How to Dehydrate Food in the Oven
Fruits and vegetables grow abundantly during the season. But often we have a craving for such foods when they are not in season. Simply storing those fruits and veggies won’t be possible as they will turn moldy and would be wasted. But there is one effective method through which we can store our seasonal veggies and fruits and enjoy them even after the season has ended. That process is dehydration.
In this article we will find out how to dehydrate food in the oven.
At first, set your oven’s temperature at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is perfect for dehydrating foods. Temperatures higher than this may cook the food instead of dehydrating it. If your oven doesn’t have such low settings then use the Warm setting.
Fruits and Veggies which can be dehydrated easily are:
Apples, apricots, cherries, bananas, pineapples, plums, dates, figs, grapes, oranges, peaches, pears, beets, carrots, peppers, pumpkin, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, corn, green beans, onions, mushrooms and peas.
Select the fruit or veggie of your choice and wash them thoroughly.
If the fruit or veggie has outer peel, then peel it off using a peeler.
Then slice it up and remove the cores and seeds if any.
If it is a veggie then blanch it. Blanch the veggie by putting the veggie slices in boiling water and then taking them out. Then put them in cold water. The veggie will barely be cooked and this will help to preserve the taste and texture. When the veggies cool down take them out and spread them on a cookie sheet or on a pan. Take care that all pieces are in a single layer.
If it is a fruit then you need to pre-treat it to preserve the nutrients and flavors. Now take a bowl and mix equal parts of lemon juice and water in it. Take the fruit slices and soak them in the mixture for 30 to 60 seconds. Then take it out and place it in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Take the baking sheet on which slices are placed and place it in the oven. Do not shut the door of the oven completely. Leave it open at least 2 inches. This improves the air circulation.
Now keep a fan outside the oven door which will improve air circulation.
Keep checking that the temperature is maintained. When your food is dehydrated, store it in airtight jar. Keep it in cool, dark place.
For the first two weeks shake the fruit jar daily and watch for any moisture. If there is moisture then take it out and dehydrate a bit more. If not dehydrated some more, the fruit might turn moldy.
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