I've always wanted a food dehydrator ever since I began to garden. Sometimes produce comes so fast there isn't any room left in the fridge, freezer, pantry, underneath the house, in the bathroom to the point where I have have to foist it on my husbands co-workers. Last year I didn't preserve at all which was a big mistake. It meant I was making tons of food for the right now..not for later. This year I'll be freezing, canning, and dehydrating.
The very first thing I made was Buffalo chicken jerky with left over raw chicken from the prior night.. The smell of the chicken as it was drying...unf....it drove everyone crazy. It was gone so quickly I wasn't able to take a picture of it. The second thing I dehydrated were strawberries on the verge of going bad. I figured at the very least my husband could use them in his oatmeal. The strawberries had a chewy/crunchy consistency. The taste was this unreal strawberry flavor with a huge burst of tartness. I could imagine them in muffins, pancakes, waffles, anything really. As it turned out today I wanted to make some cookies because Cupcake Bandit Madeline had been
pestering asking me for cookies for a few days. I was going to just make some shortbread when an idea popped into my head. Why not Strawberry Shortbread? Shortbread by itself is amazing. But Strawberry Shortbread? Forgetaboutit. It's like summer in your mouth..with this buttery, crunchy, and intense strawberry flavor. If you don't have a dehydrator don't worry as you can buy this stuff in your bulk foods section.
I have plans for my dehydrator. I'm going to make homemade yogurt. I'm so excited about it! I've wanted to make homemade yogurt for years. And Alan can't wait till the hot peppers grow so I can make dry rubs and mixes for cooking. The dehydrator comes with a booklet that tells you what temps you need for say beef vs. fish or veggies vs. fruit. They have recipes for brines but also for AFTER you dehydrate. Over all I'm very impressed.
I really want to thank the people at Excalibur for letting me try out their awesome product.
Do you have a dehydrator?
by Christine E. Mack
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
3 stick unsalted butter. cubed
1 cup of dried sliced strawberries
1/2 cup strawberry preserves
Preheat oven at 350 F. Butter a rectangular pan and set aside. In stand mixer, add flour, dried strawberries and salt. Pulse for 30 seconds. Next add strawberry preserves and mix on low until flour becomes pink. With mixer still on low add in butter a few cubes at a time. Once all in turn up mixer to medium and beat until it comes together to form a firm dough into prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. While hot cut shortbread into squares. Let cool for 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!