I love my dehydrator! We bought the 9-tray Excalibur dehydrator nearly 10 years ago. I was working on increasing our raw-food nutrition, and learned that if you dehydrate at 115 degrees or lower, the food maintains its enzymes. So, eating fruit dehydrated at 115 degrees means you can keep fruit in a container for weeks, and have it ready for on-the-go-healthy-eating!
Now, if you have never dehydrated anything, then this may not sound like a good idea for “less stress” in eating with food allergies. Once I realized how simple it was, dehydrating foods fit my healthy, frugral AND happy categories to a “T”! To keep it from feeling like “one more think I have to do/make,” I don’t make it a part of my weekly routine. I do it when I have time, and when I have a good deal on produce. This post is late publishing, because I had so many things dehydrating last night, and I wanted to show you before and after shots.
I have primarily made fruit chips, and fruit leathers for the last several years. This year I also dehydrated tomatoes from my garden, and WOW do they make a quick and tasty tomato sauce, that I used for pasta and pizza last week.
Here are my dehydrator trays last night, as I filled it up.
The pink is strawberry-apple leather. I just pureed a handful of strawberries in with the apples and poured them on the tray. (At the bottom you can see the leather rolled up and cut into sections, in a bag.)
Then since I was running the dehydrator anyway, I cut up a couple speckled bananas for banana chips. While apple sauce was simmering, I cut up some apple rings too.
Here is the apple sauce “after.” (I just quarter them, skins and seeds and all, and cook them in a pot with a little water, and then run it through my old fashioned food mill- read: hand crank.)
(I have actually reacted to store-bought apple sauce because of the citric acid… did you know citric acid can contain gluten? I learned the hard way!)
For me, having homemade apple sauce in the freezer, and dried fruit for healthy on-the-go food makes a busy week less stressful, and takes advantage of cheap produce prices. (I made all of these apple things from “drops” bought at the orchard for less than half of the pick-your-own price. The tomatoes I bought to supplement my tiny garden were “canning tomatoes.” I just don’t can them!) 🙂