I recently got my tax return and I have been going over in my mind on what I want to spend it. I keep going back and forth, taking things off the list and adding them back on. One of the things that has jumped on and off of my list several times is an Excalibur Dehydrator. For those that do not know what a dehydrator is, it is an appliance that uses low temperatures and a fan to dry out foods. It removes the water but keeps most of the healthy stuff inside of it. It’s a great way to make snack food that curbs a craving (crunchy, chewy, etc) but is also good for you.
The problem I am having is do I really want to spend $200+ on an appliance that I may or may not use and love? This is about how much I spend on my sewing machines and, while I do love dehydrated foods, I wonder if there is an easier, cheaper way to do it?! So I decided to do a little research on how to dehydrate foods without an actual dehydrator. My first thought was the oven since I have one of those. It’s actually a lot more simple than I thought!
You would first set your oven to the lowest temperature possible. Then place your fruit/veggie slices or cracker/cookie mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or one of those non-stick mats. You want the oven door to stay cracked, so if yours won’t stay open on its own, you’ll need to figure out a way to prop it open. One other blogger suggested using some rolled up foil to prop the door open. Make sure you have a fan blowing into the oven so that there is proper ventilation. Otherwise, your foods could get soggy and gross! You’ll want to check your food every hour or two. Different foods take different lengths of time to dehydrate.
You can do pretty much the same thing with a toaster oven if you don’t have a full size oven, but make sure you realize that your food may dehydrate a little faster this way. If you are handy, you could even make your own solar food dehydrator which would be the cheapest method in the end since you only have to build it once and then the only power you need is the wonderful sun! Of course, we will have a tutorial for a solar food dehydrator in the near future! After much deliberation and deciding I don’t want to limit my dehydrating to night time (when my toddler will not be able to stick his hand in the open oven), I am going to create a solar food dehydrator. I don’t have a handy man around, so it might take me a while to get a good design created, but I will have it ready before the hot Texas summer arrives!
Do you have a dehydrator? What is your favorite snack to make?