Years ago, I found a dehydrator at a rummage sale for $3.50. I'd heard a bit about dehydrating so I bought it, then it sat unused for a few years. I finally started making apple chips, but I didn't do anything else with it until I discovered Dehydrate2store on Youtube. There I found videos on dehydrating that gave me the courage to start dehydrating more things and now...well, anyone who follows my blog regularly knows how obsessed I am with my dehydrators (I have four!). So when I heard that Tammy Gangloff had released I book, I was thrilled!
The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook is just that: the Ultimate. It is 371 pages long and absolutely crammed full of dehydrating projects and 398 recipes. Its 18 chapters cover every aspect of dehydration and cooking with dehydrated foods, from making your own bread and crackers to desserts to breakfast items. The book layout makes sense and is easy to use. There are a generous number of sidebars throughout with little tips for success or fun little projects to try.
How Dehydrating Works offers the history and science of dehydrating as well as information on vitamins and how they are affected by dehydration, and the bacteria and mold to protect against. Your Dehydrator Toolbox offers tips on buying a dehydrator and the features you want it to have, as well as the other tools that make dehydrating easy and fun. Dehydrating 101 provides valuable information to get your started on dehydrating: rough estimates of time, temperature, tips for dehydrating sweet vs less sweet items, problem solving for common dehydrating issues, such as items absorbing moisture in storage. The chapters on dehydrating fruits and vegetables offer great details on preparation (a few different ways with each item), temperature, and how to store for maximum shelf life. They also cover dehydrating nuts, greens, and mushrooms. The chapter on powers and leathers is full of fun projects, like making your own baby food. This section alone could save you more than the cost of the book!
Chapter 7 not only covers dehydrating different parts of herbs, but provides some recipes for yummy tea blends you can mix at home. Jerky making is one of the reasons people first get into dehydrating, and the chapter on jerky provides tips and recipes for almost any jerky craving, as well as information on making yogurt in your (box) dehydrator and even for dehydrating tofu. The chapter on Backpacking and Camper Food isn't just GORP (good ol' raisins and peanuts): it provides fantastic ready-to-rehydrate meals for camping out. This chapter is a must for any prepper as these recipes would also be great in a SHTF situation.
Chapter 11 is a really fun one! It has recipes for flavor boosters, snacks and instant soup mixes. The flavor rubs and flavored salts and sugars are a fun and easy way to add a flavor blast to your dishes. The soup mixes are perfect for busy families or for kids who are home alone since the cooking is simply to add boiling water (this could even be done in the microwave) to the mix, stir and enjoy. The Instant Mushroom Soup is to die-for and I can't wait to try the Instant Bean Soup. The gifts chapter is perfect for the coming holiday season with instructions for crazy-fun flavored popcorns, meals in jars, candies, ornaments, wreaths and soaps. Who knew there were so many fun things to make with a dehydrator?
The recipes chapters are an absolute treasure when it comes time to start actually cooking with the foods you dehydrate. It's easy to get caught up in dehydrating a ton of different foods when the garden harvest comes in or you find a bargain at the farmers market, but sometimes it's hard to figure out how to use these valuable foods. This book is the solution. Breakfast and Brunch offers smoothie ideas from the typical (Strawberry-Banana) to the awesome (Orange-Creamsicle!) to the intriguing (Hot Tomato with habanero peppers), parfaits, flavored cream cheese (You'll never need to buy those expensive tubs at the grocery again!), omelets and casseroles as well as dried-food standards like muffins and granola bars. Soups are the easiest way to get started cooking with dehydrated foods, and the chapter on Soups, Stews and Chili is the perfect crash course with recipes for Cheesy Broccoli Soup, Cream of Mushroom and Full of Beans Chili. Main courses of Zucchini and Mushroom Lasagna, Sloppy Joes, Pineapple and Bacon Focaccia and Cranberry BBQ Chicken are sure to please your family. For the busy family, the slow cooker recipes are a god-send with 47 recipes to toss into your slow cooker and go. There are recipes for gelatins, side dishes, dips, salsas and pickles. This all takes us to everyone's favorite chapter: Desserts. Cranberry-Orange Sugar Cookies, Pumpkin Spice Cookies (now is the time to get those bargain pumpkins to dehydrate and powder for a winter's worth of awesomeness!), Sweet Potato Brownies, Fruit Leather Jelly Roll Cake, pies and puddings...You can bake up a storm all winter and never run out of fun new desserts to try!
This book is a must-read for anyone who owns a dehydrator or is curious about getting started in the wonderful world of dehydrating. This book is great for those who are nervously just getting started on food preservation with all the information needed to successfully preserve food for later. It is also perfect for those who are moderate dehydrator-users already as it supplies exciting ideas to experiment with. I use my dehydrators frequently and consider myself a moderate to experienced home dehydrator and as I read this book I found countless ideas that blew my mind. As you know if you've watched her youtube videos, Tammy is incredible creative and inventive in her dehydrator recipes. She even offers ways to use "waste" products like apple peels (dehydrate and powder to add to teas and smoothies). This book is definitely going to be my go-to for any dehydrating questions as well as a good shot of new things to try whenever I get in a dehydrating rut. This book can help you reduce your food waste, enrich your diet and save money.
You can buy The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook on Amazon as a paperback or as a kindle book. Remember, if you don't have a kindle, you can download the free Kindle app to read kindle books on your computer, tablet or phone. Make sure to visit her website for recipes and videos.
Now for the giveaway! One lucky winner will receive a free paperback copy of The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook. Visit our Facebook page and go to the official contest post. Like the post for one entry into the drawing, and for a second entry, comment with your favorite food to dehydrate, favorite dehydrator recipe or what you'd most like to learn to dehydrate. Entry will be open until Friday, October 3, 2014 at midnight at which time entry will close. I will announce the winner on Saturday at noon on Facebook. The winner will have 24 hours to respond; if they haven't at that time, I will draw a new winner. Entry is restricted to residents in the US.
Update 10/27/14: The giveaway was fun. Linda won the book and received it last week. She said: "I received my book last week. It is awesome!! The best ever! Thanks so much! I highly recommend it!!"
Disclaimer: This review is my honest personal opinion of the book. I received a free digital copy to read and review, but no other compensation.