Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Nesco Dehydrator

I had my first experience with a dehydrator.  They sure are easy to use!  My only critique is there isn’t an on and off switch; it’s either on or unplugged each time I move the food to a different tray.  I used a mandoline to slice the sweet potatoes and loaded up the dehydrator.  Super easy!  Although, I followed a suggestion in the booklet to microwave the sweet potatoes to do whatever it said – I can’t remember the fancy reason why.  It made the sweet potatoes sweat, so I’m not sure if it shortened the dehydration process or not.  The sweet potatoes took FOREVER in the dehydrator!!  I expected them to take about 6 hours since the booklet said carrots take 6 hours.  I think they were in the dehydrator for about 8 hours.  The oven only takes 3 hours, but there is less user error and I don’t have to think about it if I use the dehydrator.  I guess depending on the amount of time I have to make more Ruger (our dog) treats will determine the method of drying I use in the future.  PS I bought a bag of “Natural Sweet Potato Rawhides” for $7+ to see how different they are to what I make for Ruger. 
The bag I bought only has about 10-15 “rawhides”, they are soft, not crunchy at all (not a good or bad thing, just a difference) and only last about 15 seconds when Ruger gets a hold of one.  I’ll stick to making them myself.  For only a few dollars I can make dozens of treats; 3 sweet potatoes filled the 4 trays in the dehydrator and 2 pans for the oven.
(This is before the shrink up)  If you want to try the oven version - Cut the sweet potatoes into rounds or the long way for longer treats.  We like the "chips".  Cut them about 1/8-1/4 inch thick (a mandoline is very helpful as sweet potatoes are tough to cut).  200 degrees for 3 hours, flip at 1 1/2 hours.  Make sure to watch them towards the end of the cook time so they don't burn.  I've tried different thicknesses and cook times, so you may have to tweak the temperature and/or time a little.

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