For those of you unfamiliar with dehydrators J made a video demonstration a few years ago for Transition Loughborough and it's up on Youtube for all to see:
Fruit leathers are wonderful chewy treats that are incredibly easy to make and are really expensive to buy in the shops. Simply make a fruit puree either with or without sugar or other flavourings such as vanilla or cinnamon and then spread thinly on the dehydrator sheets and pop them in for around 10-15 hours depending on the atmosphere. The longer you dry them the crunchier the finished product - we like them on the chewy side. You can then break them up or cut them into strips and roll them up. If you can keep them away from friends and family they will keep for a really long time in air tight containers for a zingy hit of summer sweetness throughout the dark months.
Vegetable and savoury fruits such as tomatoes dry easily and can be used for all manner of soups, stews, sauces and casseroles. The allium family dry really well and can be stored in jars as crispy flakes or ground into a powder to use as a flavouring. The garlic chips pictured here get popped into a pepper grinder so we always have just the right amount of garlic on hand without the hassle of sticky fingers and any waste.
Most of the time our beans can be easily dried in their pods on the plant, the dehydrator is also useful for finishing off the process or for using to dry off in particularly wet years. This gives us a ready supply of mixed beans for soups, stews, burgers and bakes throughout the winter and let's face it- nothing beats a nice warming stew on a crisp cold day!