My first attempt at dehydrating!
A couple of weeks ago I ordered my first dehydrator. When it arrived by UPS I was in the process of getting ready for our impromptu mini vacation so I didn't have time to try it out before we left. The day after we returned I got out the dehydrator and prepared it for my first experiment with it. I was so excited!
I put one bag of frozen corn on two trays and set the temperature and time on it. I knew it would take at least 6 to 9 hours, but didn't get it started until about 3 in the afternoon. I had planned on letting it run all night, well at least until it shut off on it's own sometime during the night. As my bedtime approached, I was more and more Leary about letting it run all night long. After all, it was new to me and I just wasn't sure!
When it was finally time to go to bed I checked the corn and it looked like it was about half way dehydrated. At the time, I was really tired and was thinking I could just shut it of and then turn it back on in the morning and let it finish up. Well, upon awaking the next morning my brain was much clearer and my thinking was more up to par. I realized that if it wasn't fully dehydrated it probably wasn't a good idea to let it set out like I had. So, I checked with a dehydrating group on Facebook that I belong to and found out that my thinking that morning was correct. So, I dumped the corn and cleaned off the trays of the dehydrator. My first attempt botched! I didn't have another bag of frozen corn in the freezer so I had to wait until my next trip to the store to try again.
My second attempt at dehydrating
I finally made it to the store and brought home another bag of frozen corn the next day. This time I waited until the following day to put it in the dehydrator so I could start it out earlier. I may make mistakes, but I usually learn from them, lol.
I used a 12 oz. package of frozen corn that I bought at Walmart (see picture above-left). It took up two trays on the dehydrator. You can see a picture of the corn on one of the trays at the top of this page.
I spread the corn out on the two dehydrator trays, making sure they weren't piled on top of each other and put the lid on the machine. I set the temperature for 125 F and the timer for 9 hours. I had watched many videos on YouTube to figure out the temperature, time, and overall directions on how to dehydrate frozen corn. At around 4 hours I switched the trays around, putting the bottom one on top and the top one on the bottom.
The corn was done and ready to go after the 9 hours were up. As you can see in the picture on the right the dehydration process caused the corn to shrink down quite a bit! I put all the corn into a bowl and let it cool down; you should always let dehydrated food cool down before packaging it.
It was pretty close to my bedtime by the time the corn was done so instead of putting it in a bag and vacuum sealing the bag like I had intended, I put the corn in a zip lock bag and let it sit over night. Doing this also gave me the opportunity to check it and make sure there was no moisture left in the corn. With the zip lock bag sealed up it will cling to the bag if there is any moisture left in the food. Had there been any moisture left, I would have had to put it back in the dehydrator for a while. Thank goodness there wasn't any moisture because I was so ready for bed by that time! I put the zip lock bag of dehydrated corn into a big bowl and put a plate over top of it to keep it from being exposed to light.
I almost forgot to mention that before I put the dehydrated corn in the zip lock bag I was curious as to how much there actually was compared to what it started out as. I weighed it on my kitchen scale and found that the original 12 ounces had shrank down to 2.46 ounces! I wish I would have measured the frozen corn in a measuring cup before putting it on the trays, but I didn't...maybe next time. I did, however, put the dehydrated corn into a measuring cup and found that it was just under 1 cup (see picture on right) which I will divide down into 4 individual servings to be placed into our homemade MREs.
I vacuum sealed the dehydrated corn the next day and put it in a cool, dry, dark place to wait until I had a chance to test the re-hydration process.
That's it on my first (and second) time dehydrating. All in all, I think it went fairly well. I am definitely pumped to try more foods!
My next article will be about me re-hydrating the corn. I hope to do that within the next couple of days. I didn't want to do it right away because I wanted to make sure that the vacuum seal was good and didn't allow any oxygen back into the bag. I can be so extra cautious at times, but that's a good thing when it comes to food storage! Right?
In case you're curious Here's a link to the dehydrator that I purchased. Of course, I bought it on Amazon! I paid full price for it and then a few days later it went on sale. Go figure, lol. I don't know how long the reduced price will last, but it's a pretty good deal. I had to find the cheapest and best for the price because I am retired and live on a small fixed monthly income. There are definitely much bigger and better (and more expensive) dehydrators out there. Make sure you research them and find the best one for you and your family.
Until the next time...happy prepping, and God bless!