General Rules For Dehydrating Vegetables
By Excalibur Preserve It Naturally
Vegetables - you can dry a different vegetable each day for a month and still not go through the entire list. Some are more suitable for dehydrating than others but once you get started, you'll want to try them all.
What do we get from vegetables? Vegetables are rich sources of vitamins and minerals. Some of the important nutrients they contain include: vitamin A, vitamin C, niacin, phosphorus, calcium, and iron - all of which are preserved, although not in their entirety, when properly dehydrated. Peas and members of the bean family contribute protein. In addition vegetables are vital suppliers of bulk, indigestible fiber that aids in the digestive process. One thing you probably won't gain from vegetables is weight. One-half cup of most vegetables contains less than 50 calories; starchy vegetables, like potatoes and beans, may have 50 to 100 calories per 1/2 cup serving.
To preserve most of this goodness in your dehydrated food, start with vegetables that are ripe and in prime condition. Buy or pick the crispest, freshest, most flavorful ones that can be obtained. Dehydrating retains most of the nutrition and good taste, but it can't improve on the original quality of the food. The fresher the vegetables are when processed, the better they will taste when dehydrated and cooked.
Take extra care when drying vegetables because they spoil and deteriorate much more quickly than fruits. This doesn't imply that the novice dryer should shy away from them - not at all. Just pay close attention to dehydrating procedures given here and in Chapter 3, and you'll have great results.
Preparation and Pretreatment
Once you get the vegetables home, remember not to store them at room temperature if at all possible. If you can't dry the vegetables immediately, refrigerate them to avoid deterioration. Prepare only as many vegetables as you can dehydrate in one load.
Wash vegetables quickly and thoroughly right before processing. Use cold, not hot, water to help preserve freshness and avoid careless handling that could damage the produce. Vegetables covered with dirt should be rinsed under cool running water and scrubbed if necessary. Don't allow the vegetables to soak in the water. Soaking causes many water-soluble vitamins and minerals to dissolve and speeds deterioration.
Your end product should taste as smooth as it looks!
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