Is your freezer getting full of packages of frozen veggies? Makes some space by learning to dehydrate frozen vegetables for your short and long-term food storage.
If you've recently gotten a dehydrator and just are too confused about what to start with, or are unsure about what is easy to do - try this. Dehydrate the frozen veggies you have in your freezer. It's just about the easiest project to do that is practically no-fail.
Why Frozen Vegetables are a great beginning dehydrator project:
- The vegetables have already been blanched.
- They've already been cut to perfect dehydrating size.
- They are ready to open and pop on a tray.
- Helps make food shelf-stable for emergencies.
- Often better nutritionally than fresh produce shipped from around the world
- Can be less expensive than purchasing out-of-season fresh vegetables.
Vegetables that are in your grocer's frozen food aisle are usually picked and flash frozen immediately after the blanching process. They aren't on a corn cob, in a shell, needing to be processed in any way.
Nor are they sitting in your basket growing weird sprouts or fuzz from not being attended to, waiting for you to figure out a way to cut, clean, and cook them.
You also want to maintain a good rotating inventory of freezer stock. Sure, packaged veggies are already frozen, but they aren't great insulators for an upcoming power outage due to a hurricane or city shut-off.
So let's make use of those veggies, get them rotating with this easy dehydrating project!
Really. This is super easy to do. Just don't do any of the heavy cream-based 'sides' or your own vegetables that may be heavy with butter or oil since dehydrating + oil isn't food storage-friendly.
Quick Tip #1 for Dehydrating Frozen Vegetables - if your package has been in your freezer a bit, you'll likely have some ice crystals. Simply whack your package on the counter a few times to loosen up those nuggets. The ice will quickly evaporate in the dehydrating process. I usually have a nonstick dehydrator sheet on the bottom of my machine just in case of any dripping.
Should I Thaw Frozen Vegetables Before Dehydrating?
There is no need to defrost your vegetables.
Go ahead and get your dehydrator preheating to 145°F. We're going to dry them high for a couple of hours before settling into their normal temperature.
We're trying to keep the dehydrator a proper temperature since it is full of frozen food, and help with the condensation that happens in the beginning.
How to Dehydrate Frozen Veggies
►Always preheat your dehydrator when you begin to prep your produce, and dehydrate at the appropriate temperatures. Running at 160F doesn’t make things dehydrate faster, it just promotes case hardening, which you don’t want! Have you ever tested the temperature on your dehydrator?
1. Set dehydrator to 145F | 63°C
2. Place on trays
Place your vegetables on your dehydrator trays. Try to give them a little space.
No defrosting is necessary!
► Tip: If you have larger chunks of vegetables (like okra or lima beans), you can separate them ahead of time and give them their own tray. This will facilitate more even drying across the board.
3. Reduce temperature
After two hours, reduce the temperature back to 125°F | 52°C
4. Begin to check for dryness.
Some frozen vegetables dehydrate more quickly than others. If you are using a bulky mix of vegetables, you might want to pull out the fully dehydrated vegetables to let the bulky ones keep going.
What do Dehydrated Frozen Vegetables look like when Dry?
- Green beans and other larger pieces will easily snap.
- Corn will turn color
- Peas will be completely shriveled.
Dehydrate Frozen Peppers and Onions
One of the benefits of dehydrating frozen peppers and/or onions is that the smell is lessened significantly. Watch how to dry frozen peppers and how to create a pepper onion spice blend from it
Dehydrate Frozen Corn
Drying frozen corn is so quick and easy, and you can amass quite a jar full in one easy go! I did an entire half-gallon jar from 9 12oz bags in about a day.
How to Store Dehydrated Vegetables
- Allow produce to fully cool;
- Place in an airtight container
- Condition for up to a week.
- Package for storage in an airtight container. That is all that is needed. However, you may want to vacuum seal them in your canning jar, or vacuum seal in bags, or use oxygen absorbers with mylar bags. Whichever way you decide, you can learn more about storing dehydrated foods here to make your choice. Do not use zipper top bags as storage solutions for more than a few days as they are not airtight.
How to Rehydrate Frozen Vegetables
To rehydrate dehydrated vegetables (also known as reconstitution) for a reason other than adding to a soup or stew:
- Place dehydrated vegetables in a bowl of boiling water with enough volume to cover. It takes approximately 15-30 minutes.
- Place in a bowl of water and leave in the refrigerator overnight.
CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO WATCH HOW REHYDRATION WORKS
and how I use the food in a meal!
How to Use Dehydrated Frozen Vegetables
- Throw a few handfuls in a soup or stew. This will bulk up your vegetable quotient and you don't have to prepare anything ahead of time. Make sure you add a little extra liquid to your stew for the dehydrated vegetables.
- Throw some into ramen, rice dishes, meatloaf, and other savory dishes just as with soups and stews. Make sure to rehydrate from directions above, or add enough extra liquid into your dish to allow the produce to rehydrate during cooking;
- Create Just Add Water gift jars with soups or stews to give to friends or keep in your pantry.
- Grind it to make a vegetable powder that you can toss into things like meatloaf, any casseroles, curries, burgers, smoothies, etc., to bulk up your vegetable intake. Much like making a green powder that I do here. You can even add the vegetable powder to sour cream or soft tofu or yogurt to create a dipping sauce for
- Use dehydrated corn to grind and make cornmeal.
Yield of Dehydrated Frozen Vegetables
Yield: 1 Cup frozen = ½ cup dried = ¼ cup powdered
What Equipment Do I Need to Dehydrate Frozen Vegetables?
Here is the dehydrator that I use, though I've also used this one for years and loved it. I have this Food Saver for vacuum sealing my jars and use both the wide mouth and regular mouth attachments. If you're a book person and would love to have a book in your kitchen full of awesome ways to dehydrate all kinds of foods and make meals from them, check out the Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook. You can find a list of other budget-friendly tools for your dehydrator here.
Give it a try
Go ahead. Give it a try. Go to your freezer and pull out those old, lumpy frozen vegetable bags and do something with them! Vegetables a little freezer burned? It's okay. Fresh is always best, but in this instance, no one is ever going to know! And it's SOOOOO easy!
More Easy Dehydrating Projects
While dehydrating is generally a very easy means of dehydrating sometimes we need those projects that are fool-proof to help us with confidence! So I've created a list of 10 Easy Dehydrating Projects for you to try!