20131214-DSC_1735I sometimes get a little fixated on a specific food, usually something that someone else has cooked and shared with me.  That happened recently when my friend Sarah brought me a jar of cranberry granola.  And of course it wasn’t ordinary granola.  It was made with lacto fermented cranberry relish and then dehydrated.  So it’s not like I could just throw some together myself.  There was special equipment and time involved.  I thought about it for a few days, and then I decided that I had to order the “special equipment” myself.  I ordered a Pickl-It jar to make the cranberry relish in, and a dehydrator.  While I waited for my Pickl-It jar to arrive, my kids tested out the dehydrator on some pineapple and banana slices.  I didn’t even have to help.  Keats sliced everything up, read the directions (it’s very simple) and did everything himself.  After a process of several days to prepare the cranberry relish, my granola is finally in the dehydrator now.  I’ve been eating little bites of it, despite the fact that it isn’t dry yet.  I really love cranberries and the tangy, spiciness of the relish.  Added to granola, and then served on a bowl of yogurt, it’s really perfect in my opinion.  Beatrix would disagree.  She says it’s “too tart.”   Now I have to figure out what else to make with the dehydrator because I’m sure there’s a whole new world of things to try.  I was thinking that making some sort of jerky would be really good, especially when baseball season starts up this spring and I need lots of snack food.  Can anyone recommend a good book of recipes for the dehydrator?  I don’t really know where to start.

Oh, and look at those bananas hanging there!  I ordered a set of banana hooks sort of impulsively, thinking that if they worked it would free up some pantry shelf space, and they do!  They stick to the underside of the shelf and fold up when not in use.  I didn’t believe they would stay stuck, but so far they have.


  1. I have a tea garden and use my dehydrator to dry the herbs for my teas. It usually takes about an hour (or less) from garden to jar. Sometimes I will put a different herb on each tray, then all I have to do is strip the stems into a big bowl and transfer to a jar. Voila! Tea 🙂

  2. I don’t do anything fancy, but I love my dehydrator!!!
    We have a friend w/an Asian pear tree & those are amazing dried…also hichya persimmons – you let them get a little sift, but not really ripe enough to bite into…yum!
    We live in apple country, too, so in addition to making sauce, I dehydrate…
    Also, fruit roll-ups – made w/just fruit purée & my kid thinks they’re such a treat 🙂

  3. I’d love the recipe for the lacto fermented cranberry relish! I’m always trying to get my kids to eat more fermented foods and we need some variety.

  4. We have two of the excaliber dehydrators and they pretty much run non-stop all summer and fall. We start with straberries, cherries, almost every fruit really. We even dehydrate watermellon! My favorite book is Preserve it Naturally. It goes over what fruits are best for dehydrating, granola, jerky, soup mixes and craft projects!

  5. Hmm, it might have helped if I actually posted the link for the kraut kap! Haha, my apologies!

    God bless and Merry Christmas!

  6. Hi Ginny! If you love your pickleit jar, you should pop over to this amazon storefront and check out their kraut kaps and other jars and fermenting accessories. The owner is a Catholic mama friend of mine and I have some of her products and love them! I love our dehydrator and am always experimenting with it. Have fun with yours!

  7. My favorite things to make in the dehydrator are (1) broccoli chips, (2) kale chips, (3) Onion Bread and (4) raw granola. When I make the kale chips, my husband eats them all before I can have any. He loves them and he doesn’t like cooked greens at all.

  8. We dry all kinds of fruit for snacks. I use to know how to dehydrate homemade pasta so it could be stored but I’ve lost the recipe (as much as I love homemade fettucine I can’t bring myself to hand crank that machine more than a few times a year so that was a great find). Dried herbs for the pantry are nice, but my mum has used ours to dry lavender and flowers before too which drives me nuts because a house reeking of lavender just makes me want to sleep. She dried her wedding bouquet in one though and its still intact and pretty.

  9. This is an awesome dehydrator site

  10. One of my daughter’s likes yogurt dehydrated. It makes it kind of like a “fruit snack” which we don’t buy from the store. The other daughter thinks it’s disgusting. We spread it very thin on parchment paper and simply put the parchment paper in the dehydrator. Fun to experiment with.

  11. My oldest son is always making jerky for us! He slices the meat thin and then marinades it in his “secret sauce” overnight. Then it goes in the oven for a few hours. (we don’t use a dehydrator) Right now, we’re loving lamb and venison jerky. Yumm….

  12. Dried pears are my favorite thing to do in the dehydrator – Bartletts especially, but any pear will do. The pears should be really ripe for the best flavor. I do batches all fall and winter. You’d think they’d be similar to apples, but they’re not – the texture is chewier and they get sweet and perfume-y when dried in a way that apples usually don’t.

    Also, try dipping banana slices in a honey/water/cinnamon mixture before drying them. So good!

  13. and now I want a dehydrator….I love cranberries and the tart taste so that granola is probably something that I would enjoy.

