Food Dehydrator Recipes Made Easy: Jerky, Tomatoes, Kale Chips. Yum!

By on April 30, 2013


Ronco Food Dehydrator

Dehydrating food: An idea as old as mankind and popular once again among gardeners, fruit growers, and the denizens of Farmer’s markets who find amazing produce at bargain basement prices during the peak of the season.

So why would you want to dehydrate foods?  Easy storage is one.  Concentrated flavor is another.  Who knows.  Perhaps you’re planning a trip to the moon and need to pack your pockets with dried apples.

When Ronco sent me this dehydrator to play with last summer, the pears on my tree were really roaring.  I found using the dehydrator to be easy to use, fun to watch and really worthwhile.  Not only did I make great dried pear slices for eating all winter, I also made some cool looking decorations for the Christmas tree and the front-door wreath.

This year, Michael, my gardener, and I have gone crazy planting the garden.  We should have enough to can, freeze and dry for winter use.  Makes me feel safe in the world to be able to put aside foods for the winter.

Let the economy sputter.  Let the income fade.  As long as there’s food in the house, I’m good.


Tuscan Kale Chips

Tuscan kale chips

Tuscan kale chips

1 bunch large Tuscan kale leaves, rinsed, dried, cut lengthwise in half, center ribs and stems removed and discarded

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and black pepper to taste

Wash and dry leaves then toss with oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Arrange leaves, one layer deep on dehydrator shelves. Dry, until crisp. Trade shelves around for even drying.  Takes about 4 hours.

Store in a clean ziplock bag.

Dried Tomatoes

7 -8 lbs firm ripe roma tomatoes

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 tablespoon fresh or dried basil

1 tablespoon fresh or dried oregano

1 tablespoon  fresh or dried thyme

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Fine chop fresh herbs and mix together with salt and oil.

Cut out the tomato stem and the hard portion of core lying under it.

Cut the tomatoes in half, lengthwise. If the tomato is more than about 2 inches long, cut it in quarters.

Scrape out all of the seeds that you can without removing the pulp.

Sprinkle a small amount of herb mixture on each tomato.

Place the tomatoes, cut side up, directly onto the dehydrator trays

After 4 or 5 hours, turn the tomatoes over and press flat with your hand or a spatula.

After a few hours, turn the tomatoes again and flatten gently.

Continue drying until done, about 8 hours.

They are done when they are very dry, but still pliable. Texture is about that of a dried apricot. If dried too long, they become tough and leathery. If not dried long enough, they will mold and mildew, unless packed in oil. So watch them carefully while they dry. Try to remove them on an individual basis, before they become tough.

Store in zip lock bags or in olive oil.


Make this with beef or venison.  It’s a Paleo’s ideal snack and quite tasty for the kids after school as well.

2 lbs venison steak,  OR beef flank or skirt steak

Venison or beef jerky

Venison or beef jerky

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons sea salt

2 teaspoons fine ground black pepper

1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

Half-freeze meat for easy slicing, then cut meat into 1/2 inch thick strips and discard the fat.

Combine all ingredients into ziplock bag and shake well.

Marinate for 8-24 hours in the refrigerator, turning from time to time.

Place on dehydrator shelves, sides touching.

Move shelves around from time to time for even drying.

Remove after fully dried and place into a clean ziplock.

For the first 1/2 day keep bag slightly opened so any remaining moisture will evaporate.

To order you dehyrator today go here:

About Linda Eckhardt

Linda West Eckhardt, is an award winning journalist, food writer, and nutritionist. Her more than 20 cookbooks have garnered prizes including the James Beard prize for the best cookbook for a text she wrote with her daughter, Katherine West DeFoyd, entitled Entertaining 101, Doubleday. Their follow-up book, Stylish One Dish Dinners, Doubleday, was also nominated for a James Beard prize. Their next book, The High Protein Cookbook, Clarkson Potter, remains a best seller after 12 years. That book was designed to accompany low carb diet plans. Her ground-breaking book, Bread in Half The Time, Broadway Books, was named the Best Cookbook in America by the prestigious IACP, The Julia Child award. Her award winning radio work with Jennifer English, for a national show on the Food and Wine radio network, was nominated for a James Beard Prize for a show called, “I Know What You Ate Last Summer.”