The biggest advantage of dehydrated foods is that you can also dry and preserve your own foods at home. You can store many of your own garden herbs, vegetables and fruits this way. You can also purchase cheap seasonal produce and dry it at home. You don’t have to have a dehydrator to dry your foods. It can be an easy (fuel-less) method of food preservation and you can dehydrate almost anything – fruits, vegetables and meat (jerky)! You can make fruit leather, fruit chunks, banana chips, dried onions, tomato powder, sun-dried tomatoes, dried veggies, etc.
Thinly slice fruit or vegetables or puree for leather (recipe below). Place slices or fruit puree onto the trays and place in your car, oven, or in the sun (see below for instructions).
Easy Fruit Roll-Ups
Blend any combination of fruit in blender.
berries (for color)
applesauce (for sweetness or to extend your fruit)
lemon juice (to keep fruit from browning)
honey (to balance the tartness of the lemon juice or to add sweetness)
Pour into pan (at least ¼ inch thick). You want it to be thicker than you think! Wrap finished fruit leather in plastic wrap. Store in a dark, cool place. (Mine never makes it to storage – my family loves it!)
It MUST be a completely sunny, warm day to do this (85 or above). If it is overcast at all, it won’t work. Move your car out into a sunny place on your driveway or in the street. If your car has tinted windows, then make sure you put the trays in the front seats. The trays do not have to be in the sun. Leave your windows up and leave the trays alone. I've even driven around town with trays in the back. Your car will smell wonderful! It can take up to 2 days for items to dry. If after 2 days, items are not done, then move to oven method to “finish.” This method doesn't work in very humid climates.
On a dry, sunny day (at least 85 degrees), place thin slices onto trays and cover with cheesecloth (to keep the bugs off). Place in a sunny place (like on a porch). This method doesn't work in high humidity.