Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A FOOD DEHYDRATOR - PRESTO DEHYDRO DIGITAL

This is the latest acquisition (delivery delayed due to weather) for the farm!

Presto Dehydro Digital Food Dehydrator
I received a gift card at work for Christmas and we've been deciding what to get with it.  We didn't want to get just anything, like books or kitchen tools, we can always get those.  Instead, we wanted something that we've never had before and something that could help at the farm.  We started tossing around ideas and came to the conclusion that this would be a great choice.  With fresh produce from the garden this year, hopefully it will be the perfect addition.  We decided on this brand/model.  We like the timer feature and adjustable temp range.  I'm sure there are other fancier ones out there, but we want to start small, learn and work our way up to something bigger and badder, ha.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW IT ON AMAZON

We are excited to begin the process of learning to dehydrate things and preserving some of what we grow.  Any suggestions or 'must try' tips?  We have lots of great grocery stores and farmers markets in Houston with organic and/or fresh veggies, so we won't have to wait until we get our own produce to start.

More when it comes in, and of course our first adventures with it.  We got a message from UPS delivery saying that because of the icy weather somewhere, the delivery has been delayed.

Now we'll wait!

Update:  It came today after all!  Yay!  I've already sliced up some tomatoes I bought at a local farmers market and they are doing their thing.  I'll give you updates later and see how the first batch goes.



25 comments:

Dani said...

Ooooh nice. :)

How many watts does it use?

Moonwaves said...

Strawberries. Absolute heaven to open a jar of dried strawberries in the depths of winter. Tastes a bit like jam, too. :)
I love my dehydrator, even if I haven't yet gotten very adventurous with it. I've mostly done fruit and of that, mostly apples and strawberries. Haven't yet tried meat or many vegetables, although I do want to try making my own soup mix soon. Did make the mistake of trying raspberries but they took forever and just have too high a water content to make them a really good option. Same goes for currants in my experience, just not really worth it. Fruit leathers are also a great idea. And as for the tomatoes, hmmmm, yummmmmm. One day I'll save up and buy a bigger one like the Excalibur but for now my cheap round one does the job well enough. Have fun with it - it's a somewhat addictive hobby!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

for a while i was doing a lot of dehydrating. i even made my own jerky which was terrific. i did lots of celery and onions and carrots to use in soups. i also did lots of fruit. my new ovens have a dehydration setting so i will be doing it again.

2 Tramps said...

We dry plums and pears - so yummy and easy, too. We also do tomatoes - great soaked in olive oil and spices later. You will have lots of fun experimenting!

FionaG said...

I am rather envious. Being on stand alone solar we can't use one of those but we have made a sun dryer from a glass cabinet door. This works very well but is, of course, reliant on the weather. I have dried garlic and turned it into the granulated stuff, carrots, tomatoes and onions. We had loads of cherry tomatoes and I discovered that these worked really well in the drier when sliced very thin. I would mix a tiny bit of salt along with various spices like garlic and/or cajun spice or basil then dry them till they turned into chips. These we snack on. The onions were also turned into snacking food, left till they were crisp. I ground dried garlic, tomatoes, carrots and onions into a powder to make my own stock powder, we also use this as a soup mix on its own or sometimes with a small teaspoon of beef stock added to it. There is so much you can do. Last year I made semi-dried sun dried tomatoes. These kept for months. You will be surprised at how a lot of food shrinks into only a handful but it is fun experimenting particularly if its with excess from your own garden. One of my greatest joys is preserving our harvest. Nothing screams satisfaction, and to some degree pride, as enjoying something you grew in summer, in the middle of winter.

Kate said...

Dried apples are a favorite - but #1 are the dried cayenne peppers I then grind into flakes. The whole family eats them, the neighbors come by to get a jar, people at work ask me to bring them in, friends ask me to mail them. Actually, I do a lot of herbs this way (because they are also easy to grow) - sage, rosemary, oregano, and mint.

dianefaith said...

I'm probably being a killjoy here, but you may have trouble with the humidity. I gave up on my dehydrator when it took hours and hours to dry food in the humidity of summer. That was some years ago, so maybe the newer models are better. I did manage to dry tomatoes (maybe that was part of my problem -- starting with something with so much water), and they were wonderful. Intensely flavorful.

1st Man said...

We can't wait to use it. In fact, update, it just came tonight! I'm already reading up on things.

It is 750 watts. I know that's important on solar. I'm not sure how that compares, but it's probably a lot for the batteries huh? I wish we could just use the sun to dry things but we have high humidity here and drying stuff outside doesn't work so well, ha.

1st Man said...

Strawberries! LOVE strawberries and I can imagine dried they are very nice. Do you sweeten them or just let the dry naturally. I'm going to try fresh (farmers market) tomatoes first. I'd really like to do soup mix. I think that would be nice. That Excalibur looks nice, we figured we'd see how we like it and use it first, ha. Thanks!

1st Man said...

Oh how we love jerky. We're going to work up to that. I bet 2nd Man would love celery and onions and carrots for cooking. Thanks for the tip. And be sure and post when you try your new ovens' dehydration settings! :-)

1st Man said...

Mmm, plums and pears. Tomatoes are first on the list....stay tuned!

