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Dry goods

I have a new toy! A dehydrator! I bought it during lockdown and have really been having too much fun with it!

I do love a gadget and while the rest of the country was getting busy with bread-makers, pasta machines and blenders, I have been dehydrating everything in sight (well, nearly everything!).

Dehydrating is a great way to preserve food when you have a large amount of it, for example a glut of apples at harvest time. It preserves the nutrients in the food and cuts on wastage. Making your own dried foods means that you are in control of the ingredients so there are no added sugars, sulphites or flavourings in my dried foods.

A possible downside is that dried fruits have a higher sugar content by weight than fresh fruits, and with dried fruit being incredibly more-ish, you could end up eating more than you should.

Fresh fruit is generally the healthiest option for snacking, but dried fruit is certainly a nutritious alternative to more processed snacks.

So, what I have been dehydrating? Well, like with any new kitchen gadget, there have been successes and failures. The sweet potato crisps, plantain chips (which my husband thought were bananas chips!) and beetroot crisps were definite no-no's in my house.

Cinnamon-flavoured apple crisps were a triumph, as were dried pineapple and dried orange slices. Dried kiwi went down surprisingly well, as did pear.

The last point to mention is that dehydrating is a long process, so you have to plan ahead. It can take up to 12 hours to dehydrate some foods, so you need to get the fruit in the dehydrator first thing in the morning. After my first batch of dehydrating, I left the dried fruit on the kitchen worktop, as per the instructions which advised leaving the dried fruit out for several days before putting into containers. Containers??? I don't need containers - the scavengers in my house eat it in several hours! I take that as a sign of dehydrating success!

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