Friday, May 3, 2013

Here is Ohio State University's fact sheet on drying fruits and vegetables. This is an informative several-page document to download in .pdf format.

Please note that it says drying outdoors is not recommended in Ohio. I would not recommend it much of anywhere these days. However, if you do it anyway, please read what the fact sheet says about freezing or heating the foods to kill insect eggs. (See? You don't really want to do it outdoors, do you?) I recommend a small electric dryer or the oven set on a low temperature. I use 150 for green onions, with the door propped slightly open, for example.

Some foods are steamed before they are dried. Read directions carefully on the chart provided, and read all the preliminary instructions. Please, do not think this is a step to skip. Directions are included for how to make fruit leathers, and some vegetables can be done in a similar way. Even if you don't have a dehydrator, you can still do many foods in your oven with the help of tips from this fact sheet.

If you are going to do fruit leathers, it does say to line cookie sheets with plastic wrap, not wax paper or foil. I would suggest buying a pack of the 14 x 14 teflon coated sheets made for the Excaliber or other square food dehydrators. However, your cookie sheet will be a different size, and this may require some trimming to use. These sheets are made specifically for food dehydration.