Since I normally don't buy potato chips (too tempting to have in the house for me), I decided to dehydrate some zucchini slices. I tried a few other veggies/fruit from my overflowing garden as well. The BBQ zucchini flavor seemed the biggest hit in our house!
I tried various spices on my spice rack and taste tested them all for fun. I dehydrated a few other veggies and fruits just to try out new flavors! I have listed any spices you can try or you can use a prepackaged dry rub. You don't need to use them all, just the ones you like! Just throw them in a bowl with a splash of cider vinegar and olive oil to help them stay on the zucchini slices!
Total Time: just minutes to slice
Yield: 2 medium zucchini makes servings for two
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It is now the end of the season for local farmers markets so I am trying to stock up on my soup supplies. My Husband made me some racks to go into my oven and on these I dry my vegetables.
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How can you freeze dry fruit or vegetables for snacks without buying still another gadget?
It's not possible because proper freeze drying needs the right equipment to accomplish. Food is first quickly frozen, then almost all the moisture is removed in a vacuum chamber.
Here's an article of explanation:
A typical machine consists of a freeze-drying chamber with several shelves attached to heating units, a freezing coil connected to a refrigerator compressor, and a vacuum pump.
With most machines, you place the material to be preserved onto the shelves when it is still unfrozen. When you seal the chamber and begin the process, the machine runs the compressors to lower the temperature in the chamber. The material is frozen solid, which separates the water from everything around it, on a molecular level, even though the water is still present.
Next, the machine turns on the vacuum pump to force air out of the chamber, lowering the atmospheric pressure below .06 ATM. The heating units apply a small amount of heat to the shelves, causing the ice to change phase. Since the pressure is so low, the ice turns directly into water vapor. The water vapor flows out of the freeze-drying chamber, past the freezing coil. The water vapor condenses onto the freezing coil in solid ice form, in the same way water condenses as frost on a cold day.
This continues for many hours (even days) while the material gradually dries out. The process takes so long because overheating the material can significantly change the composition and structure. Additionally, accelerating the sublimation process could produce more water vapor in a period of time then the pumping system can remove from the chamber. This could rehydrate the material somewhat, degrading its quality.
Once the material is dried sufficiently, it's sealed in a moisture-free package, often with an oxygen-absorbing material.
Drying your own veggies is easy and does not necessarily require a dehydrator. Carrots, for example, can be sun dried. You will need shredded carrots, lemon juice, and hot sunny weather. Or try your oven on a low temperature setting. Dried veggies are quite useful in many recipes.