I purchased a second-hand food dehydrator on ebay a couple of years ago, after I’d had a glut of tomatoes and had tried my hand at drying them in the oven. The tomato dehydrating in the oven was not the best idea as it was the middle of summer (which is when we tend to have gluts of tomatoes) and I was required to leave the oven slightly ajar to allow moisture to escape, plus I could only do a small number at a time, having only two racks in the oven. The oven also uses a fair bit of power…though we were on solar at least. I did try the drying outdoors in the sun method…but our climate was way too humid for that…so there wasn’t much drying going on.
Since buying the food dehydrator I actually haven’t tried tomatoes in it! Well, I haven’t had a glut of them again, for a number of reasons…but I’m looking forward to it happening again soon…maybe next season…just so I can pop them in the dehydrator. I have, however, tried some other fruits – mostly kiwifruit (scrumptious), banana (much healthier than those banana ‘chips’, which frequently contain palm oil), and orange and orange peel (a handy way to preserve orange peel for all kinds of uses – in cooking or around the home). Kiwifruit has been a favourite amongst our household…in fact today I discovered my daughter had consumed half a jar full (that’s quite a lot of kiwifruit) while I was distracted on the phone!
Apart from being a way of storing home-grown produce, I love the fact that we can have preserved food in the cupboard without having bought it in some kind of plastic packaging. Even if you’re not growing your own produce, you can still make dried fruit inexpensively and minus the plastic. Once dehydrated, I store the fruit in a clean dry jar in the pantry or fridge.
Of course food dehydrating is not limited to fruit. You can also do vegetables, herbs (for cooking or tea) and spices (make your own garlic, ginger or turmeric powder if you’re growing them in the garden), flowers, meat and more!
P.S. I hope you don’t mind all the kiwifruit pic’s! I just love how they look when they’re sliced. 🙂