Life is just busy, no way around it. And homesteader’s lives tend to be a little more busy than other people’s, but that could just be a matter of opinion. Whatever has your life busy, busy, busy, there’s definitely that temptation to stroll through that boxed convenience aisle! We throw caution to the wind in exchange for the ability to quickly get something delicious on the table for the family after a long day. Let me show you how to dehydrate potatoes so that you can make delicious AND nutritious convenience foods for your family!
So dehydrating doesn’t seem like it would be a convenient thing to do at all, does it? The truth is, there are extra steps to preparing food for dehydrating, and honestly, it does take some thought and planning to have the right foods on the shelf if you’d like to make convenience foods from them.
If you think about it, dehydrated foods are pretty much all that is inside some of the most comforting convenience foods we eat! Think pasta–the difference between fresh and dry pasta is what? The lack of water in the dry pasta, right?
How about boxed mashed potatoes? Those are pretty much dry potato flakes that you just add water to! (Don’t forget the butter and milk to make them creamy, and maybe bacon bits and cheese to make them decadent!)
What about cup o’ noodles? Dry noodles, dehydrated veggies, and spices that you–you got it–just add water to! See where I’m going with this?
If it’s convenience food we want, dehydrated potatoes will definitely be a staple on our shelves. They can be used in so many ways: soups, stews, hash browns, fried, baked with cheese for au gratin potatoes…the list is endless!
How to Dehydrate Potatoes
Before I get on with my instructions, I want to point out that if you are new to dehydrating and haven’t read my post called “How to Dehydrate Food for Beginners“, let me encourage you to do that first. That post is chock full of information for the beginning or novice person seeking to get into or add more dehydrating to their kitchen.
Instructions for Dehydrating Potatoes
What you are planning to do with your potatoes will inform how you will be preparing them. Are you interested in making hash browns? Perhaps shreds will work best for you. Would you like to make scalloped potatoes once per week? Slices would be best for that. How about potatoes for soups and stews? Dices will work nicely for that. The possibilities are wide open to your imagination!
Prepping Your Potatoes
The first thing you will need to do is to prepare your citric acid dip and your pot of water for blanching, as you will be using both of these methods when dehydrating potatoes. If you don’t know how to do those things, you can refer to my aforementioned post, and grab the directions for both of those things under “Blanching” and “Dipping”. Scrub your potatoes with a scrub brush to clean.
- For Slices: Slice your potatoes 1/8″ thick with a mandolin, food processor, or a sharp knife.
- For Dices: With a sharp knife, dice your potatoes into 1/3″ dices.
- For Shreds: Grate your potatoes into shreds.
The Process of Dehydrating Potatoes
- You will be doing the dipping part of pretreatment first. As you are cutting your potatoes, put them into the citric acid dip to prevent your potatoes from oxidizing and turning black. Leave in solution for no more than 10 minutes, then drain.
- Next, you will be doing the blanching portion of the pretreatment to dehydrating your potatoes. Drop potatoes into boiling water and depending on the cut, you will allow them to stay in the boiling water for 4-6 minutes, or until fork tender. Remove from water with a slotted spoon into ice water for quick cooling. Drain.
- Load your dehydrator. For slices or dices, lay your potato pieces in single layers onto the trays. For dices, you may want to use tray liners to keep the smaller pieces from falling through the slots in the tray. For shreds, you can use tray liners, fruit leather trays, or even parchment. It’s hard to keep shreds in a single layer, so don’t worry about it if the shreds are touching. They will dehydrate quickly anyway.
- Dehydrate at 135 for 8-10 hours. It works well to allow them to dehydrate overnight. Depending on how thick the layer of shreds is, you may need to leave them in a bit longer.
- To rehydrate, add your potatoes directly to a soup or stew, or soak in hot water for 30 minutes. They should rehydrate to about a quarter larger in volume than when you started, so 1 cup dehydrated = 1-1/4 cup rehydrated. They will look similar to what they look like when they are fresh.
Knowing how to dehydrate potatoes is a fantastic stepping stone in learning how to make convenience foods for your shelf that your family will love! Stay tuned to tomorrow’s post where I will show you how to use your dehydrated potatoes to make convenience food!