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We hope you Luv your Luvele Breeze Food Dehydrator as much as we enjoyed designing it. The Luvele team have been designing food dehydrators for over 10 years, and the ‘Breeze’ marks our fifth design iteration. Check out our intro video here. We believe we have thought of just about everything in our new design, to equip you to be the master of dehydrating in your kitchen!
There’s almost no easier way to preserve fresh produce than dehydrating. It’s a fun, cost-effective way to ready fruit and vegetables for long term, space-saving storage, prepare light-weight hiking and camping meals or just make delicious food for snacking on.
Select high quality produce that is ripe and full of flavour. Wash all fruits and vegetables to remove any debris, dust or insects and cut away any bruised or damaged sections.
It’s not necessary to peel everything you dehydrate. Skins and peel effect the taste, texture and appearance – but the decision to remove or leave it on comes down to personal preference. The skins left on these granny smith apple and cinnamon chips look pretty and make them deliciously chewy. You might choose to remove the skins on fruits that have a natural protective wax coating e.g. figs, grapes and prunes or from non-organic produce to lessen your exposure to pesticides.
If you do want to remove skins from fruits such as peaches or tomatoes, dip them in boiling water (blanch) for up to 60 seconds. Next, place in cold water for another 60 seconds, or until the skins start to crinkle and lift. The skins will peel off easily by hand. For more on preparing specific produce go to pretreatment and drying times for fruit or pretreatment and drying times for vegetables.
Pre-cooking is necessary for vegetables that you would not eat raw, or that are particularly tough or fibrous. Steaming for 2-5 minutes or blanching in boiling water will pre-cook the vegetable just enough to preserve nutrients and colour and prevent flavour loss before dehydrating. Read more on blanching fruit here.
Commercially prepared dried fruit is bright in colour because it has been dipped in a preservative before drying. We don’t recommend you do that! Fortunately, there are natural ‘pre-treatment’ options that can help slow down browning while the fruit is drying if you choose this step. Yes, it is optional.
Pretreatment refers to a range of processes prior to dehydrating that help to retain colour and flavour, improve rehydration time and texture, and increase shelf life.
Steaming or blanching, as explained above is a form of pretreatment. Dipping fruit in ascorbic acid (fruit juice solution) is a natural preservative that is free from sulphurs and sulphates. For the more information and solution formulas go to pre-treatment and drying times for fruit.
One of the keys to even drying is to ensure that your produce is cut to a consistent thickness. For small items like corn, peas and grapes you don’t have to do anything because they are already small and uniform. For larger fruits and vegetables, it is important to cut everything into evenly sized pieces. A mandolin is a handy tool when preparing large quantities for drying and will allow you to slice in uniform thickness. To get the best result be sure to slice your food between 5mm and 10mm in thickness. Any thicker than this and the food may not dry evenly.
Lay food pieces evenly onto the trays. Do not overlap the food pieces as this may inhibit airflow and drying.
Drying times will vary, depending on the type and amount of food, the thickness of the slices, the percentage of water in the food and the weather. For more on preparing specific produce go to pre-treatment and drying times for fruit or pre-treatment and drying times for vegetables.
The Luvele Breeze Dehydrator has a temperature range of between 25°C - 75°C. To get the most out of your produce refer to the setting suggestions below. If the temperature is set too high, it can cause foods to keep moisture within, even if their outer layer appears to be completely dehydrated. Excess moisture will cause foods to go off sooner or grow mould in storage.
Temperature range 25 - 30°C: This temperature setting range is for drying meat for making biltong and drying flowers etc. over a 2-3-day period. The maximum drying time on the 25 - 30°C setting is 72 hours.
Temperature range 35 - 45°C: This temperature setting range is ideal for drying fruit and vegetables that need to remain raw. This lower temperature will dehydrate foods slower, so it may be necessary to slice food thinner when using these temperatures.
Temperature range 50 - 75°C: This temperature range is for produce with a high-water content.
Upon removal, your produce must be at least 95% dehydrated so that is won’t spoil during storage. Let the produce cool for a few minutes before transferring to a storage container. It’s best to pack dried fruit and vegetables straight after drying to prevent stickiness and re-hydration caused by humidity.
Properly dried food can be stored in an airtight glass or hard plastic container that has an airtight seal. Most fruits and vegetables should keep for months if dehydrated correctly.
If foods are insufficiently dried, or are exposed to moisture from faulty packaging, they can lose their quality and nutrition, and can even form mould during storage.
Plastic storage bags that are not labelled for use in the freezer generally are not airtight, nor moisture-proof and should not be used to store dried foods. Since most packaging materials are transparent, store packaged dried foods in a plastic or metal container which will not allow the light to penetrate. Also, store all foods separately so flavours do not mix.
Vacuum sealing is good for longer-term storage. The process removes all the oxygen to extend the shelf life of the food. The Luvele vacuum sealers and vacuum canister range (coming soon) are ideal for packaging dehydrated foods. They can extend the shelf life of dried foods by 4-5 times.
The storage area should be cool, dry, and dark. The darker and cooler the storage area, the longer the dried foods will last. The ideal storage temperature for dehydrated fresh produce is between 15°C to below freezing. The ideal storage place for dehydrated vegetables is a freezer or refrigerator.
You can enjoy dehydrated fruits straight from storage or rehydrate them to use in recipes. Re-hydrating can be done by placing the dried food in enough water to cover them and then leaving to soak for approximately one hour. Boiling water will re-hydrates foods much faster than cold water. Fruits or vegetables may also be re-hydrated in liquids other than water, including fruit juices, vegetable stock/broth, milk or even yogurt. Note: adding salt or sugar during re-hydration will slow the re-hydration process down.
After re-hydrating food, cook it as you would normally. Most fruits and vegetables will rehydrate to about 70-90% of their fresh state. Keep in mind they will be more chewy than fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables. Dried food used in cooking will absorb additional liquid, so adjust the recipe accordingly by adding more liquid.
Once you know how to use the Luvele Breeze for fruits and vegetables, the possibilities are endless. When you’re ready, you can also use the Breeze dehydrator with meats, or making biltong. You can also activate nuts and seeds as well as create tasty snacks, such as flaxseed crackers and trail mix.
If you have a specific question, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org