Monday, November 27, 2017

how to dehydrate celery

Years ago, I bought a dehydrator on a whim. I don't know what compelled me to do this, at the time I was rarely home. In the long run, I schlepped the dehydrator through at least three moves. Then one day, I decided to put it to use. Since then, it has been surprisingly useful.

This Thanksgiving I purchased what can only be described as a radioactive bunch of celery. The thing wouldn't fit in my fridge's crisper. I had to balance it on top of a bunch of stuff and hope that I would use it all for my stuffing.

You may have guessed that I did not use all of this celery. Honestly, I barely made a dent. So, I decided to do some research on how to dehydrate it, as I did need to replace my almost empty bottle of celery flakes.

I learned that the process was fairly simple, beginning with a whole lot of cutting. I started with the celery leaves and then minced them into bits. Then, I cut the stalks into a bunch of more manageable pieces for blanching.

The blanch process is pretty simple. You get a large pot of water, set it to boiling, throw the celery in, turn off the heat and let sit in that water for two minutes. Then, you give them an ice bath. I just ran them under cold water because I am lazy.

After that was done, I cut the stalks and laid all my cuttings on a dehydrator mat. I've seen online that people use their ovens with a baking mats to dehydrate. So, if you don't have a dehydrator that is also an option.

You will notice in the following pictures the way I distributed the celery bits. On the left of each picture is how the celery looked before dehydrating and on the right is how the celery looked after.

This was how much I finally put in my almost empty celery flake container. That might not seem like much, but if I buy celery once a year, I will end up with a perpetually refilled bottle.

Quick Instructions:
Step 1: Mince celery leaves and cut stalks in half. 
Step 2: Bring a pot of water to boil and add celery stalks. Turn off heat and let sit for three minutes. 
Step 3: Cool boiled celery stalks in ice bath until cold. 
Step 4: Dice celery stalks. 
Step 5: Add to dehydrator trays with mats and cook for around six hours according to your dehydrator instructions. (Note: If you use your oven it should be around 150 degrees for dehydration. Set your oven to the lowest setting and if it needs to be cooler leave the oven door ajar for the same cook time.) 
Step 6: Move celery bits around as needed within that 6 hours. 
Step 7: Let cool and put in container.

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