When I lived in Italy I used to go to the woods to pick up mushrooms; I would then clean and slice them, let them completely dry in the sunshine all scattered on a cloth and then store them in a glass jar. I did the same for herbs in the summer in order to make herbal teas during winter time. Drying is one the best ways to preserve fruit, vegetables and animal proteins and this has been practiced since ancient times.
Having said that when I moved to England that was no longer possible as you need strong and consistent sunshine for many days in order to dry food well.
I heard of a food dehydrator before but never really thought of getting one. Some people swear by them so when I received a Severin branded one from “Homespares” I put it to the test.
A food dehydrator removes moisture from food through heat using a flow of hot air.
Food dehydrators have become very popular over the years with experts recommending them as one of the healthiest ways to preserve food. They are cheap to run and you avoid all those chemicals and toxins you often get in industrially dried fruits and vegetables. If you read the labels of commercially dried apples you will often find Sulphur Dioxide added which acts as a preservative.
So here it is – my new toy:
I quite fancied drying bananas, apples and some strawberries I just bought at the market.
I began by washing the strawberries and peeling and slicing all the fruit as thin as possible. As soon as I did that I squeezed some lemon juice on the apples and on the bananas to avoid them oxidating and turning black during the drying process. Alternatively you can put them in a bowl with water and fruit juice.
Each fruit has different drying times. Apples usually take about 5 to 6 hours whilst bananas and strawberrries at least 8 hours.
After lightly brushing the trays with oil to avoid the fruit sticking to it, I placed my sliced bananas (approx 3 mm or 0.1 inch thick) and placed them on two of the trays.
Then the apples and the strawberries on another tray.
I also tried making kale crisps. I washed the leaves and removed the stalks. Drizzled them with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
And I arranged them on the two remaining trays.
I put the top on and switched the machine on and left it there checking every so often for “done-ness”.
And this is the result: I had crunchy banana chips and chewy moreish apple slices. I rather liked them!
So did the children when they returned home from school.
The kale crisps were incredibly crunchy, I had them with my aperitif with some white wine. Next time I will add some chilli to make them slightly spicy also I want to try drying tomatoes to add to my pastas and pesto.
This machine is really easy to use, it has just an on-off button and I really love its simplicity. Perhaps the only thing I could say is that it would be nice if it had a timer installed.
Also it promotes healthy eating and now it looks like I will be drying fruit all the time as my children keep asking for apple rings!
This gadget gets big thumbs up from me!
I was sent a “Severin” dehydrator to take part on the “Great Oven Ban Challenge”. All opinions are my own.