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It feels like I’ve been running our new dehydrator non-stop since we got it. I haven’t, but the white-noise of its operation has become part of the fabric of our lives.
I’ve done a batch of arctic char with basically the same method described for the trout and it came out beautifully—one of my favourite experiments so far. I’ve also made two batches of beef jerky that were both very tasty, but not perfected to a point where I’m ready to share a recipe. The only flat-out failure so far was a batch of pineapple & coconut cream fruit leather to which I added shredded coconut. The flavour wasn’t bad, but the addition of shredded coconut resulted in a weird mealy texture.
A recent experiment in drying strawberries* yielded some…uh…fruit. Michelle and I had discussed developing new salad garnishes and I came up with this variation on strawberries & balsamic vinegar.
1 lb strawberries, washed and halved
3 tbs good balsamic vinegar
1 tsp raw sugar
freshly ground black pepper
Step one: I tossed the strawberries with the balsamic, sugar and pepper and set them aside, covered, for an hour—turning them occasionally.
Step two: I drained the strawberries completely and then placed the halves on a silicone sheet on the dehydrator rack (to avoid dripping). Using the mat added to the drying time, but made for easier clean up and a great texture.
Step three: The strawberries took approximately 12 hours to dry at 135 degrees.
The final product looks a little funky, but they have a great peppery, sweet & sour kick and a pleasantly chewy texture—ideal for a rich salad with tender greens, like lamb’s lettuce or boston bibb, and creamy parmigiano shavings.
If you have a good oven—particularly convection—that you can set to 135 or 145 Fahrenheit, you could replicate this recipe without a dehydrator. But one of the reasons we got ours, is that our digital oven won’t allow us to set it lower than 200 degrees. If you’re interested in drying, I’d highly recommend investing in a decent dehydrator—totally worth the relatively minor expense.
*I know, I know, I’m cooking brutally out of season—mea culpa—I’m just impatient for Spring and reveling in the novelty of our new gadget.