Dehydrating is one of the best ways to preserve food for the long term. It requires less energy than canning or freezing, and if stored properly, dehydrated foods will last for many years.
Since the vegetables need to be rehydrated before eating, a soup is a perfect way to use dehydrated veggies. Here’s how to dehydrate 5 vegetables that are perfect for winter soups and stews.
Drying food can save a lot of money and it’s my preferred method to preserve those extra garden veggies. I also like to buy extra fruits and vegetables when they are on sale at the grocery store and dehydrate the surplus. You can avoid all of the preservatives that go into canned food at the grocery.
Dehydrated foods take up much less space and have a very long shelf life compared to regular canning. Dehydrated vegetables are actually more flavorful than the original. I love making vegetable soup from dehydrated veggies.
Vegetables should be blanched before drying. This prevents discoloration and food-borne illnesses. To blanch veggies, first wash them then boil for 3 minutes.
Remove them from heat and dunk into ice water. This slows down the enzyme process. Onions, garlic, peppers, and herbs do not need blanching.
How do you know when a vegetable is dehydrated? It should be brittle with only 10% moisture. Store dried vegetables in air-tight containers to prevent food from absorbing the moisture in the air.
Storing them in a dark place retains the vitamin content of the food. I like to use oxygen packs in sealed mason jars to store my dried food. Dried foods — when kept dry — remain edible virtually forever.
Why dehydrate vs. canning or freezing?
- It costs little to nothing to dehydrate
- The food is more flavorful
- It’s easier
- It takes less time
- It stores for a longer period of time
- It takes up less space
There are dozens and dozens of different foods to dehydrate. Here we are going to cover the 5 best dehydrated vegetables for winter soups.
By having these on hand, along with herbs, you can make a wide variety of winter soups.
Peel and slice the onions into rings ⅛ inch think. Place onions onto dehydrator trays. Arrange them in a single layer and allow for air circulation. Dehydrate for 12 hours. If your dehydrator has a thermostat, set it to 145 degrees until onions are brittle.
Remove seeds and membranes, then cut into thin strips or cubes. Place peppers onto trays and set the dehydrator to 140ºF. Dehydrate for 4–10 hours to become completely dry. Check every couple of hours.
Peel the carrots. Cut off the carrot tops. Slice the carrots into half-inch rounds.
Fill the dehydrator trays with the carrot rounds. Try to leave a little bit of space between the carrot round, so that air can flow through.
Turn it on to 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Dry them for 6 to 12 hours.
Check them at six hours and then every two hours after that. They should be dry, leathery, and brittle when they are dehydrated.
If you’d like a bit more guidance, as well as options for other techniques, I wrote a detailed guide to dehydrating carrots.
Brush the outside with a vegetable scrubber to remove dirt. Slice the potato into rounds that are one-sixteenth to one-eighth inch thick. Lay out the potato rounds on the dehydrator trays.
Make sure they are only one layer thick, and they aren’t overlapping. Set your dehydrator to 145 F. Dehydrate for about 12 hours, or until crisp.
Gently wash fresh green beans. Trim off the ends. Blanch in a small amount of boiling water for about 3 minutes.
Arrange the green beans on your dehydrator trays, making sure the beans don’t overlap. Set the temperature between 125°F and 135°F (or per your food dehydrator’s instructions). Dry them for 6-8 hours.
Green beans will feel tough and brittle when dried.
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Looking for more ways to preserve the harvest?
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- Beginners Guide to Lacto-Fermentation
- How to Preserve a Whole Pig Without Refrigeration