FionaG said...

Just further in regard to the humidity. We have extremely humid summers but I have found that if I limit what I dry to things that aren't overly moist, and if the days are really hot, then I can get things done in a day. I just make sure things are very thinly sliced.

1st Man said...

Wow, you always write such informative comments. Thank you. I like the ideas you have, and the thought of onions as a dried snack sounds lovely. And we are hopefully having a bed full of garlic growing right now. I wondered how small a large batch becomes, I can imagine it shrinks up a lot. But like you said, preserving your harvest is a great thing to do and to be proud of. I was wondering about the thickness of slicing in humid areas. Thank you!!

1st Man said...

cayenne pepper flakes? Do you mean you just dry them and then instead of a powder just sort of rough chop/mince so they are small like, well, red pepper flakes? Herbs I am totally psyched about. Can't wait to get them growing and then using/preserving them. Thanks!!!

1st Man said...

Oh, don't worry about that, we need to hear all sides, the good and the bad. I am a bit worried about the humidity, the model we got does have good reviews with regard to humidity, so we'll see. Gotta try. Tomatoes are definitely first, In fact.......there might just be some in there now! Yay! We'll see. Maybe it will be something we have to do seasonally when it's not so humid (good time right now, ha).

Thanks for the tips, always appreciated!

FionaG said...

There are many good videos on YouTube but check out this one
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WFsodroxRA

steakandeggs said...

I love tomatoes dryed in the dehydrator. I use a sprinkle of sea salt and it really brings out the flavor. Nothing like using homegrown tomato powder for thicking things like spaghetti sauce. The olive oil and spices sounds good too. Don't know if you have a mandolin, but it is a must for me. It is important to have uniform slices. I brought a FoodSaver and the jar sealer accessory for regular and wide mouth jars to keep the jars vacuum sealed. I have basil that is 2 years old and smells and taste better than the ones out of the store. Once you start drying your own herbs it will be hard to eat store bought. Just dry the leaves whole and keep them whole until your ready to use them.
We live in the DFW area and our humidity is high, but not as high as your. We have an area set-up on the back porch to dry. Good for high moisture food and onions or garlic. Can't wait to heard about all that food you going dehydrate.

Moonwaves said...

Nope, no need to sweeten them, Just as they are is fine. I usually buy about twice as much as I want to dry because sitting for half-an-hour chopping strawberries does kind of follow a one-for-the-machine-one-for-me kind of pattern. On the plus side, no need to make lunch on a day I decide to dry strawberries!
I picked up a strawberry cutter (like the one here: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41SOj3A9wJL._SY300_.jpg) in the supermarket and used it last year for the first time - slightly thinner than I'd slice with a knife but very convenient.

Tonya @ My Cozy Little Farmhouse said...

That is a fancy looking dehydrator! I can't wait to read about all the wonderful uses. Do you think it will be necessary to designate trays to certain items based on the volatile oils or pungency? (i.e. Even after washing can you use the same tray from drying garlic to dry lavender?)

The Stay @ Home-Gardener said...

750watts on my setup during the day is well within tolerances.

The Stay @ Home-Gardener said...

Even with solar dehydrators that use a column box which due to stack effect moves air through it?

Lisa said...

I got my first dehydrator this year and I am so glad I did.

Practical Parsimony said...

With my Excalibur, there is no residue smell or taste transferred from onions or garlic.

Practical Parsimony said...

I have the nine-tray Excalibur with thermostat control and timer. I bought it back when I had money and then got a small windfall.

zucchini--slice thin and dehydrate and store in a Ball jar with canning lid and ring to exclude air.

frozen carrots--they just need to be spread on the trays. Two pounds of frozen carrots yielded an 8 oz jelly jar of dehydrated carrots. I had too many frozen carrots and frozen green beans from the grocery to put into the freezer.

banana--slice thinly and put on trays. Dehydrate until crispy. I eat these as is, rehydrate for baking, put in a snack mix of chocolate chips, banana chips, and pecans. Mix this as you eat it, not ahead of time.

Onions--chop and dehydrate until crispy. The same goes for celery and green bell peppers. Store in jars. This makes prepping things for cooking very easy. I use these three for flavor all the time. You can wait until these are on sale to buy at the grocery store or market.

Oranges, lemons, and limes--slice and dehydrate for the aroma or for decorating.

I had too many cayenne peppers I grew, even after the hot pepper jelly I made. So, I took the peppers dried hanging in the window on a piece of dental floss and put them into my coffee bean grinder with the stainless steel cup and blades. I made pepper, rather coarse, but pepper. I did not have the dehydrator then, or I would have used it to dry the cayenne. I like the look of them drying in the window...lol.

These are not all the things I have dehydrated.

Go to website dehydrate2store. She uses a food saver to help store for a longer time.

Practical Parsimony said...

Sorry to keep coming back and talking...lol. The Excalibur I have can be used to make yogurt and buttermilk. The trays can be removed to leave a huge cavern where I can put quarts of the yogurt mixture or the buttermilk, both of which need some warmth. Drying anything less tall could be accomplished by removing every other tray or any configuration. If you decide to graduate, this would be a good choice. There is just me, one person, but this does not seem at all too large.