Dry it you'll like it!

A typical home type dehydrator.

"And God said, 'See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.'" Genesis 1:29


No one can adequately represent the Rainbow People except the Creator!

Dry it for Health and Taste!

This year at the Florida Rainbow Council it was mentioned that dehydrated veggies, fruits, and herbs might be a good thing to bring to a Gathering.

That's right! Just imagine a Gathering kitchen with all the best dried veggies, herbs, and dried fruits for the soup pot or the snack table.

Freshly dried fruits, herbs and veggies are not only very tasty but also quiet healthy.

So if you would like to help the kitchen, and not just give food but give health, then start drying it man! Everybody is drying it! After all, you can never have too much great food!

What can I do?

There are many ways to dehydrate food from the simplest way of just hanging it up in the kitchen to an inexpensive food dehydrator.

Once you get it dried take it to your next gathering and drop it off at the kitchen or mail to us and we will see that it gets to a kitchen or to the homeless.

Send them to:

The Turkey Feather Trading Post

1314 Maugans Ave.

Leesburg, Florida 34748

Turkey Feather Trading Post

Windy Hill Middle Technology+ Project

Glean Busters

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Here is a list of possible ways you can educate your self:

Dehydrating Food

This is a teaching cassette tape available from Barbara. The audio tape is very basic and gives an excellent introduction to food dehydration.

Barbara Ward


Become a Rainbow Chaplain


Drying Foods

Guide E-322

by Alice Jane Hendley,

Extension Diet and Health Specialist


Drying or dehydration, the oldest method of food preservation, is

particularly successful in the hot, dry climates found in much of New

Mexico. Quite simply, drying reduces moisture necessary for bacterial

growth that eventually causes deterioration.

Successful dehydration depends upon a slow steady heat supply to assure

that food is dried from the inside to the outside. Drying is also an

inexact art. Size of pieces, relative moisture, and the method selected

all affect the time required to dehydrate a food adequately.


Methods of Drying


Foods may be sun dried with or without a solar dehydrator, in a gas or

electric oven, or with a portable electric dehydrator. Dehydrators with

thermostats provide better control over poor weather conditions and food

quality than sun drying.

An effective solar dehydrator is the shelf above the back seat of a car.

Clotheslines are another popular drying rack for ears of corn and strips

of jerky. Colorful red chile ristras hung from vigas are practical as

well as decorative.


Sun Drying


Prepared foods are placed on drying trays. Stainless steel

screening and thin wood lath are good materials for home-constructed

drying trays. As aluminum screening reacts with acids in the fruit, it

is less desirable. Do not use galvanized, copper, fiberglass, or vinyl


Trays measuring about 14" x 24" x 1" are an easy size to handle. If

trays are to be used in an oven, they should be 1 1/2" smaller in length

and width than oven shelves to allow air circulation.

Place trays of food away from dusty roads and yards. Elevate them at

least 1" above the table with spools or bricks to allow good air

circulation below the food.

Cover the food with a muslin or cheesecloth tent to protect it from

insects. Dry fruits and meats in direct sunlight; move trays

periodically to assure direct sun exposure. Place vegetables in the

shade to prevent excessive color loss.

If rain threatens or food requires more than one day to dry, cover with

a waterproof material or place the food in a sheltered area.

To destroy insects or their eggs that may be on sun-dried foods and to

remove additional moisture in thicker pieces, heat foods in a 150 degree

oven for 30 min.


Oven Drying


Either build trays as described for sun drying or convert

oven racks to drying racks by stretching muslin or cheesecloth across

the oven rack. Secure with toothpicks or long sewn stitches. Alternate

trays in the oven periodically to assure even drying.

Set oven control at its lowest setting, but not below 140-150 degrees.

If using an electric oven, wedge a potholder between oven and door to

allow a 1" opening. Moisture from the drying food will vent through this

opening. Close the door on a gas oven, as into vent will permit moisture

to escape.




There are two types of dehydrators: solar and electric. For

each type of dehydrator, prepare food and place on racks. If using a

solar dehydrator, adjust the position of the food throughout daylight

hours to keep in direct sunlight.

Follow manufacturer's instructions for the electric dehydrators. When

purchasing an electric dehydrator, select one that has a thermostat to

regulate temperature and a fan to circulate air.

General Directions for Preparing Foods for Drying. Refer to the tables

at the end of this guide for instructions for specific foods.




Choose tender vegetables. Wash, remove any damaged areas,

and cut into even pieces. Blanch, then chill as though preparing for the

freezer. Note: Do not blanch mushrooms, onions, or sweet peppers.

To blanch in boiling water, use one pound of food for each gallon of

boiling water. Immerse vegetable into the boiling water using a wire

basket or mesh bag, cover kettle, and boil the recommended time (see

table). Blanching water may be reused until it becomes cloudy. Drain

vegetables thoroughly.

