Wednesday, 11 June 2014

More Dehydrating

Welcome to Lavender Cottage from here and Colleen Nurse via Bloglovin.

Following on from my first trial, I set the machine up again, this time with sliced mushrooms and some Braeburn apple and Conference pear to fill up the spare trays:

Some of the apple and pear dried before the other slices. Even though I don't need to rotate the trays I do, that way I can check if individual slices are ready, rather than over-processing.

Here they are finished and packed into bags for the overnight check for dryness, all ok:
I chewed one of the mushroom slices, the flavour was intense. They were then put into a mini blender and turned into mushroom powder. Here are the finished products, plus an egg cup for size comparison. I think I have 4 or 5 tablespoons of mushroom powder:
Not much of the pear made it into the jar as we ate it. The apples were lovely with good flavour.

Now then, onto the great reveal. I have saved and thought about this product for years and didn't want to mess up buying one, that would be suitable for our needs. There are much cheaper products to buy, you pays the money and takes your choice.

I read this article before choosing (along with some others). I found it helpful. We bought, from them, the L'Equip Filter Pro as it was on special offer and reading from other sites, suggested it was the best for what we needed. We also decided the extra £30 from the base model to this one was also worth it. If I want to dry overnight, I like the idea of the timer and the fact it will then switch itself off!

Also regarding how much they cost to run, well, how long is a piece of string. Mine is a 530w, some are half that. We will all be on different charges (including the daily charge) of electricity so you need to use your own supplier's rate.

Here is the sum I did, dropping the wattage down to 500 for ease of calculation:

500w = 1 unit of electricity every 2 hours therefore a 250w dehydrator, would use 1 unit of electricity every 4 hours but you would probably need to dry for longer.

1 daytime unit of electricity = x pence. 1 night time unit = x pence (if you use it), daily standing charge = x pence

So far I am dehydrating for 8 - 9 hours, per batch, during the day. I will be changing onto the cheaper overnight rate when I am more used to it. We pay more than most on the day rate as we are on Economy 7.

Taking the 8 hours as an average use per batch, means I am using 4 units of electricity to process it.
Using the sum above means I know how much each batch is costing me during the day (or usually half that price during the night).

That means that my mushrooms, apples, pears and mango have not cost me an arm and a leg. I am not adding in the cost of the machine either, as for us, that is besides the point, if you see what I mean!

I can hear you nay-doers shouting, it is cheaper to buy them, but that is not why we are doing it. We want dehydrated food that is untreated (save for lemon juice/honey/water etc.). Also, we want to dehydrate surplus food and also the more unusual foods that are hard if not impossible to buy.

I have never found mushroom powder on sale, yet a pinch of that, adds intense flavour to things. The dried mushrooms left as they are, added to a mushroom risotto brings a different flavour to normal. We can eat the berries as they come out or powder them etc.

Have you found dehydrated Greengages, Gooseberries, Blackcurrants, Loganberries? No, neither have I. As for powder versions, never.

Hope this helps those of you that were asking. Oh Julee, by the way, it is very easy to clean. I dry it with a tea towel (not the motor part) then leave it to get bone dry in our red hot conservatory.

10 comments:

  1. Glad you are enjoying the dehydrator, you are getting a whole lot of use out of it already, just wait until the harvests of veggies come in :)

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    1. Not sure how many vegetables I will use but we'll see.

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  2. Thank you and thanks for the effort of working out the costing too, your what's known as a good egg ;) I may have to start a savings jar x

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    1. You are welcome, hopefully, I've worked it out correctly!

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  3. Hello! I couldn't resist following you on bloglovin', I think we live not too far apart :) I'm looking forward to following your adventures :)

    Colleen

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    1. I'm not expecting it all to be plain sailing, a bit of a learning curve methinks!

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  4. I have to say my dehydrator got alot of use last year and we are using everything we dried. The dried leeks, tomatoes and fruit leathers are probably my favourites so far, but the peppers have come in handy and the apples are great for a snack sat at the pc. Try them with a cinnamon dip then hide them! Mo x

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    1. I've heard a lot of people say cinnamon on the apples works well, although they do taste lovely as they are.

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  5. The more I'm hearing about it, the more I like it. I've never heard of mushroom powder but I'd imagine it would definitely give an intense flavour to dishes. Would you be using the dried fruits and veg to directly add to stews etc or would they be soaked in hot water to re-hydrate them first?
    Patricia

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    1. I'm hoping so. I don't know yet whether I would rehydrate before using or just add directly. I suppose adding directly would help mop up excess juices. Not sure how many vegetables I'll do as tomatoes are my main crop for drying.

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