Dehydrator Beginner

A great way to have healthy snacks on hand, or to use up extra garden produce, is to learn your way around a food dehydrator. Recently, that is what I’ve started to do.

Here’s what my jerky looks like just coming out of the dehydrator.

A couple weeks ago, my husband saw that the Excalibur Food Dehydrator was marked down on Woot nearly half price. I guess the Excalibur brand makes a great dehydrator. Honestly, I know more about breeds of cattle than brand names of appliances, so it’s nice to have online reviews for that type of thing. 

These are the ingredients I use for the beef jerky marinade.

I bet you can’t guess the very first thing I decided to make with my new dehydrator. Beef jerky, of course! It always irks me how expensive beef jerky is to buy and also how most of it has nitrates or other harmful ingredients in it. So, homemade is definitely a better option. 

The beef needs to soak in the marinade for several hours.

As I have posted about before, we have our own beef butchered. One of the only setbacks to this is that I don’t always have every imaginable cut available when I would like it. Right now, we are down to just hamburger and liver left in the freezer. A couple of steers are being fed out for butchering soon, but, until then, our meat selection is a bit scant. 

My dehydrator is quite large, as big as a microwave.

That means instead of using sirloin tip or some other better cut for my jerky, I used hamburger meat. (Or, if you prefer, you can call it ground beef or ground chuck.) I just formed it into little, flat strips, and it worked just fine. 

I form the hamburger meat into strips, marinate, and then set on the dehydrator tray.

Here is the online recipe I used for my beef jerky, and I thought it came out very tasty, quite flavorful. I marinated my beef strips overnight. I then put the leftover marinade in a plastic bag to store in the freezer, so I could reuse it for next time. This recipe had more than enough spices and marinade to be able to use it for another batch. 

The beef jerky is ready to eat after 5 hours of dehydrating time.

If any of you have a favorite food or recipe that you like to use for dehydrating, please share! I’m certainly a novice at this and welcome feedback.  

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