Food dehydrators can be the ultimate multi-tasking tool in your kitchen. Go beyond drying fruits and vegetables with these ten creative ways to get the most out of your food dehydrator.
Crispy Nuts and Seeds: Soaking and drying nuts and seeds reduces phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors which can prevent absorption of nutrients. Many nuts (walnuts, almonds, etc.) should be soaked overnight in salt water and then dried at no more than 150°F for 12 to 24 hours until nice and crispy. A bonus: Soaked and dried nuts and seeds often taste better.
Sprouted Flour: Make your own sprouted flour using your food dehydrator. Sprouted grain kernels must be dried at a low temperature prior to being ground into flour. Click here for a great tutorial (including a video) on making sprouted flour.
Yogurt: Instead of having a yogurt maker that takes up counter space and does only one task, your food dehydrator is perfect for this task. With a cube-shaped dehydrator, many sizes of jars can be used to make yogurt. Although temperature requirements can vary depending on the specific culture, generally 110°F will set yogurt properly. Tip: Make individual servings by pouring the yogurt mixture into wide-mouth half-pint canning jars. Use the dehydrator trays to create multiple levels for the maximum amount of yogurt per cycle.
Jerky: Making jerky is easy with a food dehydrator. For jerky using strips of sliced meat, tofu, or kombucha scobys (yes, you can do that), the plastic or metal trays in the dehydrator are typically sufficient. If using ground meat, we recommend using non-stick sheets (such as the Paraflexx sheets made by Excalibur) or unbleached parchment paper.
Proof Sourdough: Keep your sourdough starter warm and happy during the cool winter months using your food dehydrator. Generally a setting of around 75°F or 80°F works best. If your dehydrator thermometer doesn't run that low, you may be able to maintain that temperature by taking off the door of the dehydrator. Use a thermometer set inside the dehydrator to double-check the temperature so you don't cook your sourdough starter.
Natto: Natto is a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soybeans. It is a rich source of protein, beneficial bacteria, and vitamin K2. Natto must be fermented at around 100°F for 22 to 24 hours, making a food dehydrator an easy way to keep the culturing Natto nice and warm. Click here to learn more about making natto.
Pemmican: Pemmican is a traditional food often made by Native Americans. It normally consists of ground meat, animal fat (such as tallow), dried fruit, and salt. Click here for instructions on making pemmican.
Fruit Leather: Making fruit leather is simple using a food dehydrator. We do recommend some sort of non-stick sheet to make removing the fruit leather easier. The Paraflexx sheets from Excalibur work well as does unbleached parchment paper which you can find in most grocery stores. Tip: Kick the nutritional value of your fruit leather up a notch by first culturing your apple sauce. Click here for a recipe on how to make lacto-fermented apple sauce that can then be used to make fruit leather.
Tempeh: Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian food made from fermented soybeans that binds the soybeans into a cake-like form. Tempeh is a good source of protein, fiber, and vitamins. Fermenting tempeh requires keeping the cake mixture at around 88°F for 24 to 48 hours making a food dehydrator a useful tool for making Tempeh. Click here to learn more about making tempeh.
Granola: Make soaked or sprouted granola using your dehydrator. Click here for an easy and tasty granola recipe using soaked and dried seeds and sprouted flour.