This section is from the book "Save It For Winter.", by Frederick Fry Rockwell. Also available from Amazon: Save It For Winter; Modern Methods Of Canning, Dehydrating, Preserving And Storing Vegetables And Fruit For Winter Use, With Comments On The Best ... For Saving, And When And How To Grow Them.
Vegetables which are not suitable for slicing are prepared by cutting into small cubes, or in some cases are cut into fine shreds. Vegetables which have to be partly cooked before drying, or in some cases, prepared by "pulping," or passing them through the meat grinder, to prepare them for drying.
After the product has been dried to as nearly the condition wanted as possible, it will be found in most cases that the degree of dryness obtained will not be ab solutely uniform throughout the batch. To make certain that all parts are dry enough, and to make the degree of moisture as uniform as possible it is "conditioned" by keeping the product in shallow open boxes for a few days, and occasionally turning it over or changing it from one tray to another. If the product is found to be not sufficiently dried out, as is sometimes the case, it is returned to the drier for further treatment.
Fig. 11 - After being blanched, the product is immediately "dipped" in cold water.
Fig. 12 - A false bottom of wood (or of wire) placed in an ordinary wash boiler makes a good outfit for "processing" a limited number of jars or cans in the home kitchen.
Containers in which the finished dried product is to be stored and kept for future use may be glass jars, crocks, or specially prepared paper, or in fact anything which is convenient or may be covered tight enough to prevent any insects or worms from getting into the product. These containers do not have to be, as in canning, absolutely air-tight.
Success in drying, evaporating, or dehydrating vegetables or fruit will depend to a very great extent on having apparatus which is adapted to the work that is to be done. This does not mean that it is necessary to invest a considerable amount in equipment before drying can be undertaken. There are now manufactured for home and community use a number of machines of various sizes that cover a wide range of prices. Many of these are not very expensive and are very convenient to use, and efficient. It is entirely feasible, however, to construct an apparatus, if one is at all handy with tools, that will answer for home purposes. Herewith are illustrated three types of driers of home-made construction. The first of these is suitable for the sun-drying process of fruits or vegetables; the second, for evaporation by artificial heat; and the third for dehydrating by air-current. These show plainly the principles on which the work is accomplished. Other machines are illustrated and described in the chapter on equipment.