I've been dehydrating for several years. I love using our Excalibur dehydrator. We have the five tray middle from about 10+ years ago. I also have the sheets for drying fruit leathers. The companion to our Excalibur dehydrator is our Food Saver food sealer. We store our dried foods in canning jars and the Food Saver has a jar attachment for both regular and wide-mouth jars.
Over the 4th of July weekend our local grocery always had a big produce sale. I'll admit, this year I wasn't as impressed with the quality of the produce as I have been in years past. We did however, make a few purchases for drying to use through the fall and winter seasons. I dried 16 red and yellow bell peppers, which got me nearly a full quart jar. We also dried eight pounds of strawberries, getting us roughly two quart jars. I'm always amazed at how much fresh produce reduces when dehydrated.
Once my jars were full I added the canning seal and use the jar vac sealing options on our Food Saver. After the jars have been vac sealed I add the ring and a label. Then onto the shelf for future use.
The number one way my dried bell peppers are used is in homemade taco and spaghetti seasoning mixes. I often use them in soups and stews throughout the winter months as well. They can be re-hydrated and used in things like scrambled eggs, quiche, or baked goods.
Strawberries on the other hand will mostly be eaten as they are, although they are delicious in oatmeal and yogurt too. They can also be baked with, but they never last long enough in our house for me to try that.
Over the past weekend, I added more dried apples to our stash as well as a bit of pineapple. Hubby loves the apples and he takes them in his lunch frequently. The pineapple, once dried, is like candy. The dehydration brings out the sweetness of the natural sugars and let me tell you it won't last long.
Dehydrating is an easy way to add food security to your pantry. Much like canning, dehydration is a form of preservation that results in lining your larder shelves with good food for later use. All of the things I have dehydrated can go a long way in adding flavor to food if they are used in cooking or baking, but they can also serve as a great way to add extra servings of fruit to your daily snacking routine.