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PostPosted: August 14th, 2001, 11:53 pm 
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Joined: August 1st, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Kitchener, Ontario Canada
Is it possible to dehydrate foods without buying a dehydrator?


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PostPosted: August 15th, 2001, 1:25 am 
yes, you can use your oven. But it isn't very efficient. Over time, a dehydrater will pay for itself.

You could also try making one. You would need a fan, a heat source, trays, and some kind of box with air intake and exhaust at opposite ends or bottom and top.


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PostPosted: August 15th, 2001, 1:39 am 
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Joined: August 8th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Bracebridge, Ontario Canada
I've dried food's using several methods but one of the easiest is simply to use your oven, provided that it's electric and not gas. As the post above states, it is not very efficient but it is a way to get you started.

Using the oven method you can dry fruits and meats by placing them either directly on a cookie sheet or on racks placed over a cookie sheet, which is better. The racks that come with the stove are too widely spaced so they don't work well. If you put the food directly on the cookie sheet, you'll have to turn it at some point, usually a few times. I don't know where I got my racks but they are very cheaply made and I imagine I bought them at a grocery store--maybe they were meant for baking.

Place the cookie sheet and or racks in the middle of the oven. Open the oven door of the oven so that it is slightly ajar (around 1/2cm opening). You might have to wedge it but usually they just stay in that position. Now turn the oven on to about half way between it's lowest setting and off. To get the setting right you'll have to experiment. You don't want the food cooked, just heated enough to dry it. Just keep checking your food once in awhile to see if it's getting too hot. It should feel warm to the touch but not too hot to hold comfortably. It will take about 16 to 24 hours to dry most foods.

I dry ground beef, strips of marinated beef (jerky), fruit puree (fruit leather), cranberries and apples this way.

I've also dried banana chips on old screen windows (that have been thoroughly cleaned) in my kitchen. It wouldn't be good to do this in the summer if you don't have air conditioning. Just lean the screens against the wall on an angle so that they get airflow. If you have a fan going, even better.

Lastly, you can hang small strips of meat and fruit from your earrings or around your wrist as a bracelet. The combination of body heat and the airflow you create as you walk will dry the food as you go about your daily activities and the food makes for interesting accessories that are sure to get you noticed in the office. You can even colour co-ordinate, by leaving the skin on your fruit. Remember, unless you have multiple piercings, you'll have to prepare long in advance as you can only dry a few strips per day using this method :smile:


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PostPosted: August 15th, 2001, 7:05 am 
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Joined: June 22nd, 2001, 7:00 pm
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I prefer drying jerky in the oven over our dehydrator. There is less mess and it gets done quicker.

After marinating the strips hang as many as possible on bamboo skewers. Make sure to leave spaces between the strips. I usually get 7-8. (Pierced threw the top of the strips)

Put a cookie sheet or aluminum foil underneath to catch any drippings, this makes Momma happy. Hang the skewers on the top oven rack threading the jerky to hang down. Try to keep them from touching each other.

Put oven on 150 and leave door cracked open. A wadded dishcloth propped in the door is sufficent.

Keep checking and in a few hours they will be done.


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PostPosted: August 15th, 2001, 8:56 pm 
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Joined: June 20th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 375
Not that I'd recommend it... I knew a woman in Georgia who had a black station wagon she used as a dehydrator - just laid out racks in the back of it, parked it in the sun and came back a few hours later. The summer heat was enough to do the job.

You might be a redneck if...


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PostPosted: August 16th, 2001, 2:37 pm 
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Joined: July 2nd, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 248
Location: Hamilton, Ontario
The following is not necessarily the opinion of management - it is presented as editorial matter and is the sole responsibility of the writer.
*********************************

Why is it that canoers are such cheap SOB's?

I/we went through this stage and soon realized that good equipment was cheaper in the long run.

When you think of the amount you'll save in food expense over the life of a good dehydrator it becomes worth the investment.

Our Gardenmaster has allowed us to dry things that we were forced to buy previously.

The dried peaches and strawberries alone are a godsend in our oatmeal or 12 grain cereal. They're little bundles of flavour.

The dried veggies enable us to make a varied menu and add a lot of flavour to our pasta and grain dishes.

We've made and dehydrated pesto and humus with great results. Dried curry sauce and spaghetti sauce rehydrate wonderfully.

In the summer we set the dehydrator out on the deck in the sun while it does it's work. Therefore it doesn't need to heat as much and can just circulate air. Also we're not heating up our kitchen on hot days. On cold days in the fall we gladly move it indoors to get the apple smell through the house. (Don't do this with onions)

The temperature control allows the peace of mind of knowing that things are drying at the right temperature. Also the trays don't need to be rotated. We just check every few hours to see how things are going.

If you are interested in investing in a dehydrator get one with a heat control and a circulating fan.

Check out the listings on Ebay for some great deals. -
http://search.ebay.com/search/search.dl ... dehydrator

Questions and/or flames welcome at:
swarner@dartnell.com


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PostPosted: August 16th, 2001, 3:28 pm 
Scott

There are many of us , that will not buy something that we can make ourselves. Most of the time the finished product is just as good as a store bought article.
Just my opinion.


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PostPosted: August 19th, 2001, 6:45 am 
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Joined: August 17th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 13
Location: Peterborough, Ontario Canada
I once used an oven as the drying chamber but placed a small electric lamp inside, using its light bulb as the heat source. (Talk about a cheap SOB!)

Actually I did this because the dumpy apartment I was renting at the time had an evil stove that went from zero to way too hot. Unfortunately I can't recall the wattage of the bulb, or the drying time but I can attest to the successful results.


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