A home dehydrator can solve many of your budget concerns, but math aside, what can you really cook with one? They’re actually quite versatile, and from dry beef jerky to dehydrated vegetables, there are sure to be dozens of food dehydrator recipes that you can take advantage of right now.
How to use a home dehydrator to cook dry food
The process of a meat dehydrator is essentially to reduce moisture, and thus prevent bacteria growth in your food. Dried meat offers a culturally diverse and palatable repertoire of flavors, textures and food storage options.
Dehydrated vegetables are another way to avoid food spoilage, save money and enjoy new recipes. For example, you could make crunchy green beans that easily replace greasy fries as a family’s favorite tasty snack.
Technically, this is very simple to do. You can make dehydrated beef by curing, seasoning or marinating your food dehydrator meat, placing it on trays, and letting it cook at 160 degrees.
Most herbs simply require chopping and placing on the appropriate kind of dehydrator sheet. As an example, consider the following example for dehydrating cilantro:
- Wash with clean water, baking soda and white or apple cider vinegar
- After drying off, lay your herbs liberally on each tray
- Dehydrate at 120 degrees for about 2 hours
- Cilantro will be dry to the touch when ready
- Store in airtight containers and grind when ready to use
More uses for your home dehydrator
Your fruit dryer can be used to dehydrate herbs and spices. Models that feature effective air flow systems will allow you to dry fruit, herbs and beef jerky all at the same time, without mixing flavors.
This is an effective way to get more out of your grocery bill, right from your house. For example, you can purchase high quality herbs, spices, veggies and peppers in bulk to take advantage of pricing specials.
Here’s a simple recipe that you can use to dehydrate, store and cook with spices and powders, including garlic, onion and even lemon:
- Peel and remove seeds from your ingredients (do not peel fruits like lemon)
- Slice into 1/8” portions (thinner for garlic)
- Dehydrate at 130 degrees for 6-8 hours
- Let cool for 30 minutes
- Store in airtight containers, like zip-lock or Mylar bags for vacuum sealed jars
- When ready for use, take appropriate portions and grind into powder, leaving the rest in storage
You can also re-hydrate these ingredients at a later time. One easy method is to fill a jar to 1/3 capacity with your ingredients, and another 1/3 with room temperature water, and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.
Many dehydrator enthusiasts also use warm water to re-hydrate their homemade, dry pet food for pet’s digestion, saving money and providing healthier food options.
For lemon powder, you could mix it with black pepper and other spices, and use it in your favorite jerky recipe, or to make delicious fried chicken wings.
Budget considerations for a home food dehydrator
One important advantage of a dehydrator machine is saving money. As we’ve mentioned, you can slash your grocery bill by purchasing in bulk, taking advantage of pricing deals, and dehydrating them for long-term storage.
When we do the math, we see that a food dehydrator pays for its own cost over time, especially when you choose a quality model. Opting for an automatic timer, greater wattage power and custom trays and sheets, are great examples of getting more for your investment in money.
We all have budget concerns. You don’t need the fastest dehydrator out there, when you can simply adjust your food dehydrator’s temperature, set a timer, and collect your food on your own schedule.
Dehydrator trays are a crucial example of additional tools that will help you get more appetizing and long-lasting results, with less effort. Quality dehydrator brands will bundle every kind of tray you need into your basic purchase, and will offer replacements and accessories at a nominal price.
Using a jerky dehydrator will offer more opportunities for recipes, and will allow you to save money with less effort!