  14. That cranberry relish looks amazing! I’ve gone back and forth with the decision to purchase a dehydrator for so long. I always think I’ll probably get tired of it and it will end up in the garage, a forgotten item! Maybe this summer my garden will produce enough to give me an excuse.

  15. Oooh… I’ve always wanted to try using a dehydrator! The granola balls look amazing too!

  16. We have a dehydrator and love it! We use it to dehydrate fruits and vegetables, but probably use it the most for jerky. My husband seasons it with whatever he likes – salt, pepper, paprika, a dash of cayenne and lime juice – and probably other spices as well – and let’s it marinate over night before dehydrating. If your trays come out, you can also use it to make yogurt if you make your own. It’s a great way to keep the yogurt at a constant temperature. We also soak and dehydrate nuts. We love our dehydrator! Have fun experimenting!

  17. You might check out Linda Zedrich’s blog, and her books. She writes extensively on preserving foods…

  18. Every year I dehydrate all my extra bell peppers and hot peppers. I like different colored bells so grow all the colors . Just dice them all up and spread on the dehydrator sheets. When dried store in canning jars. I make some just bell peppers and then mix the hot dehydrated ones with bells for my hot mix. I use these all winter long in meatloafs, casseroles, scrambled eggs, hamburgers etc. Love them!!!

  19. how fun!

  20. Dehydrators are such fun! We have been using one for a number of years. Apples, cucumbers, loads of herbs and jerky. The best books are by Mary Bell! I was lucky enough to take a class from her at a woman’s weekend (she is from my home state – Minnesota) and it was wonderful!

    Will be giving the cranberry granola a try! Thank you!

    Many blessings,

  21. I have that same dehydrator. I really like it. I use it for jerky and any other fruits I feel like drying out – especially if they are on sale and don’t freeze well.

    For recipes, I just Pinterst them. Jerky is like soup – you just add what you have on hand.

  22. Hi – I am about to move to a home in the Welsh mountains and as part of my fresh start I want to start preserving food and so this post has been really interesting especially the comments suggesting books to read about it. I am looking forward to seeing for what kind of things you use the dehydrator. Lily, xxx

  23. I have one of Ani phyos raw food dessert books…lots of yummy dehydrated snack ideas in there. I made strawberry macaroons I think once that turned out a hit.


  24. In addition to the books already suggested, I’ve found Youtube’s how-to videos very helpful when I was learning about dehydrating. The best beginner videos I found are Dehydrate2store’s multi-part series on dehydrating various foods.

    After that the options are pretty slim. There are a lot of videos, but the results tend to be of the “I’m going to dehydrate apples today, here they are, cut up, and now here they are all dried!” variety then good educational hows/whys. But if you hunt around you can find more about the how-it-works of it all, and how to use the dried foods in meals.

    For how-to-use I found the best stuff seems to come from campers and preppers. General cooking video-bloggers, TV chefs, and others will have the odd video or two on how they made fruit roll ups or jerky, or veggie chips, but that’s about it. Campers and preppers on the other hand have detailed overviews on soup mixes, dehydrating leftovers from dinner like the leftover spaghetti, and prepackaging the dried goods of a recipe for a meal to just add water to and cook.

    Linda’s Pantry/255sage has a Lot on using your dried foods. I particularly like her “meal in a jar” dried food ideas. She sort of falls into both the camping and prepping groups, but her videos are mostly about time and money saving for family cooking using dehydrated, canned, and frozen foods.
    To find more like hers the term to search for is “meal in a jar” and “meal in a pouch.”

  25. I think my comment got lost…I wrote that you should not follow the guidelines for temp when it comes to fruits and vegs and maybe nuts. I think you are supposed to dehydrate below 100 to preserve the enzymes (something I recently found out).
    We love dehydrated kiwi chips for trips. They taste like jolly ranchers! If you have a mandolin this goes really fast. I think a mandolin is pretty much a necessity with the dehydrator.
    Meringue cookies are amazing in the dehydrator. I saw a recipe using the dehydrator in Nourishing Traditions, I think. But I don’t like the kind with arrowroot, just the suggestion to use the dehydrator.
    dehydrated zucchini chips are surprisingly good. A nice nonsweet snack.
    Of course properly prepared nuts and sprouted grains are easy to dry out in the dehydrator.

  26. I love to dry things, too. We will be drying some Granny Smith apples today. My daughter is trying to talk me into pineapple. We have done jerky, but it took a while for my dehydrator to recover. If I did it again I would have dedicated trays because even after multiple cleanings in HOT water and lots of soap the plastic was smelly and slightly greasy. Good luck. Merry Christmas.

