Our garden is in full bloom, or should we say: in full fruit? It is not tending the plants which is effortful these days, but the harvest itself. Every day we have something in our basket and the work in the garden stretches into our kitchen. We cannot consume all the vegetables and fruits while they are still fresh. Without a cellar or a huge fridge, we lack the storage, thus having to preserve all the veggies shortly after we harvested them. By preserving, fermenting, bottling and pickling them, we preserve the fruits and vegetables for the upcoming cold months, when our garden will be almost empty, apart from some winter vegetables.
We want to introduce you to another method of preserving: dehydrating. While browsing Keimling Naturkost a few years ago, we discovered the dehydrator Excalibur Mini. For everyday use in our two person household it is perfect. It is light and space-saving. However, we outgrew it with our garden and the masses of cherries, apples, berries and different vegetables. We needed something bigger! The dehydrator Excalibur EXC10EL made of stainless steel has been on our wishlist quite some time now. Thus, a request for a collaboration with Keimling came just in the nick of time. Keimling Naturkost stands for a raw diet, offers only vegan high quality and is the right port of call for sustainably produced products and which fit the vegan nutrition. Of their enormous range of products we especially value the devices for processing food like the professional blender, juicer and dehydrator. Our Personal Blender, the juicer by Kuvings and the powerful Vitamix have been reliable heavy workers in our kitchen for years. We could test the professional dehydrator, too. In contrast to its smallest brother (Keimling offers different sizes and models of Excalibur and other dehydrators), which we could unpack and wrap again when we needed it, the new device has its own place in our kitchen now and is used on a regular basis now. We never prepared so much food in the dehydrator as this year!
Before we will tell you more about the device, we want to focus on the method itself. In times when fruits and vegetables are available in supermarkets all year round, only few think about the old and a bit dusty method of dehydrating. Yet, it is a great method of conserving seasonal food for the winter months even if you don’t own a garden. If you buy seasonal you are not only buying more sustainable and cheaper, but also get the best possible flavour and rich nutritions. Why should you buy tasteless fruits and vegetables out of the green house or from the end of the world if you can preserve the taste of summer perfectly?
Dehydrating is one of the oldest and easiest methods of conservation. By dehydrating the food, microorganisms lack the livelihood, thus extending the storability. Furthermore, the fruit’s or vegetable’s flavour intensifies.
If you have ever ate dried strawberries you know it is hard to get away from them. Especially children are excited about them. Yannic still remembers the fruit leather his mother made and which he and his sisters loved so much as children. We love adding dried fruits like berries and cherries to our oat meal or as powder to desserts. Taste and optics of fruit powder is just unique.
However, this season we experimented especially with savoury recipes. We tried granulated vegetable broth of carrots, celery, parsnip, onion, garlic, parsley and lovage is a natural, self-made seasoning, and also different salts with Mediterranean herbs or dried tomatoes.
We rolled onions in flour, fried them in a pan and dried them afterwards, so now we have fried onions at hand. We already snack zucchini and black cabbage chips or spicy crispbread while we make it and they probably won’t even make the first weeks. The dried mushrooms smell delicious, and our noses just don’t want to get out of the glasses with the dried flowers. We already showed you a herb tea mix on our blog, now we also have a fruit tea of rose-hips, apples and calendula. What a flavour!
The list could go on and on, and the ideas for recipes we want to realize with the dehydrator won’t get less, either.
The good news is, we can experiment endlessly. Drying is very space-saving as the volume of the dehydrated goods decreases a lot. Instead of producing oodles of the same type of jam or a ferment, dehydrating concentrates the flavour on small space. This saves storage and does not have to be cooled. Also, you don’t have to prepare anything apart from cleaning, cutting and maybe seasoning the fruits and vegetables, which makes dehydrating also a time saving method. Additionally, you don’t have to consider too much, so you don’t have to agonise about whether you did everything right. You should only cut off damaged spots and dehydrate at low temperature to keep as much goodness as possible.
Let’s get to the facts about the Excalibur EXC10EL Dehydrator. The device has a digital thermostat ranging from 35°C to 74°C and a timer. You can easily program everything you need to get a prefect drying outcome. No overdrying when the dehydrator dries too long over night or you left the house while the dehydrator did its work. The device being made of stainless steel is a plus for us, despite the weight. Because of the sturdy construction we can be sure to have decades with it ahead of us. 10 slides provide a large drying space, on which we can dehydrate fruits and vegetables in bucketfuls. Due to the see through two-winged glass doors you always see what’s happening inside and can easily take out the slides or put more in. A compartment for crumbs makes cleaning easy, special drying foils enable the drying of purees and prevent moist ingredients from sticking to the sheets.
We don’t want to get too technical, but some of the details are definitely worth mentioning. The Excalibur EXC10E works with hyperwave technology. The air temperature is always about the chosen temperature. The reason is that surface moisture evaporates fast as soon as the air temperature rises. The fluctuating air temperature (hyperwave technology) supports keeping a constant temperature. Also, the dual dehydration mode is about evaporation chill, which we are really excited about. The dual dehydration mode enables us to program two temperatures. Starting the dehydrating, the temperature within the goods is, due to the evaporation chill, lower than the programmed temperature. Because of this, you can easily program a 10°C higher temperature and still dry in raw food quality to keep the vitamins in fruits and vegetables. Afterwards, the device changes the temperature and time to second programmed ones. This way, the process of dehydration is way faster, of course.
We are incredibly excited to tease out pure flavour in the dehydrator and to handle fruits and vegetables in all new ideas.
*This article was written in cooperation with Keimling Naturkost GmbH. We were remunerated for it, yet we share our own unaffected opinion. We had free reign over content and text in this article. Thank you for the wonderful cooperation!