The first time I came across dehydrated food was rather recently. Don’t get me wrong, I had indeed sampled the occasional dried apricot or dried banana chip throughout my life, but it wasn’t until my sister purchased her very own dehydrator that I truly began to understand the benefits.
As opposed to cooking or baking, dehydrating your food maintains most of the nutrients and vitamins which are often lost when cooked with high heat. A dehydrator allows the food to be heated and evenly dried and will throw your taste buds for a twist. Full of both flavor and healthy nutrients, dehydrated food is the perfect snack or accompaniment for salads, cereals or desserts.
An assortment of nuts and fruits, including apple, mango, banana and pineapple, were the ingredients to a healthy homemade trail-mix that kick-started the dehydrating phenomena for me. Paired with some dark chocolate chips, this trail-mix was worthy of an outstanding snack award. Any fruit or veggie is perfect for the dehydrator, as well as meat in order to make your own beef jerky!
The dehydrating time is subject to change because it can range from a couple of hours to a couple of days, depending on the moisture in the original food and also on your opinion on crunch-factor. A dehydrator is perfect for making batches of fruit and nut mixes which can be given as a homemade gift.
The Excalibur Deluxe Series Dehydrator is a little on the expensive side, averaging around $150-$250. Just cut your fruit or veggies thinly, place them on the trays and turn on the machine. In no time at all you’ll have a dried delight. Also try drying nuts to make them sweeter and crunchier!
You may not have known the secret to deliciously dried foods before, but once you start using your dehydrator it becomes hard to stop! Add dehydrated food to your muffins and cakes, or eat it plain simply for good nutrition. The Excalibur Deluxe is available online from Amazon.com and Harvest Essentials.
Not ready to fully commit because of the hefty price tag? Try sampling some dehydrated foods from stores like Trader Joe’s. My favorite is the Just Mangos, and it certainly may be a gateway to the wonderful world of dehydrated foods for you, too!