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A few years ago I bought a dehydrator. It wasn’t an expensive one, I bought it from Tchibo for £25 but its incredible what you can do with it.
I keep my eye on the reduced section in the supermarket and often see tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers etc reduced down to a few pennies. Now I used to wonder how I could use these things up in a short period of time. There’s a limit to how much food you can give the family at once!
So I came up with the idea of drying and storing them. I started off drying them in the oven but when I came across the dehydrator I grabbed it at that price.
I dry them and pop them in separate airtight pots. The children love the little cherry tomatoes as drying them makes them incredibly sweet. I pop them into a pasta sauce and its a fight for who gets the most in their dish!
I use the dried veg in tons of different recipes. Garlic, celery and mushrooms added to a tin of tomatoes makes a great pasta sauce base and its incredibly tasty as the dehydrated veg has such a concentrated flavour.
I also grind down a mix of peppers, mushrooms, onions and a little garlic and use as a seasoning for potato wedges. Or take the same mix and add breadcrumbs for a tasty coating for chicken pieces.
Throw the veg onto a pizza to help the kids get their five a day or just pop in the pan to liven up stews and casseroles.
Its an incredibly cheap way to keep in a stock of essential ingredients that may otherwise go off in your fridge.
Fruit leathers can be made by mashing up fruit and pressing a thin layer onto the dehydrator. I dont make them in this house as fruit makes the children suspicious!
At Christmas I had a few oranges that were way past there best so I sliced them and dried them on the dehydrator, threaded a bit of string on them and made decorations. They look great around the festive dinner table too!