I would really like to purchase a dehydrator to dry veggies but would I know I would be more likely to eat them crunchy rather than soft. Can anyone provide me direction or reading material on how to get veggies crunchy? My sister in law tried it and she said the veggies got more on the hard side. I don't want to break my teeth either while eating them. Any suggestions? Also, can a very light brush of oil be used say on zucchini and sprinkled with seasoning? Thanks everyone for your help!
You may be thinking of that delightful consistency that comes with freeze dried items - light, crispy, crunchy. Not really going to happen with a dehydrator, I think. That hardness is a lot of the point of the dehyrdator - creating something that will stand up to longer term storage. A number of "dried" foods you may be used to have actually been fried first (like banana chips)
If I slice things quite thin, and dehydrate for a long time, the consistency might be called crunchy (rather than hard). Probably a semantics issue at that point! For snacking, I like to dry things to a leathery consistency. For storage and use in cooking, I dry them to that hard consistency. When I do peppers, I dry them hard, because I am going to grind them up.
I found this an extremely useful book "Mary Bell's Complete Dehyradator Cookbook" - lots of tips on how to prepare foods with dips and seasoning before drying.
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I have achieved crispy w/ BAKING - for instance - "kale chips". I think the fact that the oven is dry heat, and the kale is THIN, is what makes the difference. So... I'm thinking out loud here, what if you try slicing them very thin -- think potato chips -- (mandolin type slicer?) coat w/ oil then flavorings, and bake?? The other factor, is keeping them in a single layer, as best one can, I even drape them over the edge of the vessel.
3Tbsp Olive Oil2Tbsp Apple cider vinegar2Tbsp Agave nectar1/8-1/4tsp cayenne1tsp salt1 1/2 tsp garlic1 bunch kale torn or cut piecesPreheat oven 350.Mix all ingredients except kale in containerThen toss with kale to coat evenly.Spread on cookie sheet in one layer. Use 2 sheets or do multiple batches with one sheet.Put in oven for 8 - 10 minutesTake out and tossPut back in oven for another 8 - 10 minutes, keep an eye on them so they don't burnThis recipe is very user friendly, if you like it spicier add more cayenne, or none at all for sweeter.I leave out the garlic sometimes, try different spices.Less time in oven for softer, more time for crunchy.I found they got crispy really quick, and one can substitute whatever they like for flavorings. At the last potluck I had, they were the first to be GONE!
I have to agree with Red here. Baking achieves more crispiness than dehydrating. I've never really gotten anything crisp in the dehydrator (hard yes, but not crisp) without using some heat. Some dehydrators have a thermostat so you can adjust the heat, some don't.
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Zone 4 Central South Dakota