Dehydrating Failures… Sort Of…

I’ve been doing quite a bit of vegetable dehydrating lately. But I have to tell you that not all of my attempts have been successful.

The first “sort of” failure was celery (sorry, I can’t seem to locate my celery dehydrating pics). I think I cut the celery too thick, or maybe I needed to blanch it first. I’ll have to do some more research on dehydrating celery. The reason I know it’s a failure is because when hubby tried to rehydrate it at work for his Ramen soup, he didn’t like it. He said they were chewy and not soft. I tried to rehydrate some at home and came to the same conclusion. I didn’t want to throw them away… so I made celery powder out of them 🙂 and I’ll be using it as an ingredient for the green onion dip mix I’m trying to create.

The next “sort of” failure was Pasilla chilies. I saw fresh ones on sale at Food 4 Less a few weeks ago, so I picked up about eight or nine of them to dehydrate. I figured if I could dehydrate them myself, I might be able to save some money from buying those prepackaged ones from the Spanish markets. And I could remove the seeds and stems before dehydrating to make it easier to make the sauce for tamales.

Well, they did dehydrate, but they weren’t dark-dark red (almost black) like the pre-packaged ones. Hubby suggested roasting them before I dehydrate them. Again, I’ll have to do some more research on this. Or if you know how those pre-packaged ones are done, please tell me 🙂

The third and final “sort-of” failure was tomatoes. This week I found a fantastic deal in the 50% off cart at Fresh & Easy. I didn’t even know there was such a thing, and to my surprise I found five clam shell containers of Heirloom, Roma and yellow cherry tomatoes at the bottom of the basket for either .50 or .70 cents!!! (I will tell you that to take the best advantage of the 50% off cart, get there as soon as they open in the morning. I actually started pulling the tomatoes out of the cart before they had even been marked down… LOL! And there was tons of bread in the cart… so if you haven’t started or don’t want to bake bread at home… this might be an option for you to save money.)

Two days later, I decided to dehydrate those marked down tomatoes to see if I could make my own tomato powder. Heck, what could I lose, the tomatoes cost less than $4! So, I cut them up, put them in the dehydrator outside on my work table and………. I forgot about them….

…….. as you can see, some of them turned black and seem burnt. I think I know two other reasons why this happened. First, I didn’t clean the screens after dehydrating apples slices that I’d soaked in lemon juice. Second, I believe those black ones in the back tray were just cut way to thin. I tossed the really dark ones into the compost pile and put the rest into my little coffee grinder (which has now become my “turning-dehydrated-vegetables-to-veggie-powder” grinder).

The color was a little lighter than the Honeyville Tomato powder that I reviewed earlier, but I’m sure that’s because I had orange, red and yellow tomatoes mixed together. The powder smells really good. So maybe this really wasn’t failure after all.

Now therefore, it is already an utter failure
for you that you go to law against one another.

Why do you not rather accept wrong?
Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?
1 Corinthians 6:7 (NKJV)

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3 Responses to Dehydrating Failures… Sort Of…

  1. jj says:

    About the celery – we tried some freeze-dried celery once, and it was exactly the same as you described – tough and chewy, not soft like it should be. We’ve also experimented with freezing chopped celery, and it does the same thing if it’s been frozen – it gets really tough. Powdering it may be the best you’ll do in terms of preserving celery for use through the year.

  2. GrammyTammi says:

    I wonder if blanching the celery before dehydrating it would make a difference? I’ll have to try that and see if that makes a difference.

  3. Connie says:

    I dehydrate as much celery as I can because I love to use it in soups and stews. (Ditto for onions and carrots, though everyone complains about the onion fumes.) I’ve sliced it thin and I’ve sliced it really thin and it all comes out chewy. I ended up powdering the really thin ones, mostly because I just wanted to try that, but also because they were too thin for my purposes. You are right about the chewiness, but I don’t worry about that because they spend plenty of time softening in my soups and stews.

    Dehydrating tomatoes is a messy business, but I keep a blender jug nearby and toss all the odd bits in there along with the juice that flows out of the tomatoes when cut. After filling my dehydrator trays with nicely sliced tomatoes I puree everything else for the next load. I left a load of puree too long once, and it burnt–so it’s not true that you cannot burn something in a dehydrator! However, I like the taste of burned tomatoes so I stored the puree anyway–and used it up first in soups and stews. Hubby wanted me to can tomatoes last year so I didn’t dehydrate any, but this year I’m going to dehydrate again. Seems to me that canning tomatoes is a whole lot more expensive than buying them when you consider the yield, so I’d rather put my time into dehydrating them so I can choose to eat them like chips, powder them, break them up into soups/stews/smoothies, etc. as needed. Besides, if you keep the temperature low enough they qualify as raw!

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