Many people buy dehydrators with the sole intention of drying fruit, as it’s very expensive to buy ready-dried from grocery stores, and drying is a great way of ensuring your fresh fruit doesn’t spoil. But what about dehydrated vegetables? It’s certainly possible to dehydrate vegetables just as it is with fruit and meat, and there are a huge number of uses for them too.
Dried beans, peas, and pulses can be used for cooking (in stews and soups), and they’re also one of the easiest vegetables to dry. Other possibilities include tomatoes to be put on pizzas and in salads (but bear in mind that these are best when they’re peeled, as the skin goes tough once dehydrated) and mushrooms for pasta and pizzas too (do not wash mushrooms before you dehydrate, but instead rub the dirt or outer layer off with kitchen paper).
If you’ve never tried vegetable chips before then, you’re in for a treat with a vegetable dehydrator. You can dry thin slices of beets, zucchini, parsnip, swede, and carrot to make naturally sweet and crispy chips. Another great idea is to dry chili peppers that you’ve grown on a plant, and then grind them up to make chili flakes. You can then use it as a dressing (from a shaker) or sprinkle in sauces as they cook.
The 12 Best Vegetables to Dehydrate
- Beans, green: Stem and break beans into 1-inch pieces.Blanch. Dry 6-12 hours until brittle.
- Beets: Cook and peel beets. Cut into 1/4-inch pieces dry 3-10 hours until leathery.
- Broccoli: Cut and dry for 4-10 hours.
- Carrots: Peel, slice, or shred. Dry 6-12 hours until almost brittle.
- Cauliflower: Cut and dry for 6-14 hours.
- Corn: Cut corn off the cob after blanching and dry for 6-12 hours until brittle.
- Mushrooms: Brush off, don’t wash. Dry at 90 degrees for 3 hours, and then 125 degrees for the remaining drying time. Dry 4-10 hours until brittle.
- Onions: Slice 1/4-inch thick. Dry 6-12 hours until crisp.
- Peas: Dry 5-14 hours until brittle.
- Peppers, sweet: Remove seeds and chop dry 5-12 hours until leathery.
- Potatoes: Slice 1/8-inch thick. Dry 6-12 hours until crisp.
- Tomatoes: Dip in boiling water to loosen skins, peel, slice, or quarter dry for 6-12 hours until crisp.
- Zucchini: Slice 1/8-inch thick and dry 5-10 hours until brittle.
Before you can make these kinds of foods, you need to learn how to dehydrate vegetables. The principles are the same as with fruit: wash or rub clean with kitchen paper, remove the core if necessary (as with corn on the cob) or the skin (as with tomatoes and bell peppers), slice thinly and place in your dehydrator. Ensure that you remove any seeds, and if you are dehydrating mushrooms, then these should be dried at a lower temperature and for less time.
There’s no reason why you can’t dehydrate any kind of vegetable, and it’s well worth trying each one out to see which ones you like the best.
A vegetable dehydrator is also a very useful appliance for those who grow their vegetables, and sometimes have too many to eat before they go moldy. Store all of your dehydrated vegetables in zip-lock bags or Tupperware boxes in a cool, dry place, and they’ll keep for many months.