  27. A few recipes I’ve tried in our dehydrator and some I want to try…Basic raw cracker recipe | The Rawtarian,, Raw Corn Chips,, Basic Jerky, And this fabulous salmon!!! I buy the frozen wild caught salmon fillets at Trader Joe’s allow them to partially thaw and slice while still very firm before marinating. So good!
    I second the fruit leather idea. Lots of great recipes out ther. My daughter loves applesauce fruit leather, couldn’t be easier… We also soak and dry all our raw nuts in the dehydrator for better digestibility.
    Oh, and a timely idea…we just made cinnamon/applesauce Christmas ornaments and dried them overnight in the dehydrator. The house smelled like Heaven!

  28. Glad the kids are enjoying the dehydrator. I have not seen the banana hooks that go on shelves, but very cool. We have a wooden one that has a base that sits on the counter. I’m pretty sure I bought it at a big box store a few years ago. I don’t have a recipe, although I’m sure you could find one online somewhere, but my MIL used to make jerky in the oven for my husband and his brothers. (sjn821 on Rav)

  29. Isn’t it wonderful having a child that is old enough now to do so much independently.
    I love it when my older ones pick a project, look up how to do it, and then just do it.

  30. I love your banana hooks.
    Would you mind telling me if they are plastic?
    I try to do without plastic.

    I borrowed a book from the library called “Jam it, pickle it, cure it” by Karen Solomon. There is a recipe for beef jerky (that I did not try yet) but it looks really easy. And if you are into spicy, there is also a recipe called “severely hot sauce” that I really want to try too.

    and happy Solstice

  31. We dehydrate fruits of all sorts all summer and then my kids add them to a bowl of granola, cereal, ice cream or yogurt. I have dehydrated onions and peppers and thrown them into soups and stews. The possibilities seem endless. My dehydrator came with a recipe booklet that I use. I have this one

  32. I have a very simple dehydrator that I got at a yard sale, and I use it for tomatoes! It’s so wonderful to have one’s own dried tomatoes to put in pastas and salads in the winter.
    I also dry herbs in it. If I get good pears (that aren’t a pain to cut apart because too small or deformed), I dry them as well.
    It’s great to see your kids using it!

  33. Once buying mangoes started to get expensive, my dehydrator most consistently saw herbs from the garden:)

  34. Tomato chips are my favorite. Also apples–yum! And if you have a glut of peppers in your garden, dry them to make batches of hot sauce later.

  35. I got a dehydrator last year but just used it for the first time this summer since I was so sick and pregnant when it came as a gift that I just couldn’t conceive of food smells for a while.

    I dehydrated apricots and they are DELICIOUS – they turned out really different than store-bought dried apricots; of course, better, as most homemade things are. Dehydrated apple rounds are one of my other favorites and I am glad for the reminder since I gleaned a ton of apples and they are sitting in our root cellar right now… and dried bananas from the store can’t compare to the ones we’ve made here. I also used it to dry my pumpkin seeds and they are sitting in the pantry waiting for me to figure out what to do with them. I have been amazed at all the things I can potentially use it for. I will be following the comments to see how others use theirs!

  36. If you happen across a good deal on mangos, slice them up, dip them in orange juice, and dehydrate until leathery. So good and never lasts long enough at our house as we all love them. 🙂

  37. These cookies are fabulous: Also, with dehydrating bananas, I always made them into banana chip type things, that is until a friend of mine shared some she had made with me. She sliced them thick, sprinkled cinnamon on top and just dried them until they were chewy- they were seriously like candy. Kale crispies in the dehydrator are yummy and yam chips. I miss my now broken and yet to be replaced dehydrator!

  38. My dad was (and still is) an avid mushroom hunter, and would always dehydrate his mushrooms after a big/lucky harvest. Very easy to re-hydrate them to use throughout the year that way. Have fun!

  39. This is weird because I just ordered a dehydrator too, and it was supposed to come in the mail yesterday, but it got delayed. Hopefully today!

    I’m wanting to do this: with mine because my hubs gains weight so easily with bread, and I’m hoping to find away to not completely remove it from our diet. Lacto-fermented cranberry granola, though? OH MY GOODNESS this is going to be awesome.


    Check out my post on getting the SAME dehydrator as you and making fruit leathers. They are awesome for snacks but the hardest part is not eating them immediately. I’m glad you’re having great success, and cranberries are WONDERFUL. 🙂

  41. I have to second the jerky. We make it for our boys outdoor classes. They come back from a whole day of outdoor fun with full lunchboxes but when I send along dehydrated meat, fruit and veggies they eat it all. So much easier than making a hot meal and packing it, then cleaning it out after.

  42. My parents have made venison jerky in a dehydrator just like that for years! It’s one of my favorite treats:) I think they just soak it in a terryaki marinade for a few days and then dry it. SO GOOD. You will never want the store bought kind again.

  43. Elisabeth (Libby) Tsubai says:

    “Dry It You’ll Like It” is an excellent book and my favorite, by the makers of the Living Foods Dehydrator (an excellent option to build or buy if you want/need to expand your drying capacity).

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