Tuesday, June 7, 2016

How to Dehydrate Frozen Vegetables


I went to a Meijer 40% off store closing sale and came back with a ton of frozen vegetables. I didn’t have  freezer space for them because I also loaded up on frozen seafood (a sad fact when you live in land locked Central Ohio.) My plan all along was to dehydrate the frozen vegetables, vacuum seal them in mason jars, and use them in crock pot meals. Our slow cooker is the hardest working member of the Lazy Budget Chef kitchen and Thunderdome.
 
I flip flopped about writing this tutorial because I was afraid it might make me sound like some sort of hoarder or weirdo. I could see the flood of comments on the post telling me buying a freezer is easier. True but our condo is small and we often have storm related blackouts.

We haven’t had a major power outage in awhile and I was lulled into complancity. As I was mulling over how to fit a chest freezer into our condo, our neighborhood had a three hour power outage as I was unloading the dehydrator on a beautiful sunny day.

I took it as a sign to write this post.
  
Next time if someone wants to send me a Sign you don’t have to go so such extremes. A text message will do just fine.

How to Dehydrate Frozen Peas, Corn, Onions, and Green Peppers


Pin this tutorial for later!

 


I am using a Nesco Snackmaster Pro dehydrator for this tutorial. Husband researched portable dehydrators and give me the Nesco because Consumer Reports rated it as the best. You may have to tweak the temperature and drying time depending upon the brand of your dehydrator and what frozen vegetable you want to dehydrate.



I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.  
 

1. If you don’t have Clean a Screen tray inserts for your dehydrator trays, you can use parchment paper. Or if you are too lazy to search for your Clean a Screen tray inserts (raises hand) lay a pieces of parchment paper over your dehydrator tray to use it’s outline to cut an insert with a pair of scissors.


I forgot to take a photo of the clean parchment paper screens before I loaded the dehydrator. Oops.

You don’t have to use the extra screens or parchment paper for this project but it helps immensely with cleanup! It also keeps small vegetables like peas from falling through the slates of the dehydrator trays while drying.

2. Fill your dehydrator trays with frozen vegetables. If you don’t want to defrost them you don’t have to.  Both the frozen or unfrozen vegetables will take a little longer to dehydrate since they have a higher water content than normal (ice, yo.)  No big deal. Seriously. No big deal.


 I overloaded my dehydrator trays and didn't leave space between the vegetables like you should. This is another reason why it took a little longer to dry my frozen vegetables.

3. Set the dehydrator temperature to 145 digress Fahrenheit and turn it on.

4. Due to the higher water content the vegetables may take up to 8 hours or longer to fully dehydrate. In all honestly I didn’t time mine. I loaded the dehydrator trays in the afternoon and let it go overnight and until the next morning when I had time to check on it and empty it.


 In this example I'm dehydrating frozen corn. I use the same step by step tutorial to dehydrate frozen peas, onions, and green peppers.



5. Fill glass mason jars with the dehydrated vegetables to use as needed.

I don't need a canning ring to store food in vacuum sealed mason jars but it keeps my labels (a circle cut from scrap paper or cereal boxes) in place.

6. For a longer term storage option, vacuum seal the mason jars using a Food Saver vacuum sealer. Since the electricity was out, I used my backup DIY hand operated vacuum jar sealer (read the tutorial on Lazy Budget Chef here.)



You don't have to use a canning jar ring on a vacuum sealed jar.
I do because it helps me keep track of the rings and keeps my paper label on the jar lid.


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