Thanks everyone for submitting your dehydrating questions for today's podcast. I'm so happy that you reached out and shared what's on your mind, and I'm even happier that I have an opportunity to help. So without further ado, here's this episode of Know Your Food with Wardee. See below for a list of the questions answered and the links shared.
Lots of questions this episode of Know Your Food with Wardee. And here they are, in the order they're answered (in case you want to skip around). The podcast contains my answers, plus if I mentioned any additional resources, they are linked here along with the question.
Bethany: My heart almost stopped beating (for joy — good reasons!) when I saw you used plastic lids on your yogurt. We go through quite a few canning jar lids a day because we use mason jars to store everything. But my Achilles heel are metal YOGURT LIDS. They tend to accumulate for days (weeks? months?) before I get around to washing them. It’s pretty much awful. We make 8 quarts of yogurt a week, so it definitely adds up. Do you find that the plastic lids work well when incubating yogurt in the dehydrator? Do you have any problems with them? (thinking air flow, sealing, difficulty opening them afterward, etc.)
Lea asks: I would like to know the differences between the dehydrators on the market.
In addition to an explanation in the podcast, I mentioned you can read a quick run-down of the dehydrator types in this post.
Jeri: I would be interested in understanding how you plan to have food storage available for a emergency and yet use your dried food in a timely manner. Do you anticipate that you can store enough for future needs and yet use that food in your daily life before it becomes too old to provide good nutrition and still taste good. How do you plan to store your dried foods? What is the length of time home dried foods remain palatable? Is it reasonable to plan to dry foods, store them for a year, replace them with the next harvest and eat the previously stored items? Thank you for your thoughts and all of the great information you share through your website and podcasts.
In the podcast, I shared my approach for both seasonal foods and foods that we dry on-going.
Here's a good chart of the shelf-life of dried foods at optimal conditions.
Heather: Is citric acid okay to use to keep fruits from turning brown? (voicemail question)
I explained how citric acid is produced (not from fruits). The non-GMO shopping guide at Responsible Technology states that “Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) although usually derived from corn, is probably not GM because it is not likely made in North America.”
I think we should keep our eye on this, as it could change.
I would suggest looking into whole food vitamin C powder such as the Pure Radiance C from Radiant Life (more pricey).
Launi: My dehydrated tomatoes don't have a good tomato flavor when they are re-hydrated. They just taste “blah”. Is that normal or did I do something wrong?
Maureen: (voicemail) How important is it to have a food vacuum sealer for long term storage of dehydrated foods. I would like to get one but finances are way too tight right now. What would be alternative supplies (in place of this) to have on hand before starting your online class? Looking forward to this class! Thank you!
I suggested looking into this hand pump vacuum sealer: PumpNSeal Food Saver. In fact, I've emailed them to ask for a review unit. We'll see what they say. 🙂
Amy: I would love to know equivalents; 1/2 cup dehydrated carrots equals what (not dehydrated) for the sake of a recipe. Can I store different dehydrated vegetables together? I would like to dehydrate the veggies (carrots,onions, and celery) for chicken soup, store pre-measured dehydrated things together. I would also like a ‘tried and true' recipe source for using the many things my young daughter (11 yo) has been dehydrating. I read somewhere that when potatoes are dehydrated the look awful, but when placed into a acid based (tomato) soup they return to pleasant looking. Is that true?
I shared about keeping a dehydrator journal and measuring before and after each tray to document equivalents you can't find in other places.
Where to look for recipes: Backpacking Chef and Mary Bell's Complete Dehydrator Cookbook. Or, my dehydrating class. You will discover how to dehydrate all kinds of foods, plus recipes for using them. To take this class, become a member — and you get access to all our other classes, too!
We are offering a special through 12/31/12 where you can get a bonus holiday menu plan plus up to 5 free thank-you videos with membership (or other purchases). More info is here.
Rue: We already have a dehydrator and dehydrate mainly beef and fish jerky and fruit. We sometimes use for vegetables to preserve a glut when other methods just aren't practical for some reason. We live in a very hot climate in summer and warm and moist in winter. In terms of working with our environment dehydrating is probably the most sensible and traditional (despite my European roots preferring higher energy methods like jarring and freezing!). I am most worried about storing the dehydrated food properly. We often put in the fridge in plastic bags. However Im becoming more aware of the dangers of plastic and I don't feel safe with this method either. Also I am hoping to increase the yield of foods I preserve and I'm looking at improving my stock piling using non powered storage. What are your thoughts about storing dehydrated food safely?
Chrissy: (voicemail) Can you dry fruit and veggies together? Can you dry different fruits together, and what are the drying times? What's the role of humidity?
Carol: Hi Wardeh….. I'm so excited about this new class. I would love to learn how to avoid under or overly dehydrating fruits and veggies. I want to make sure I preserve the vitamins and enzymes. I also would like a better understanding on what a fruit or veggie should look like when finished. I've recently been dehydrating bananas and I'm unsure what the color or what type of texture should I expect. I've mostly used my dehydrator for nuts. Sadly my dehydrator is not working but my daughter is letting me use hers so I can put to practice what you'll be teaching. I'm also excited to learn how to best store everything. I did purchase a food saver for your class. Excited!
Elisabeth: (voicemail) I'm new to dehydrating. Is it safe to preserve fish and other meat through dehydrating?
Absolutely (a simple method shared in the podcast), and we'll be talking about the different methods in the dehydrating class.
Cindy: (voicemail) How do you know how hot or how long to dry a food that's not in “the book”?
And that was the last question… and good thing because as you'll hear above, my voice was giving out! 🙂
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What's Coming Up…
Next week I won't have a fresh episode, as it will be Christmas week and also our anniversary. But I'll be back on January 4, 2013. 2013???? Wow!
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