Today we are going to show you one of our favorite tools here for long-term food storage on the farm and that’s our dehydrator. It’s a great way to dry out and use produce differently than eating it fresh. We’re going to show you some examples and how we use it.
So in the past we have dehydrated things like grapefruit and oranges, and you can add these to tea or desserts. They can be a decoration or you can use them like we use them for bath and body products, and they’re just nice ways to use extra produce you might have and just gives you more of a shelf life.
Similarly, we’ve done flowers and we add this to some of the bath products we make. Just things that would normally go to waste or wouldn’t be used. Dehydrating them is a great option to give them new life.
We’ve also made moringa powder, and then we use this to make dried herbs that we can use in the kitchen as well.
So Laura’s putting some lemon on this dehydrator panel as well as some guava. This is a guava that was maybe a little bit too ripe to eat, but it’ll be perfect to eat as a snack once it’s dry or to be used in bath and body products. Spacing is really important, so we wanna make sure that we give everything that we’re putting on the dehydrator mat enough spacing so that has airflow and things don’t get too close together. We’re just gonna slide this in
Then we’re gonna show you a lot of different examples. Usually you wanna try to do one or two different but similar types of food in the dehydrator at the same time, so you can set the temperature the same. So Laura’s doing basil leaves right now and basal leaves will probably dehydrate a lot faster than our guava and lemons. So we just wanna make sure that we keep a close eye on everything we’re dehydrating, especially when we’re experimenting with new things. Then we’re gonna add some okra to make those into a dehydrated chip like snack. And once we have kale and things like that, making kale chips is really easy with a dehydrator. So it’s just lots of different options. It gives you a lot more versatility with produce from your farm.
These are moringa leaves, so we often dry these hanging upside down. But using the dehydrator is another way to do this. Using the dehydrator is often quicker, so we can dehydrate moringa leaves in about a day or two, whereas if we left them to hang upside down, it would take upwards of a week for them to be completely dry. So if you ever need to have something dried quickly, a dehydrator is a great way to get that done. So now that we have our panels full, we’re going to close it. We wanna make sure that we space out the panels in here according to what’s in there. Sometimes if we have something thicker, we wanna just make sure that everything has an even amount of space for airflow and we’re just gonna place the lid on and plug it in.
Then we’re just gonna set the temperature. So a lot of them will come with drying guides. So we’re just gonna go based off this “living food” section. So we have it set about 105 degrees Fahrenheit, and then we’re just gonna start the timer at 14 hours. But we’re gonna check on it before then just to see the process. Everything will need a slightly different time. So that’s why it’s more ideal to put similar foods in at the same time that you think will drive pretty similar.
This has been a quick overview of our dehydrator. It’s a really amazing tool if you like cooking, if you like using things to their fullest potential and not having as much go to waste. We really enjoy this. We use it for culinary reasons and to make our bath and body products. So it’s just a really great thing to have and it helps us extend the life of our produce. I hope this helps you and encourages you to maybe seek out options like dehydrators that will help what you grow in your garden go further.