If you have a food dehydrator already, you’ll know how great it is for making apple chips, perhaps the easiest of all dried snacks, as well as for turning excess garden produce into the makings for soups, stews and do-it-yourself camping food. Dehydrating removes the moisture from fruit, vegetables and even meats, shrinking their volumes and making them efficient to store, especially for those with limited shelf space. I’ve churned out many batches of healthy kale chips in the dehydrator, using only olive oil and nutritional yeast for flavoring, and then watched with satisfaction as my 9-year-old devoured them like potato chips.
If you don’t have a dehydrator, consider it a worthwhile investment from both a health and an economic perspective. And while it’s possible to use an oven for the same purpose, the lowest temperature setting on many ovens is 200°F (93°C), which can still be hot enough to brown the food you’re trying to only dehydrate. Still, if you’d like to try throwing a pan of fruit leather in the oven before investing in a dehydrator, be my guest. The Internet has many good suggestions on how to do it.
Fruit leather is a food-waste champ, taking care of those rapidly-browning bananas and almost-overripe pears and peaches in short order. It’s ridiculously easy to make, too. Simply pour a jar of applesauce onto your greased sheet before bed, turn on the dehydrator and, the next morning, peel off the apple leather to add to your kids’ lunchboxes.
Frozen rhubarb and frozen strawberries.