Why a countertop dehydrator could be your new best friend this fall
IT’S EASY TO SCOFF at having a dehydrator—it has a reputation for languishing dusty and unused, taking up valuable counter space. But for this issue, we found ourselves returning to our dehydrator again and again, and for some surprising reasons.
We preserved the season’s bounty of tomatoes, just like chef Sarah Minnick does in “A League of Their Own” (p. 32)—a trick for peak-flavor pizzas year-round. We also took a cue from cookbook author Rachael Mamane, who gently concentrates the sweet flavor of squash by dehydrating before simmering them into a bold vegetable stock in “Garden Variety” (p. 38). And when our chilly kitchen proved inhospitable for fermenting dosa batter for “Lessons from the Griddle” (p. 46), we pulled out the racks and set the dehydrator to a cozy 90°F—ideal for cultivating a frothy batter.
A good rule of thumb for dehydration is to keep foods no more than an inch thick and start at around the 150°F setting. From there, check the contents every hour or so, and adjust the heat as needed. —K.C.
To dehydrate medium-size summer tomatoes, halve or quarter them, then set the machine at 160°F for about 8 hours.