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How To Dehydrate Food Without A Dehydrator

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Being able to dehydrate food without a dehydrator is a highly useful homesteading skill. While having a fancy dehydrator can be fun, it’s not necessary and you can save money and space by using other methods.

Laura Ingalls Wilder shares in one of her books how they dehydrated black berries by placing them on dishtowels in the sun! There are several ways of dehydrating foods without electricity, but my favorite way does involve the oven.

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How To Dehydrate Food In The Oven

All that you really need to dehydrate your own fruits and vegetables is airflow and low temperatures. The best temperature for dehydrating is around 100 degrees. Many ovens do not go quite that low, so make sure you prop open the oven door so that it does not overheat. If you have a fan, go ahead and turn it on too.

Before you place your fruits and vegetables in the oven slice them to about a quarter inch. Some vegetables may need a quick blanching before you dehydrate them, and most fruits will need washed and pitted.

Vegetables that need to blanched include asparagus, beans, cabbage, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peas, and squashes.

Once your fruits and veggies are all prepped you may want to rotate the pan every hour or so. This is also a good time to check on their status, as ovens can dehydrate quite a bit faster than some recipes call for.

Most vegetables should be dried until they are brittle. Tomatoes and squashes should be leathery, as should apples, pears, and pitted fruits. Grapes and cherries should look like raisins.

Don’t be afraid to experiment, but if you want to some tasty recipes to start out with, such as tomato chips and eggplant “bacon,” check out Chowhound.

Dehydrating your own food is fun and easy, and you don’t need a bunch of fancy equipment to do it!

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