much info as I can. The above was the end of a decision about Excalibur machines vs. the new LEM which is being shown on TV.
SR
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