A New Toy

What is it?

A food dehydrator!

Why?

To dry things with, of course!

To be more specific, to help deal with the Monster Mushroom I brought home from foraging. Even after roasting and sauteing, there was still an awful lot of it left. I knew I wanted to try drying some of it, so I spent a couple of days scouring the web for the best way. The same things kept popping up – the oven will dry unevenly, and don’t even think about air-drying in a humid climate.

After some hemming and hawing on my part, (Do I really need this? Will I use it, or will it just take up space in my work room?) my wonderful, decisive husband ordered one for me.

Answer – YES. Yes, I will use this machine. A LOT, I think…

The basic set-up

This might be the easiest thing I’ve ever done. The empty trays are loaded with whatever I want to dry. They’re stacked one on top of the other, placed on the base, (lower left corner of the picture) and topped with the fan/heater unit. Set temperature, turn on, and wait the recommended amount of time. Easy-peasy!

Loading the trays

The mushrooms needed no preparation other than to be brushed off and cut into pieces that would fit on the trays. Single layer, not touching.

Trays stacked and ready

The six trays – four came with the machine, two others ordered separately – held about 4 pounds. A little less than half of the leftover mushroom.

Ready, Set, Dry!

The fan/heater sits on top, and circulates warm air through the trays. The guide that came with the machine said to dry mushrooms at the lowest setting for 2 or 3 hours, then boost it up to 125 for another 8 hours or so.

The finished product!

When the mushrooms are ready, they are brittle enough to snap when you bend them.  I put them into airtight jars – yes, that 4 pounds of mushrooms now fits into 2 quart mason jars! They must be stored right away, or they will re-absorb moisture from the air.

As for uses, some of these will be rehydrated for sauces and soups. Some will be ground-up into powder and used to give depth to the flavor of other dishes. Right now, they just look pretty, sitting on my shelf…

And, here’s the picture you’ve all been waiting for… Or, at least, my Nana has…

It's me...

I’m not putting this one on the ‘about’ page…

A big “Thank You!” to my photographer – James – for shooting most of the pictures today.

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9 thoughts on “A New Toy

  1. Enjoyed once again your most recent blogs….esp this one about your “drying machine” for your mushrooms.
    Noticed that on the box it said something about “jerky.”
    Now your can feed your family beef jerky for a year!!! Haa.
    Don’t know if the beef cow will fit in your little machine–:)
    I love cooked and raw mushrooms; my hubby will not try them….he doesn’t know what he is missing…I have learned
    something also about how to dry mushrooms. Quite entertaining. I appreciate your picture as well as your “Nana.”

    • Hey, Janis – been missing your comments recently!

      Yes, people use these things to make jerky – the company was even nice enough to send a few packets of their ‘jerky seasoning mix’ along with the order. Not in the plans, but who knows? 🙂

      I used to be married to a mushroom-hater, too. He would accuse me of “Trying to poison him” if one wound-up on his plate… My girls both eat them, but not James… Go figure.

      Oh, well. More for us, I guess!

  2. Just had an idea….. try drying some of your fruit next year. Mama Appleberry used to buy dried fruit, cook it on top of the stove with a little water and then use it in fried pies. Mama Mainord kept it on her table and we could always get some with bread and butter. Oh, the memories that brings back!!! The best were peach. I made peach fried pies when you and Jody were kids.

    • I was thinking about drying apples next – we still have lots of them around. Hadn’t thought about peaches, but maybe next summer, when they’re back in-season…

      I like my hair, too… Might be the best cut I’ve had since high school!

  3. Thank you so much for the great picture. I love it and your Aunt Sue Rownd sent me an Email saying You got the
    picture you wanted. She said you are so pretty and I surley
    agree OF COURSE! Love you Nana.

    • Thank you! (You too, Aunt Sue!)

      I had intended to have John take my picture Saturday night, when I was all gussied-up to go out for dinner. Then, we both let the time slip away, wound up rushing to get to the restaurant on time, and THAT idea went out the window. I took this one with my phone, in the bathroom mirror.

      I’ll work on a better one soon…

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