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Friday, September 30, 2011

Oven Dehyrdration for Your Garden Vegetables

Well my new thing for Fall is dehydration. What I learned so far... low and slow. When you are dehydrating with oven heat, you do not want to cook your vegetables and you don't what to evaporate the essential oils of herbs.

The basic thing to keep in mind is that you will be using your oven for 5-10 hours at a time. So don't have your dinner sitting a waiting for the oven. The general rules are 130 degrees. I have, of course, pushed the limit and found 175 degrees works for cayenne peppers. I will put the pictures up this weekend of the whole process. I needed dried hot peppers for the gallons of frozen sauce I made.

Here are some guidelines to help you figure out what you might want to dry before the frost comes to our gardens.

All vegetables except onions and peppers,and mushrooms should be washed, sliced, and blanched. Dry vegetables in single layers on trays. Depending of drying conditions, drying times make take longer. Dry vegetables at 130-degrees Fahrenheit. This comes from Farmgal
  • Beans, green:Stem and break beans into 1-inch pieces.Blanch. Dry 6-12 hours until brittle.
  • Beets: Cook and peel beets. Cut into 1/4-inch pieces. Dry 3-10 hours until leathery.
  • Broccoli: Cut and dry 4-10 hours.
  • Carrots: Peel, slice or shred. Dry 6-12 hours until almost brittle.
  • Cauliflower: Cut and dry 6-14 hours.
  • Corn:Cut corn off cob after blanching and dry 6-12 hours until brittle.
  • Mushrooms: Brush off, don't wash. Dry at 90 degrees for 3 hours, and then 125 degrees for the remaining drying time. Dry 4-10 hours until brittle.
  • Onions: Slice 1/4-inch thick. Dry 6-12 hours until crisp.
  • Peas: Dry 5-14 hours until brittle.
  • Peppers, sweet: Remove seeds and chop. Dry 5-12 hours until leathery.
  • Potatoes: Slice 1/8-inch thick. Dry 6-12 hours until crisp.
  • Tomatoes: Dip in boiling water to loosen skins, peel,slice or quarter. Dry 6-12 hours until crisp.
  • Zucchini: Slice 1/8-inch thick and dry 5-10 hours until brittle.
Farmgal recommends 130 degrees. You can experiment if you'd like but I wouldn't exceed 175 degrees. One method suggests the higher end range for 1-2 hours and then cut it down to 130-140 degrees for the remainder of the process. Like most recipes, things vary greatly.

Another quote from a source called

Set the oven at the lowest temperature and preheat to 140°F (60°C). Drying vegetables at oven temperatures higher than 200°F (93.3°C) will cook them or possibly scorch them. If you are uncertain of the temperature, put a separate oven thermometer on a rack you can see, and check the temperature approximately every half hour.