This is the second year that we are using our homemade dehydrator.
Last year we used it to dry garlic for garlic powder and it worked amazingly well. We will still use it for that purpose, but right now I am using it to dry my herbs.
To make a dehydrator all you need is a container with shelves, some trays and some air flow. We had a big cardboard box in the shed. Ernie built an insert with scrap wood to hold two trays, then cut a hole in the top back of the box to promote air flow.
The table is an old coffee table that we had in storage, and the trays are screens from old windows that are long gone. All saved items. The only thing that is new is the heater/fan. We use it on the no heat setting to move the air. A regular fan could be used if that is what you have.
This dehydrator works very well. Obviously you have to turn the herbs or garlic occasionally to promote even drying but that’s no problem.
Yes, it looks weird and is not appropriate for some decor (lol), but who cares. It was free and more junk is not getting put into the landfill.
The garlic we use with this is what we know will not last the whole winter because there were worms in them or they drying out.
Never throw out garlic by the way, unless it is mouldy. Even if you have a small amount you can slice it into small pieces, put it on a plate, and let it air dry, turning it regularly. When it is dry, chop it in a small grinder or use a mortar and pestle.
The herbs dry faster in the dehydrator than just being air dried, but we using both methods on all of our herbs.
Isn’t it much better to know where your garlic powder and dried herbs come from and how they were processed rather than buying them?
We think so.
This year Ernie did the garden planting. I was working (at home) and didn’t have the extra time so he put in all the plants. He even picked up the seeds at the store and some transplants from the local greenhouse.
Needless to say I forgot what he bought and planted.
So when I started harvesting the oregano and rosemary, I was pleased to find out that we DID actually have basil, something I use more than any other herb. It was by accident too that I found out, as you can see in the short video I posted below.
It really was a surprise and I REALLY had forgotten. I don’t even remember where they were purchased or if I planted them and Ernie can’t remember either.
Our Drying Method Is Simple
The trays that I use to dry my herbs are silver trays that we bought for our wedding 11 years ago and used once. Now they are really getting put to use. I believe in using what you have as many of you know. I simply keep the leaves on the trays and “fluff” them daily. I don’t use any special air movers or a food dryer or anything like that.
The key to doing it this way is to keep moving the leaves around on the trays so that they get exposed to the air. This method does take longer than using dryers or screens but it costs nothing and is maintenance free.
The moral of this story is – Check your gardens. You may have something delicious growing that you missed – other than weeds (not that any homesteader would 🙂
Howdy! We’re Anne and Ernie and our goal is to grow our own food and make our own stuff using as much junk and salvage as possible. Thanks for coming by.
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