DIY Dehydrated Snacks

I have had The Dehydrator Bible by Jennifer MacKenzie, Jay Nutt, & Don Mercer on my shelf for months. I received it ages ago as a review copy from the fine folk at Robert Rose, and then I got busy with house projects, work insanity and summer fun. But now the weather is cooling and I’m feeling very nesty, which leads me to want to fill the larder. And though the bulk of the produce season is behind us, it really is the perfect time to think about squirreling away easy, healthy snacks. If you have wholesome things on hand to snack on when hunger strikes, it’s easier to eat well.

The appeal of having dried snacks is great, because they store well and are easily portable. Like all of the Robert Rose books, this is an in-depth primer on how to dehydrate foods at home. It’s an excellent guide for how to use a counter top food dehydrator. One of my favorite recipes in the book is for Maple & Whiskey Ground Meat Jerky – in an afternoon, you can turn a humble pound of ground beef into a tasty snack, without the preservatives and expense of store bought version. Home made jerky paired with some olives is delicious. Apple cinnamon oat crisps and pumpkin leather are a couple of other options that are tasty and easy to make.

The book also has a chapter on making crafts with your dehydrator, including “gingerbread” ornaments and drying seeds for seed saving. And the entire second half of the book is given over to recipes that utilize dehydrated foods, so cooking with what you preserved is effortless.

If you don’t have a dehydrator currently, keep your eyes peeled at the thrift store. I often see them for $10-15 each. If you get to be picky, choose a model that has a fan on it and the ability to have different settings, as they will have better air circulation. The Excalibur dehydrators are the gold standard, so if you ever see a square black one, snap it up! Though the Nesco brand is also pretty good.

So if you’ve been curious about learning how to dehydrate your own food at home, whether for snacks, camping food, emergency preparedness or just because you like to tinker around in the kitchen – I’d recommend picking up a copy of The Dehydrator Bible.