Have you run out of ideas for your dehydrator? Are you ready to tackle something more than the basics? Here are 12 unique dehydrating projects you may not have thought of doing before. And don't worry, they are easy, too!
Which of these two people are you?
- You have a dehydrator, but have you done much with it then make jerky or apple chips?
- You're a regular user of your dehydrator for your summer harvest, but you've never really expanded beyond basic fruits and vegetables.
- You dehydrate all the time and want some inspiration for a new project you can do!
Well, it's time to break out of the mold and try some new things! Some you may have heard of, some you may thing, "D'oh, why didn't I think of doing that?" and some you may scratch your head about. But give them all a try!
Caveat: Not all of these projects are meant for long-term storage. Some are meant as fun treats to be consumed within a week or two.
What Kind of Dehydrator Do I Need?
A dehydrator that has a temperature control is the only real requirement. You want to be able to adjust from lower temperatures (herbs and living foods/raw/vegan) to higher temperatures (jerkies and marshmallows).
► READ MORE: Tips for buying your first dehydrator
For these projects, a dehydrator is preferred, but an oven will work as long as you monitor the temperature. This is done by turning your oven on its lowest setting, and cracking the door to allow some of the heat to escape. You can use an oven thermometer to get an idea of what your oven is running at, and adjust the following recipes accordingly.
12 Unique Dehydrating Projects to Try
While these projects may have a Christmas theme to them now simply because of the time of the year they were created, they are definitely not only for Christmas! I'll even give you a few ideas on how you can use them year 'round under each project.
These projects were from the 12 Days of Dehydrating Youtube collaboration with my friends:
- Leisa @ Suttons Daze
- Amanda @ TheFundamentalHome
- Tangi @ Freedom Homestead
- Darcy @ ThePurposefulPantry
You can watch all the videos from the playlist above, or you can pick and choose from these below, plus visit blog posts for more detailed information where available.
Before you balk - take a moment. Do you love those little marshmallows in Lucky Charms cereal, or the crunchy little ones in instant hot cocoa packs? This is a way to DIY it for yourself, with all of the flavors of the season! Peppermint for winter, Pumpkin spice for fall, multi-color for spring, plain for fun munching all year long, etc.
Come on! Be a little adventurous and don't ask why! Just do it because it's fun! Trust me, your kids and/or your grandchildren will love this SO much. It's a great first project to get them involved with, too!
Spiced Maple Pecans
Traditionally, spiced maple anything is a fall/winter flavor. But think about how wonderful this would be as a hostess gift at any party or crushing them up a bit to be used as toppings on pancakes or ice cream or oatmeal any other time of the year! Leisa shows you how in this easy recipe video:
►Learn More: Do I really need to condition dehydrated projects?
There's nothing that tastes more like Christmas than gingerbread. Quick breads are easy to make, easy to store (you can freeze them!), but also easy to transform into another snack altogether! Check out Amanda's recipe for gingerbread loaf, and then watch as she transforms it into a yummy, frosted biscotti with her dehydrator.
If you are fortunate to have access to deer meat, this venison jerky is a great paleo and keto-friendly snack you can make all year long! Get Tangi's take on it in this video!
DIY Dog Chews from Sweet Potatoes
Any good puppy parent knows that dog chews are a mainstay to raising dogs. They naturally want to chew on everything! Replace those expensive, non-healthy chews with this dehydrated version that you can make overnight and make Fido happy the next morning!
Raw, Vegan Gingerbread Cookies
Raw foods snacks are so easy to create in a dehydrator! Keeping the temperature set at 115F and below allows the food's natural enzymes and nutrients to remain intact even while being preserved. These raw, vegan, gingerbread cookies are good for any time of year, not just Christmas!
Oh, the bliss of families gathered at Christmas making decorations for their tree. But what about also making ornaments for Thanksgiving? Or to then dip in peanut butter and seeds for the birds throughout the winter? These ornaments aren't just for Christmas anymore! Tangi shares the story of a special spice blend from friends far away, and how easy it is to make apple cinnamon ornaments in the dehydrator in this video!
►LEARN MORE: How to Dehydrate Apples and Make Apple Powder
Orange Peels for Fire Starters
Orange peels are good for making cleaning vinegar, zesting for powder, used in potpourri - but did you know that they make great smelling fire starters, too!? Watch how Leisa creates aroma-rrific fire starters:
It's not unusual to dehydrate fruit -- but have you ever thought about dehydrating pomegranate arils? Those little seed pods bursting with wonderful juice can be dehydrated to make crunchy, sweet, tart snacks good for sprinkling on salads and chicken salad - and as many other ways as you can imagine!
DIY CANDIED GINGER
Love the taste of candied ginger and want to learn to make it for yourself? This candy is good for your tastebuds & your tummy! Dehydrate some today!
DIY Yogurt Drops
Leisa describes these as being like little yogurt taffy candies. They're easy to do with some of your extra yogurt - and think about adding a little fruit powder to the mix to add some flavor!
DIY Fruit Leather
Whether you have homemade apple sauce or a jar of commercial apple sauce in the pantry, do a quick and easy fruit leather out of any mashed up fruit and create a wonderful treat for your kids!