I regularly dehydrate foods at my house, sometimes to salvage something that is about to spoil, sometimes to create snacks for the kids, and sometimes so that I can stock up while a product is on sale. To learn more about the tools I use with dehydration, click here and scroll down about half-way. Foods can be dehydrated in the oven, but it is not a very energy-efficient method since foods can take anywhere from 6 to 48 hours to dehydrate. If you don't have a dehydrator, just Google whatever product you are interested in drying and you will find recipes for dehydrating in an oven.
These are some methods I have used to dehydrate fruits and veggies. I always suggest before dehydrating an item for the first time, that you try a small batch first. Make sure you like the results before doing a large batch.
Dehydrated Non-Dairy Yogurt Drops (Click for recipe)
- Blueberries are a messy item to dehydrate. You need to use "Clean-a-Screens" or the equivalent for your brand of dehydrator, or line your trays with parchment paper.
- Wash and de-stem. It is helpful to separate blueberries by size since the size plays a big role in how long they will take to dehydrate. Grouping similar sizes together will make it easier when it is time to remove them from the dehydrator.
- Blanch blueberries in small batches based on their size. To blanch, boil a pot of water. Put your blueberries in for around 1 minute. Your goal is for the skin to slightly crack. This will allow the berries to dehydrate faster. When the time is up, remove blueberries quickly and put them into ice cold water. This stops the cooking process.
- Drain blueberries (they are hard to towel-dry at this point because they will be mushy). Then, place on dehydrator trays grouped by size. Try to keep them from touching each other, otherwise they will dry stuck together.
- Blueberries take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours based on their size
- Pit the cherry (a cherry pitter is an essential time saver).
- Halve, then quarter the cherries.
- Use a "clean-a-screen" or equivalent, and place cherries skin-side down.
- Dehydrate for 24-48 hours.
- Cut into 1/4 slices.
- Dehydrate for around 14 hours.
These are what you probably know as fruit roll-ups, but without the added bad stuff. They are delicious snacks, and you can sneak in some veggies. I have made several fruit leathers, and I've learned they are not an exact science. You will just have to keep trying until you find the consistency that works for you. My preference is for them to be around 1/8 inch thick and chewy. Oftentimes, you can just throw into the blender whatever you have and you'll still come up with a tasty treat. Each dehydrator will be different as to how much you need to make a fruit leather. For mine, it takes about 6 cups pre-blended, and about 3.5 cups after blending to fill the fruit leather tray. They require significant drying time, sometimes up to three days.
- Blueberry Yogurt Vegetable -- About 3 cups of fresh blueberries, about 1.5 cups of frozen raspberries and blueberries, about 1/4 cup applesauce, 1 non-dairy Yogurt, about 5 baby carrots, and about 1/2 cup mixed greens.
- Cherry -- About 5 cups fresh or thawed cherries, 1 cup applesauce.
- Blackberry/Strawberry/Apple -- 3 cups blackberries, 10 small to medium strawberries, 1 apple, 1/4 cup flax seed
- Blackberry/Peach -- 1.5 cups blackberries, 3 medium to large peaches, 1/4 cup flax seed
- Strawberry -- 5 cups strawberries, 1 cup applesauce, 1 Tbsp lemon juice