Table 1

How to Prepare Vegetables for Drying

Vegetables Preparation Recommended
Storage Time

Beans, Snap Wash, snap off ends and cut diagonally to expose most surface area into 1 or 1/2 inch lengths. Water blanch 3-4 minutes. Steam blanch 4-6 minutes. Dry. 70 ° F
3-4 months
60 ° F
4-6 months

Beets Remove tops leaving 2 inches of top and wash. Steam until almost tender. Peel. Cut into strips 1/8-inch thick and dry. 3-4 months 4-6 months

Carrots Top, wash, and scrape. Dice or slice 1/4-inch thick. Water blanch 3 minutes, steam blanch 4 minutes. Dry. 4-6 months 6-8 months

Celery Wash, cut stalks crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Water blanch 1 minute. Dry. 1-2 months 2-4 months

Corn Husk, remove silks and trim ends. Steam blanch whole ears of corn 3 minutes. Cut kernels from cob after blanching. Dry. 3-4 months 4-6 months

Tomatoes Dip in boiling water to loosen skins. Slice crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices and dry. 3-4 months 3-4 months

Onions Wash, remove outer paper skins. Remove top and root ends. Slice into quarter sections 1/4-inch to 1/8-inch thick. No blanching required. 2-4 months 4-6 months

Peas Wash, shell. Water blanch 2 minutes. Steam blanch 3 minutes. Dry 3-4 months 4-6 months

Peppers and
Wash, cut out stem, remove seeds and partitions. Dice or slice. No Blanching required. Dry. 6-8 months 8-12 months

Potatoes Wash, peel, remove deep eyes, bruises, and green surface coloring. Cut in ¼- to ½- inch cubes. Blanch 5 minutes over water containing 1 teaspoon sodium bisulfite per cup of water until translucent but firm. Rinse to remove gelled starch. Dry. 2-4 months 4-6 months

Summer Squash Wash, peel, slice 1/4-inch to 1/8-inch thick. You can grate zucchini for use in soups. Dry. < 1 months 1-2 months

Mushrooms* Clean and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices and dry. No blanching required. 1-2 months 2-4 months

* Warning. The toxins of poisonous mushrooms are not destroyed by drying or cooking. Only an expert can differentiate betweeen poisonous and edible varieties.

Real Cooking

Did You Know?
A food dehydrator is an appliance that removes moisture from food to aid in its preservation. A food dehydrator uses heat and air flow to reduce the water content of foods. The water content of food is usually very high, typically 80% to 95% for various fruits and vegetables and 50% to 75% for various meats. Removing moisture from food restrains various bacteria from growing and spoiling food. Further, removing moisture from food dramatically reduces the weight of the food. Thus, food dehydrators are used to preserve and extend the shelf life of various foods.

A food dehydrator's basic parts usually consist of a heating element, a fan, air vents allowing for air circulation and food trays to lay food upon. A dehydrator's heating element, fans and vents simultaneously work to remove moisture from food. A dehydrator's heating element warms the food causing its moisture to be released from its interior. The appliance's fan then blows the warm, moist air out of the appliance via the air vents. This process continues for hours until the food is dried to a substantially lower water content, usually fifteen to twenty percent or less.

Most foods are dehydrated at temperatures of 130 degrees Fahrenheit, or 54 degrees Celsius, although meats being made into jerky should be dehydrated at a higher temperature of 155 degrees Fahrenheit, or 68 degrees Celsius, or preheated to those temperature levels, to guard against pathogens that may be in the meat. The key to successful food dehydration is the application of a constant temperature and adequate air flow. Too high of a temperature can cause case hardened foods; food that is hard and dry on the outside but moist on the inside. FREE Recipes