Dry Spell

Why a coun­ter­top de­hy­dra­tor could be your new best friend this fall

SAVEUR - - Test Kitchen -

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.

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