Dehydrating vegetables can save you money, reduce waste, and speed up your cooking. Once dehydrated, they take up very little room in storage and can last for years. We’ve created this guide to help you do everything you can to preserve nutrients before drying. For the most successful results, be sure to use fresh vegetables that are at their peak of ripeness.
Wash the vegetables to remove debris, dust or insects from the skin, this is especially important if you’re planning to leave the skin on. Dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. Peel the vegetable, if necessary, then remove any tough pieces of skin or stem, cutting away bruises and spots. Then pre-treat where recommended. Some vegetables can be washed and sliced with no further preparation necessary.
One of the keys to even drying is to ensure that everything is prepared to a consistent size and thickness. Depending on the size, shape and water content, you will need to cut your produce in different ways to properly dehydrate them. Cut, shred, or slice into small segments between 5mm and 10mm in thickness. Choose smaller lengths over larger ones to speed drying time. Some veggies like corn, peas, some varieties of mushrooms and chillies don’t need to be cut at all. For specific vegetables, refer to the chart at the bottom of this post.
A mandolin is a handy tool when preparing large quantities for drying and will allow you to slice in uniform thickness.
Pre-treatment refers to a range of processes done prior to dehydrating that help to retain colour and flavour, improve rehydration time and texture, and increase shelf life. Pre-treatment for vegetables is either cooking, blanching or steaming and is done to vegetables that you would not eat raw, or that are particularly tough or fibrous. Steaming and blanching produce the same result so the you can choose either method.
These processes expose the vegetables to heat long enough to deactivate enzymes that are responsible for the loss of flavour and colour during dehydration but do not cook them. Both methods soften the plant fibres so that moisture can escape during dehydration which speeds up the drying time.
Blanching: Soak vegetables in boiling water, making sure that the pieces are completely submerged for 2-5 minutes. Then plunge into ice cold water.
Steaming: Place vegetables in the basket of your steamer and heat water beneath. Steam for 2 to 5 minutes.
Place vegetables evenly in one layer on the Breeze trays, making sure that they do not overlap and restrict airflow. If possible, don’t combine strong smelling vegetables with milder tasting produce. Mixing fruit and vegetables is probably best avoided. Vegetables such as brussel sprouts, onions, and garlic will leave their signature smell in other produce in the dehydrator.
Also, don’t add new vegetables to your dehydrator while you have other produce mid-way dehydrating - this will cause partially dried vegetables to absorb moisture and slow down the process.
Because commercially frozen vegetables are already prepped, blanched and ready to go, they can skip pretreatment. Simply run them under cold water for a few seconds to separate the pieces, then chop to size, if necessary and arrange on the trays.
Drying times will vary, depending on the water-content of your produce, the thickness of the segments, and the weather. Dehydrating vegetables is something that should never be rushed. Higher temperatures may cause the outside of the vegetable to harden while the inside remains moist, causing spoilage.
Most vegetables should be dehydrated at a temperature of 75°C. The Luvele Breeze Dehydrator has a temperature range of between 25°C - 75°C, so you will never accidentally overheat your vegetable produce.
Certain textures indicate when a vegetable is sufficiently dehydrated. Crisp, brittle, leathery or pliable. See our chart below for specifics. If you see any moisture at all, put your produce back into your dehydrator to dry further.