Friday, March 17, 2017

I am Dehydrated - Spinach!

About 18 months ago, give or take, my husband bought me a dehydrator. We were thinking jerky of all kinds. Then I was scared to use it. Maybe I couldn't make jerky. Maybe it would taste horrible. Maybe, maybe, maybe. 

Then I discovered a group on Facebook all about dehydrating. Yep, there's a group for almost everything on Facebook. I read everyone's post about all the things they dehydrated and why. It fascinated me. 

I kept stalling. 

Then someone on my blended diet board (mostly for families who use a blended diet with a feeding tube), someone mentioned dehydrating for blends. I was hooked. It was time to figure this out. 

I had some spinach that I couldn't use in the amount of time it would be good, so I decided to start there. 

Let me share what I did. 

1) I washed the spinach in my sink in 1 part white vinegar and 3 parts water. I used room temp water and room temp spinach, though that's not really required (the temp). This helped kill off any bacteria and such. I let it soak for 10 minutes and then patted it dry. I let it air dry while I set everything up. 

2) Next, I cut parchment paper to the size of the trays (need to find silicone mats so I don't have to do that each time) and laid it down on the trays. I then laid spinach on all 6 trays. That took a while to do one leaf at a time. 

3) Once all 6 trays were filled, I stacked them on the machine (short side being used, there is a tall for thicker cut items), and set it for the temp I wanted. I did low and slow to help maintain as many nutrients as possible. 

4) I waited and waited and waited. Finally my spinach was done. I wanted it crispy for this project, so it took a bit longer. I pulled all the spinach out (this is all 6 trays full once it was dehydrated). I stood amazed at the tiny bit of spinach before me compared to what I put in the dehydrator. My husband came by and kept popping the leaves into his mouth eating them like chips. Yes, he has requested I do more of them without the next step involved so he can eat them all. 

5) Since I am going to use this in smoothies and for tube feeds, I need it powdered finely. So, out comes my Vitamix blender. Now, as much as I love my Vitamix, I have to admit, it's overkill for this job. A nice coffee grinder would work very well and would have less clean up (smaller canister). But, I don't have a coffee grinder or such, so I used Mr. Muscle. 

6) Blending! 

7) Pulverized into a fine powder. I then put the entire contents into a Ball jar. By the way, what you see here is the entire large box of organic spinach. This is a neat jar made by Ball and it's for spices. It's about half the height of a Ball jelly jar and the spinach powder is half of that. Yep, my kids are amazed at my awesome shrinking powers. 

Let me warn you. If you decide to start dehydrating, you will be addicted with your first batch. I am already setting up for my next batch. I am thinking fruit leather (think fruit roll ups without the junk). I am going to let the kids decide on the flavors. 

Want a good site for dehydrating information? I can set you up there, too. 


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