Prepping Your Vegetables for Drying
For dehydrating vegetables, set your electric dehydrator to 140°F (60°C). Remember, thinly sliced vegetables will dry faster, and if you get all the pieces roughly the same size, they will dry in approximately the same amount of time.
Most vegetables should undergo a pretreatment, such as blanching or dipping, before dehydrating because they dry faster and last longer. If I'm going to spend weeks growing beautiful vegetables, I can take a few more minutes to dry them correctly.
Blanching is briefly precooking food in boiling water or steam. It stops enzymatic reactions within the foods, which slows down decomposition. Blanching shortens drying time and kills many spoilage organisms.
Steps for Steam Blanching Fruit and Vegetables
Adapted from Virginia Cooperative Extension.
Use a steamer or a deep pot with a tight-fitting lid that contains a wire basket or could fit a colander or sieve so steam can circulate around the vegetables.
Add several inches of water to the steamer or pot and bring it to a rolling boil.
Loosely place vegetables into the basket, no more than 2 inches deep.
Place the basket into the pot. The vegetables should not make contact with the water.
Cover and steam the vegetables for the recommended time (Table 2).
Remove the basket or colander and place it in cold water to stop the cooking.
Drain and place the vegetables on a drying tray.
How do I know when my vegetables are completely dehydrated?
At least 90% of the water is removed from vegetables when they are completely dehydrated. They should snap/break cleanly and be brittle. This may take longer than the listed times, depending on the humidity levels.