Alternative Uses for a Food Dryer

Posted By: Daniel Gasteiger  //  Category: food dehydrator, food dryer, solar dryer

I came across an article that suggests how you might put a food dryer to use for tasks other than drying food. The terms of use for the article require that I not change a word in it. However, I want to point out that the author clearly has an agenda to get you thinking there’s something special about a particular brand of food dryer. Never mind that. The suggestions for how to use a food dryer are both creative and useful.

Please enjoy this article about practical uses for a food dehydrator:

Actually… when I published the article, Google immediately trashed the ranking of my Food Dryer blog. This has become a recurring problem for articles I’ve republished from article services. So… I’ve taken down the original article and have paraphrased it below. Because of this recurring problem, I will no longer publish the full text of previously-published articles in this blog.

I hope you’ll still visit; I’ll continue to post information about drying fruits, vegetables, and meats, and about the equipment available to help with these projects.

My Spin on 11 Ways to use a Food Dryer

An eZine articles piece describing 11 odd but practical uses for a food dryer offers… well, eleven suggestions for how you might use a food dryer. Please visit the original article for details. Here are the suggested uses:

1. DRY PASTA: When you make your own noodles, your dehydrator can dry them quickly.

2. MAKE INSTANT PASTA: Have you ever eaten Ramen noodles? They’re actually dehydrated cooked noodles. This explains why they cook so rapidly. If you dehydrate your own cooked noodles, they’ll rehydrate quickly in boiling hot water.

3. REFRESH CRACKERS: When crackers get soft or a bit stale, revive them with a stint in your food dryer.

4. HUMIDIFY: A food dryer pulls moisture from food, and blows it into the air. If your house is dry, you can add moisture to the air by dehydrating several plates of water.

5. MASK ODORS: Do you want to get that fishy or deep-frying odor out of your house? Run a few slices of orange, lime, lemon, or grapefruit in the dehydrator for several hours.

6. AROMATHERAPY: You can use your food dryer as an aroma therapy diffuser: use your favorite scented oils and herbs, place them in a small open container, and set it on a rack in the dehydrator for the duration of your aromatherapy treatment.

7. MAKE BREAD CRUMBS: It’s easier to make bread crumbs from old bread if you dry the bread thoroughly before grating it or processing it in a food processor. So, first leave the bread in your food dryer until it gets particularly arid..

8. MAKE POTPOURRI: The sky may be the limit on what you include in your own potpourri. Dry citrus peels, herbs, flower petals, and grasses, then mix them in your own blends.

9. MAKE FIRE STARTERS: Apparently, dried citrus peels contain enough oil that they burn very nicely. When you peel an orange, dry the peels thoroughly and add the finished product to your emergency survival kit.

10. SNACKS FOR YOUR PETS: Buy parts of animals that you’d never eat, such as ears, snouts, and feet. Process them in your food dryer, and they make terrific chew-treats for your dogs.

11. VEGETABLE AND FRUIT POWDER SEASONING: An Indian dish I particularly enjoy calls for mango powder, which isn’t available in stores where I live. I can buy whole mangos, slice them up, and dry them in my food dryer. Then I process them to powder in my food processor and I have mango powder. You can do this with any fruit or vegetable to create great seasonings you can’t buy in a grocery store’s spice section.

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Do You Have a Hidden Food Dryer?

Posted By: Daniel Gasteiger  //  Category: dry fruit, food dehydrator, food dryer, food drying, solar dryer

The first fruit chips I made in my toaster oven/food dryer were sweet, chewy, and delicious. I’ve never been a great fan of raw bananas, but it would be easy to snack all day on banana chips.

For years, I’ve wanted to have a food dryer. Out of sloth, I suppose, I haven’t gotten one. But while contemplating what to plant in my small kitchen garden this spring, my urge to have a food dryer grew intense: I decided to try dehydrating food in my oven.

On my way to the kitchen, it dawned on me: my toaster oven has a temperature-control knob. I wondered if I could set the temperature low enough to dry food without cooking it. Low and behold, the temperature knob had a setting marked DEH. It was designed to be used as a dehydrator!

Banana and Strawberry Chips

I cut 3/8 inch lengthwise slices from several strawberries, and then cut a banana into disks of about the same thickness. I laid these out on aluminum foil, slipped the foil into the toaster oven, and set the oven on DEH. Then I went to bed.

When I awoke six hours later, the strawberry and banana slices were dry on top, but very sticky underneath. With some effort, I peeled them off the aluminum foil, flipped them, and returned them to the toaster oven. Two hours later, I snacked on strawberry and banana chips.

I was amused to learn that I far prefer dehydrated bananas over fresh. Mine hadn’t dried crispy, and the slightly gummy chewiness was a huge improvement in texture over that of a fresh, raw banana.

More into the Food Dryer

While snacking on my first batch of banana chips, I cut up two more bananas, this time setting the slices on waxed paper that I had spread with a light coating of olive oil. The heat of the toaster oven’s DEH setting didn’t seem enough to damage waxed paper. In fact, mid afternoon, I had no trouble peeling the banana chips off and flipping them—and they came off easily that evening.

My enthusiasm for drying food has never been greater. While I continue to experiment with my newly-discovered food dryer, I encourage you to check your own kitchen gear. Running a conventional oven to dry food isn’t energy-efficient, but it will work. Alternatively, a toaster oven with a temperature control feature may hold the temperature low-enough (anywhere from 95F degrees up to about 150F degrees will work, depending on what you’re drying) to dry food without cooking it.

Conventional and toaster ovens develop hot spots, so you’ll have better results with a convection oven. You might also consider building a solar-powered food dryer; links at the end of this post lead to plans that may help you get started. Of course, the most efficient food dryer is a machine specifically designed to dry food. You’ll find many highly-praised models in my Food Dryer Store, powered by Amazon.com.

 

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