by Brittany Williams, Clarke Corporate Chef
Can you imagine turning your oven into a dehydrator with just a push of a button? Well with Wolf Electric Wall Ovens it is just that simple.
Dehydration has been a form of food preservation for years and a practice that is gaining popularity again today. You can turn for favorite fruits and vegetables into healthy snacks for grown-ups and kids alike. Drying your own fruits, vegetables and even meats make packing for a long hike or camping trip super simple without the bulk. Most foods are delicious dried, but can also be rehydrated for a quick and easy meal. Dehydrating also ensures you can enjoy your favorite seasonal fruits and vegetables all year round. Sun dried tomatoes make a great addition to salads and pasta dishes, or you can rehydrate to make a yummy bruschetta or tomato sauce! Dehydrating is also a great option if you have left over fruits and vegetables you don’t have space for in your freezer. You can also use any left over fresh herbs to make your own dried herbs! And with Wolf convection systems, you never have to worry about flavor transfer. The options are endless.
Here are some things you can do on dehydration mode in your Wolf Electric Wall Oven:
- Make kale chips and bagel chips
- Prepare Meringue(s)
- Dry homemade pasta
- Dry bread for easy homemade breadcrumbs
A misconception about drying foods is that you destroy important nutrients. This is not necessarily the case! Vitamin A and minerals including potassium, sodium and magnesium, as well as fiber and carbohydrates, are not altered by drying.
So how does it work?
When dehydrating, you are using a low temperature (110°-160°) for a long period of time. Although you are not “cooking” the food per say, the dehydration process removes water from food items, which inhibits the growth of microorganisms and bacteria. Dehydration is achieved via the circulation of dry, hot air.
When dehydrating, drying time will vary depending on these factors:
- The water content of the food
- Sugar content of the food
- The size of the food item
Food items like watermelon and cucumber are not recommended for drying because they have roughly 95% water! Needless to say, you may not be pleased with your yield.
How do you know when food is dry?
The best way to know that your food is dry is to take it out of the oven, rest it on the counter for 1-2 minutes and give it the ol’ finger poke. Simply touching the food will give you the best indication of dryness or moistness of your food. If it feels sticky or tacky, allow it more time to dry. Luckily, there isn’t a big concern for over drying foods. It is best to over-dry then to under-dry, so when in doubt, give it some more time.
How long can you store dried foods?
Dried foods have three enemies: light, air and water. You want to store your dried foods in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place. Storing dried foods in a pantry or cupboard is ideal. Dried herbs and other vegetables can be stored up to 1 year. Foods that contain higher sugar content or fat content like fruits and meats can be stored for 1-2 months. You can actually refrigerate or freeze dried fruits, vegetables and meats in a vacuum sealed package.
A Wolf Dehydration Accessory kit is required. Accessories are available through an authorized Wolf dealer. To find your local dealer, click here.
There is no need to pre-heat dehydration mode. You can also dry multiple racks at the same time.
First, insert door stop into oven door lock. In your Wolf Electric Wall Oven, simply press the “DEHYD” button. Using the number pad, change temperature at any time then select “ENTER.” In a Wolf Dual Fuel Range, select Convection on the mode selector bezel. Using the electric control knob, toggle the temperature to the left until “dEH” is displayed. The oven's dehydration temperature is preset to 135°, however the temperature can easily be changed. The dehydration temperature range is between 110°-160°.
Below find two recipes for some of our favorite dehydrated foods. If you have any questions, you can always call your Clarke showroom, where a chef or showroom consultant will be happy to answer specific questions.
Homemade beef jerky is so tasty! This recipe is sweet and a little spicy. You can always use your own marinade or spices. If you like it sweeter, add more honey or agave nectar. If you like your jerky more on the spicy side, feel free to add more red pepper flakes!
1 ½ - 2 pounds flank steak (or any lean cut of beef)
For the marinade:
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
1 ½ teaspoons red pepper flake
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1-2 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl or large measuring cup and set aside.
For the meat, start by removing any excess fat. Large amounts of excess fat won’t dry and can cause your jerky to become rancid.
Using a sharp knife, cut the flank steak along the grain into long, thin, strips. If you find this step challenging, place the meat into the freezer for an hour before slicing. This will help the meat firm up and make slicing easier.
Place the strips into a large zip lock bag and add marinade. Close the bag and shake/massage the meat strips to ensure every piece is evenly covered with the marinade. Place the bag into a bowl (in case of dripping or leaky bag) and place into the refrigerator. Marinate over night. When you are ready to dry, pour the marinated beef into a colander, allowing excess marinade to drain.
Lay the strips flat onto drying racks, ensuring the strips do not over lap. Gently pat dry with a paper towel.
Insert door stop into oven door lock. In your Wolf Electric Wall Oven press the “DEHYD” button. In a Dual Fuel Range, select "Convection" on the mode selector bezel. Using the electric control knob, toggle the temperature to the left until “dEH” is displayed. The oven's dehydration temperature is preset to 135°.
Dry beef at 135° for 6-8 hours or until the beef is completely dry. Drying time may be longer or shorter depending on the moisture content of the beef. Don’t be concerned if your jerky takes up to 12 hours.
Store in an air-tight container for up to 6-8 weeks in a cool, dry place. You can store it in the refrigerator or freezer after 6-8 weeks if you desire.
Fruit Leather is a super fun and tasty treat for kids and adults alike! You can use any combination of fruit you would like simply follow this easy formula:
4 cups of fruit
¼ - ½ cup Agave nectar*
½ cup water
* Depending on the ripeness or sweetness of the fruit you are using, you may need to add more gave nectar. You can also use honey.
Wash and dice fruit. If using stone fruit like peaches or apricots, remove the pit. If using apples, peel and remove core.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place diced fruit into a sauce pan and add water and ¼ cup Agave nectar. Cover and heat over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, checking on fruit after 5 minutes. When fruit is tender, pull off heat and allow to cool slightly. Taste the fruit for sweetness and add ¼ cup more Agave, if desired. Add fruit to Wolf Gourmet Blender and select the “puree” setting and press “start”.
Evenly distribute the puree between the two parchment-lined baking sheets. Using a spatula, spread puree out to evenly cover pan.
Insert door stop into oven door lock. In your Wolf Electric Wall Oven, press the “DEHYD” button. In a Duall Fuel Range, select "Convectio"n on the mode selector bezel. Using the electric control knob, toggle the temperature to the left until “dEH” is displayed. The oven's dehydration temperature is preset to 135°.
Dry Fruit Leather on 135° for up to 12 hours. Drying time may increase or decrease depending on the water content of the fruit you are using. Fruits and vegetables like watermelon and cucumbers are not recommended for fruit leather because they are roughly 96% water! Here are a few specific Fruit Leather recipes that we love...
Pineapple Mango Fruit Leather
2 cups fresh mango chunks, skin removed
2 cups fresh pineapple, skin removed.
¼ - ½ cup Agave nectar
½ cup water
Strawberry Nectarine Fruit Leather:
3 cups diced strawberries, stems removed
1 cup diced nectarines, pit removed
¼ - ½ cup Agave nectar
½ cup water
Apricot Peach Fruit Leather:
3 cups diced apricots, pits removed (about 7-8 apricots)
1 cup diced peaches, pits removed (about 2-3 peaches or nectarines)
¼ - ½ cup agave nectar
½ cup water
Dehydrating is a wonderful feature in your Wolf Electric Oven and often a true surprise for homeowners to discover. If you would like to take a Test Drive of this feature to understand the benefits before purchasing your Wolf oven or range, simply click here.