Tuesday, January 6, 2015

DEHYDRATING: Frozen Fruits and Veggies

Dehydrating frozen produce is an extremely simple way to take advantage of sales, or to make room in your freezer. Very handy for soups and stews.

I posted a photo of some frozen mixed vege with a brief explanation of how easy it is to dehydrate frozen produce yesterday, but I wanted to expand on that a little more. Today, I'm doing the rest of the mixed vege, a bag of corn, and a bag of broccoli florets!

What makes frozen produce so convenient for dehydrating is that items needing to be blanched before dehydration have already been done so before freezing. Also, in some cases, like the mixed vege or potatoes, the produce has already been peeled and diced into small pieces. Depending on the size of your batch, you could be saving hours of prep time!

Small items like corn, peas, blueberries, potato dices or chopped mixed fruits and vege can be put into the dehydrator as is in a single layer. However, rough chopped things like broccoli and cauliflower florets or halved strawberries should be cut into smaller bite sized pieces for shorter and  more even drying.

In general, frozen fruits and vegetables take about 10-12 hours to dry in a 135 degree dehydrator. Some a little shorter, some a little longer, depending on the wattage of your machine and what temperature you have them set on. Around the 8 hour mark, start checking for doneness. They will be "crispy". Small dices will be hard like plastic beads.

Store your dehydrated goods in a clean, completely dry glass jar in a cool, dry, dark place. If you wish to store them long-term, put an oxygen absorber in the jar, or vacuum seal it. Without an oxygen absorber or seal they should last a minimum of one year. I've got green peppers, jalapenos and mixed vege over a year old now that are still good,

Well, that's all I have for now. With these subzero temps, I've been busy running outside to change out frozen waterers several times a day. Spring can't come fast enough!!!