How To Dry Vegetables
Knowing how to dry vegetables allows usage of non-seasonal produce. All you have to do is to dry seasonal vegetables for use later. The process is inexpensive, and is one of the best methods for preserving food for use during leaner times. Drying vegetables requires removal of moisture so as to prevent decay. Read on to learn how to dry vegetables at home…
Preparing Vegetables for Drying
- Pick fresh vegetables.
- Wash them gently with water and get rid of all dirt, insecticides, and grime.
- Sort them and discard the bruised and decayed ones.
- Shred, core, peel, cut, slice, pare, or trim according to vegetable to be dried. Make uniform pieces of vegetable for even drying.
- Blanch the vegetables as a pretreatment to preserve color, texture, and taste. Blanching can be done using steam or by boiling.
Drying Vegetables in the Kitchen
Sun Drying - Spread cut and pretreated vegetables on a tray in a thin layer. Place the tray in an area where it is warm and a considerable amount of sunlight falls on the vegetables. Make sure to place trays tilted so as to allow air circulation. Cover trays with netting to keep away insects. Stir vegetables occasionally for even drying.
Oven Drying – This method is quicker than sun drying. Preheat oven to lowest temperature and place trays containing vegetables. Keep oven door ajar to facilitate air circulation. Keep oven temperature at 140 degrees F. Stir vegetables occasionally. Vegetables would take only 4 to 12 hours when dried using the oven.
Dehydrator Drying – Get vegetables ready as described. Preheat dehydrator to 160 degrees F and place trays inside. Lower temperature to 140 degrees F and let vegetables dry.
Testing for Dryness
Let vegetables cool and come to room temperature before you test them for dryness. Warm vegetables may appear softer and pliable. Vegetables are dry and ready when they are brittle and hard.
Enjoy using dry vegetables in various recipes like stews, soups etc.