To steam blanch, place 1" of water in kettle and bring to a rolling

boil. Suspend thin layer of vegetables in basket or loose cheesecloth

bag. Cover and steam blanch required amount of time (see table).


Choose firm, mature fruit. Wash, peel if desired, remove any

damaged areas, and cut into even-sized pieces or slices. Some fruits

require little or no pretreatment. However, pretreat apples, apricots,

bananas, cherries, peaches, and pears by one of the following methods to

reduce vitamin and flavor loss, browning, and deterioration during


Immerse fruit in a solution of one of the following to a gallon of

water: 1 tbsp of sodium bisulfite or 2 tbsp of sodium sulfite or 4 tbsp

of sodium metabisulfite. These pretreatments mixtures are available from

some grocery stores, pharmacies, and wine-making shops. Soak fruit

pieces for 5 min. and fruit halves for 15 min.

Note: Approximately 5% of asthmatics are sensitive to sulfites. Use one

of the following pretreatments if sulfites present a potential health


Dip fruit in a commercial ascorbic acid/water mixture from the grocery

store. Follow manufacturer's instructions when preparing and using the


Steam blanch fruit for 5-6 min.; water blanch fruit for 4-5 min. (see

information on water and steam blanching above).

Dip prepared fruit in a saline solution composed of 2-4 tbsp of salt and

l gallon of water for 10-15 min.




Choose lean cuts of beef or venison. Partially freeze and remove

all visible fat. Slice with the grain of the meat into strips, 1" wide,

1/2" thick and 8-10" long.

Pound strips flat to tenderize and season with salt, chile, or other

desired flavors. Marinate and refrigerate overnight for additional

tenderness and flavor. Popular marinades include teriyaki, sweet and

sour, soy, Worcestershire, and chile sauces.

Fish. Slice salmon filets into thin strips. Place strips in a dish or

enamel pan. Salt strips using 2 tbsp. salt per pound. Refrigerate

overnight. Oven or dehydrator drying is preferable to sun drying fish.


Drying Time


Drying time varies widely because of the method selected and the size

and amount of moisture in food pieces. Sun drying requires the most

time; an electric dehydrator requires the least. Vegetables take from

4-12 hours to dry; fruits take 6-20 hours. Meats require about 12 hours.

Making raisins from grapes may require days/weeks when dried outside.

When testing foods for dryness, remove a piece from the center of the

drying tray and allow it to come to room temperature. Fruits and meat

jerky should be leathery and pliable; vegetables should be brittle.


Conditioning Dried Foods


Food should be conditioned for a week before being packaged for

long-term storage. To condition food, place it in a container such as a

cloth sack or a clear, covered container and allowing any remaining

moisture to redistribute itself through the fruit.

If using a clear, covered container, watch for moisture beads. If they

form, continue drying food. If using the cloth bag, hang it in a

convenient location and shake the bag daily to redistribute food and



Storing Dried Foods


Place dried food in freezer-weight plastic storage bags, press out air,

and then put in containers with a tight-fitting lid. Store in a cool,

dark, dry area.

Dried foods store well at room temperature for a month. Refrigerate

foods if they will be used within three months; freeze foods for storage

periods between three months and one year. Foods should be used within

one year.

Using Dried Foods


Dried meat, commonly called jerky, is normally not rehydrated and is

eaten in the dried state. Dried meats and vegetables used in soups

rehydrate during the cooking process.

Rehydrate vegetables by soaking them in 1 1/2-2 cups of water for each

cup of dried vegetable. If necessary, add more water during the soaking

process. Heat and eat.


Cover dried fruit with boiling water and let stand for 5 min. Drain.

Dried fruit may also be steamed for 3-5 min. until plump. Fruits may be

eaten immediately or used in a recipe.


Making Fruit Leather

Fruit leathers, also called fruit roll ups, can be made from almost all

fruits or combinations of fruits. However, peaches, apricots, cherries,

and nectarines are ideal. Pears and apples, sufficiently softened, also

work well.

Wash well, peel (if desired), cut into pieces, and puree fruit in a

blender. Sweeten to taste with sugar or honey. Spread evenly, no more

than 1/4" deep, on a cookie sheet. The cookie sheet should either be

lightly sprayed with a vegetable shortening or covered with plastic



If using plastic paper, tape edges down to prevent them from folding

into the puree. Dry fruit leather until it is slightly tacky to the



When dried, lift leather (including plastic paper if used), and roll or

cut into small sections and roll. Storage recommendations are the same

as those described previously.


Nutritional Value of Dried Foods

Dried foods retain their protein, mineral and vitamin A content fairly

well if soaking water is also consumed. Because they are concentrated

into a small mass, dried foods can also be high in calories. It's

important to brush teeth after eating dried fruit because they stick to

the teeth.


New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affimative action

employer and educator. NMSU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture



Disclaimer: We are not the Rainbow Family, we merely minister to those in need.




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