We are switching to a nutrient rich diet and I’m starting to find my groove in food preparation. Fresh is best, but I now buy some of our cooking staples in a larger quantity, dehydrate them at their freshest and take my time to finish them up without suffering a lot of nutrient loss.
I also made snacks out of nutrient rich foods or our favourite fresh foods, so that we can cut down on processed snacks. The good thing is, dehydrated snacks tastes good! This is Joy enjoying a handful of freshly dehydrated corn (she was eating them in huge bunches!).
It makes more sense if you dehydrate a lot at one go (I dehydrated 20 packets of mushrooms – they fit into my machine all at one go), because the peeling, slicing and cleaning takes some work. It also takes long hours to dehydrate food, around 4 to 12 hours at low temperatures.
Food shrink considerably when dried, so you’ll be left with a substantially smaller portion of food than you started with – thats how much water content there is in raw foods. For example, below I have 2 packets of french beans, 2 packets of Watties brand frozen corn and 4 carrots. It was a lot of food before they were dehydrated, but now they can all fit into my pantry easily.
I have tried dehydrating kale, long beans, carrots, corn, strawberries, mushrooms, garlic and onions. I find that dehydrating amplifies the natural sweetness of fruits and vegetables and also makes food like mushrooms, garlic and onions more aromatic.
Kale chips satisfy our crave for something crispy and salty. Corn chips are very sweet and carrot chips curl up like little flowers when dried if you slice them too thin.
You can dehydrate mushrooms and onions into the size or cut you normally use for cooking and then rehydrate the mushrooms or have cut onions readily available for cooking. Alternatively, you can blend them into powders to use in cooking. I was willing to do all that work because it was an investment for convenience in my day to day cooking.
If you’re keen to explore dehydrating your food as well, here’s a resource list to get you started.
What should I look for in a Dehydrator?
Temperature adjustment controls
Some dehydrators come with temperature adjustments of just low, medium and high. Try to avoid that and get dehydrators which allow you to adjust the drying temperature specifically.
BPA free trays will enable you to dehydrate foods directly on the trays. However, if the trays are not BPA free, the work around will be to use baking paper on the trays, just poke some holes on them to allow the dehydrator to do its work.
Some dehydrators can be very noisy. Mine is so quiet, I can leave it on overnight and not have it disturb our sleep, that is very important, because you will want to utilise sleeping hours to dry food.
Access point to see food
My dehydrator is stacked and does not have clear covers. I have to lift up each tray to check the drying progress.
Where do I buy a dehydrator?
TOTT store (Facebook Page here)
K-Industrial Pte Ltd (Website here)
Frunatic (Website here)
Amazon (Please use my code: ESTEL1050N!)
Taobao ( Is it safe? Well, my friend uses a dehydrator from taobao, just make sure you read the reviews carefully)
OpenTaste is a farm to table online fresh produce grocer. They only harvest when you order. Delivery will not happen the next day because of that, it takes about 2 days longer but I’m willing to wait, because the produce is very fresh. I buy Kale, Onions and Garlic from OpenTaste. Kale because they are most affordable at $3-$4 a bundle (my dehydrator is pretty large and it can do 3 bundles each time). Onions and Garlic, because they do not originate from China (I’m playing safe, since my intended use is to turn them into slices / powder for cooking). Other than Kale, produce from OpenTaste may not be the cheapest, but I am very satisfied with the freshness. Orders above $39 qualifies for free delivery. Use my code “2293DE” to get $15 off (I get $5 as well!).
PurelyFresh (now collaborating with SgVegetables)
You can get Mushrooms that do not originate from China from PurelyFresh. Its a pity I didn’t check their website before I bought mushrooms elsewhere. I’ve worked with SGVegetables before and I find their inventory fresh, so I’ll be ordering from them when my supply of dehydrated mushrooms have been depleted.
RedMart carries Garlic that do not originate from China and it is a lot cheaper than you can get on OpenTaste, although it is probably not farm to table.
Wet Markets / Supermarkets
You are so blessed if you can find fresh produce from a source you trust in your wet markets or supermarkets, I couldn’t find the garlic, onions or mushrooms I was looking for.
Dehydrating is not uncommon in other countries and it is not as uncommon in Singapore as you may think. There are plenty of resources online on dehydrating, including a number of local references, just do a search and learn away. It’s good to have that information, but gentle reminder to exercise common sense – check the source, digest the information entirely before applying it to your own needs.
Some photos of my dehydrating process (hour by hour) and ingredients used were uploaded on my Dayre, have a look if you like. If you come across good dehydrating resources on the internet, please share!
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