I'm prone to impulse buying, so I don't shop very often. However, if you're going to buy something to spoil yourself on your raw food journey.. I'd suggest an Excalibur dehydrator! I'll admit that I don't use it as often as I thought I would but I really think that's because we don't live in a very veggie- and fruit-friendly city. The only farmers market we were impressed with this summer is quite a drive from us, sadly. So, I know we'll keep the dehydrator and use it MUCH more when we move to a healthier part of the country.
If you like dehydrating herbs that you buy at the grocery store so they'll last longer, or buying fruits when they go on sale because they're almost too ripe, or just to make your own healthy dried fruit mix.. an Excalibur is the way to go. The drawers are huge, they slide in/out easily, and you can buy up to a 9-tray dehydrator.. that's what I did.. and let me tell you, it's amazing!
I wanted this post to be about dehydrating and how to make it easier, so I should probably get back on topic!..
The key, I think, is to just dig in and accept that you'll be spending the next few hours washing, slicing and dehydrating. I know I like to buy lots of one or two types of fruit to dehydrate. Then, I spend a few hours washing, slicing and arranging them on the trays. Voila! If you dehydrate a lot of your favorite foods at a time, then dehydrating will be worth it.
My hands have only just quit burning.. I've spent the last few hours in the kitchen slicing more garlic cloves than I can count (four trays worth!), as well as jalapenos and even kiwi and strawberries. I had no idea fresh garlic burns your skin if you touch it long enough!
We may decide to grind the dehydrated garlic into powder. I don't know yet. But I do know that once the jalapeno is dried I'll be grinding it in the coffee grinder. I just love jalapeno spice!
This last tray may not be beautiful.. but I bet it's going to be tasty! If you have kids or if you're like me and you love fruit roll ups, dehydrating is a great way to use fruit that you just won't have time to eat before it's bad. It's so easy, too! Just process (in a blender or food processor) and pour. I have two trays, that will yield two large fruit roll ups, made from pears and cherries that were getting too ripe. I can't wait to try them!
While all of these are dehydrating.. I actually have about 10 cups of freshly sliced pineapple marinating in the fridge. I filled the dehydrator faster than I expected today!
You know the beauty of un-cooking is that you can sample your foods as often as you like, without feeling guilty. So, of course that's what I did while chopping the pineapple and I was expecting a tart, strong, juicy bit of pineapple.. and was seriously let down. Win some, lose some I guess. But I had 3 pineapples sliced and ready to dehydrate.. what was I supposed to do? Well, I'll tell you!...
I drizzled probably 1/3 - 1/2 cup raw blue agave nectar on the pineapple and swirled it around. Agave goes so well with pineapple! So, I'll swirl around the pineapple in the agave and juice until the dehydrator is empty tomorrow.
Dried pineapple is definitely one of the best foods on earth!
Ever notice how packaged dried pineapple tastes like sugar and not pineapple? That's because it's mostly sugar! Dry your own and you'll actually taste the fruit. It's soooooooooooo good.. and worth the effort.