I started doing this recently when I was stockpiling canned veggies, it is cheaper than canned veggies (at least at the price I can find for no-name or brand name veggies) and it stores small – pre-shredded veggies. I buy bags of matchstick carrots as well as brocolli slaw (which is a mixture of matchstick brocolli, carrots and shredded purple cabbage). Sometimes its organic and sometimes it isn’t, depends on what is at the grocery store and what is on sale.
When I get home I simply dump the contents of a bag on a dehydrator tray and start dehydrating. They will definitely not fit nicely on a single layer – you can do that if you have extra dehydrator trays and the desire, but because it tries fast, they are going to be shrinking down and single layer in no time. If I think of it, I will sometimes go and shift the layers a bit as it dries, but its not needed.
You can see that the carrots have already started to dry in the time it took me to dump the four packages and then find my camera 🙂
Once it is all dried, I usually seal it in a mason jar, turn it upside down, and leave it for a few days – this will show if there is any moisture still, as it will rise to the top. But it has always been perfectly dry, I just like to be sure 🙂 I vacuum seal the carrots and brocolli slaw together.
This package is actually tiny, smaller than one of the bags before I dehydrated it, and obviously very light.
The bags of fresh veggies are cheap, the matchstick size means they dehydrate fast and small. Here is two bags of carrots and two bags of brocolli slaw all dehydrated – much smaller than the equivelant amount of veggies in canned form, not to mention much, much lighter.
If you are so inclined, you can reduce the size even more by putting the carrot pieces in the blender and making carrot powder, which you could probably reuse and “hide” carrots in sauces, but these pieces are so tiny, rehydrating them shouldn’t be a problem.
And yes, it probably is less expensive to buy bulk carrots and brocolli but the thought of doing that much chopping – not to mention I’d never be able to get it matchstick sized, would mean I probably wouldn’t do nearly as much as what I get done buying the pre-matchsticked veggies. I do a lot of chopping for canning, so this is a nice break for me. I can buy these at the grocery store and spend maybe 3 minutes popping them on the dehydrator trays rather than spending 30-45 minutes chopping it all, since I am not one of those super fast chef choppers, I prefer to keep my fingertips attached to my fingers! I do try and buy at least 4 bags anytime I am at the grocery store.
I have also thought about doing onions the same way since I can buy them pre-diced, but I have heard they can really smell up the house, so I probably should have done some in the summer when I could have set the dehydrator out on the patio. I will probably throw some cabbage coleslaw into the mix one of these days too.