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Drying Fresh Vegetables and Herbs

 

 Go to:-   Preserving Fresh Produce  |   Bottling  |   Freezing 

 

 

Jump to:-   Drying Chart

 

Recipes4us is committed to encouraging people to eat locally grown seasonal produce. Often imported products lack flavour and their full compliment of nutrients due to the fact that they are picked young so they can be shipped without fear of spoiling before they get to us.

 

So, it can be realistically argued that eating produce which has been properly preserved when it was at its best is not only nutritionally as good (if not better) than eating out of season produce. 

Although drying probably isn't the first method of preservation which comes to mind, it is certainly one which should be considered.

Below is a chart showing various vegetables and how to dry  them. There are a few "rules" to adhere to when drying produce at home to ensure good results.

1. Always use produce when it's at its peak.

2. Blanch vegetables before drying. This helps to stop enzyme activity which can cause changes in the flavour and texture during storage.

3. Ensure adequate ventilation and constant temperature during the drying process. This is best achieved by preheating the oven to (60C/140F), then prop the oven door open and adjust the thermostat to maintain a consistent oven temperature of 60C/140F. The door being ajar allows the moist air to escape.

4. Package the produce in air tight containers/bags and store in cool dark conditions (6-12 months).

5. Dry to the optimum degree. Dried vegetables should be hard and brittle. Remove a small amount of the dried food and cool for a few minutes before testing for dryness.

 

 

Vegetable

Preparation

Blanching Time (mins)

Drying Time (hrs.)

Dryness test

Aubergine

(Eggplant)

Wash, trim, cut into 1/4" slices.

4

12-14

Leathery to brittle

Beans, green

Wash. Cut in pieces or strips.

4

8-14

Very dry, brittle

Beetroot

Cook as usual. Cool, peel. Cut into shoestring strips 1/8" thick.

None

10-12

Brittle, dark red

Broccoli

Wash. Trim, cut as for serving. Quarter stalks lengthwise.

4

12-15

Crisp, brittle

Cabbage

Wash. Remove outer leaves, quarter and core. Cut into strips 1/8" thick.

4

10-12

Crisp, brittle

Capsicums

(sweet peppers)

Wash, stem. Remove core and seeds. Cut into 1/4 to 1/2" strips or rings.

4

8-12

Tough to brittle

Carrots and Parsnips

Use only crisp, tender vegetables. Wash. Cut off roots and tops; peel. Cut in slices or strips 1/8" thick.

4

6-10

Tough to brittle

Celery

Trim stalks. Wash stalks and leaves thoroughly. Slice stalks.

4

10-16

Very brittle

Chillies

Wash thoroughly. Slice or leave whole if small.

4

12-24

Shrunken, dark red flexible

Onions

Wash, remove skin, top and root ends, cut  into 6mm/ "  slices.

4

6-10

Very brittle

Herbs

Wash thoroughly. Separate sprigs if necessary

4

4-6

Flaky

Peas

Shell and wash.

4

8-10

Hard, green wrinkled

Spinach, Kale, Chard

Trim and wash very thoroughly. Shake or pat dry to remove excess moisture.

4

6-10

Crisp

Squash

Wash, trim, cut into 1/4" slices.

4

10-16

Leathery to brittle

Sweetcorn

Husk, trim. Wash well. Blanch until milk in corn is set. Cut the kernels from the cob.

4-6

6-10

Crisp, brittle

Tomatoes

 

Plunge into boiling water to loosen skins. Chill in cold water. Cut into slices 12mm/" thick

Sun Dried Tomatoes recipe

1

6-24

Crisp

 

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