Dehydrating sweet potatoes
By Joseph Parish
Have you noticed lately the price of fresh sweet potatoes have been dropping? When the cost of produce takes a nose dive I believe it is time to start stock up on that vegetable for winter use. As of this writing, the cost of a bushel of sweet potatoes in my area is on the order of $22.00. Not too bad of a price all considering how much you pay if bought in your local grocery store. A comparison with my local Wal-Mart places those costs at around .89 cents per pound or about $44 dollars per bushel in the grocery store.
On the average you can estimate that two pounds of sweet potatoes will equal approximately four servings therefore since a bushel is about 50 pounds we will be creating 100 servings of powdered sweet potatoes.
I like to make sweet potato powder using the dehydrator. By using the sweet potato powder rather than slicing the potatoes, I find that they rehydrate much quicker when using boiling water. This is an excellent method for creating "instant" mashed sweet potatoes.
To start the process take and peel your sweet potatoes into 1/8th inch slices and cook them for about 45 minutes. At this point you could leave them in slices or you could cut the potatoes into small cubes. I generally use a mandolin for this process in order to achieve uniform thicknesses. I like to drain them and mash as you would regular white potatoes. Keep in mind that you do not want to add any spices, salts or fats such as butter to these potatoes which you plan to dehydrate. If you would like you could alternately bake them in your oven on 350 degrees for 45 minutes and finally mash them up, the choice is entirely yours.
If you decided to slice them in slices, sticks, or cubes arrange your sweet potatoes on a single layer dehydrator tray. In that case, dry them at 135 degrees until they become hard and brittle. This should take about 12 to 18 hours. Stir them occasionally and rotate the trays once or twice during the process. Since I am making powder, I will mash the sweet potatoes and spread them on a plastic-wrapped tray in 1 cup portions. Be sure to spread them as thin as you can. Usually it would be 1 cup per tray.
Set your dehydrator for 135 degrees and as soon as the top of the sweet potatoes are dry they can be removed from the sheets and turned over to dry the underside. When they become crispy they are ready to be removed from the dehydrator. Crumble them up and place small amounts of the product in your blender or food processor to create a powder.
To rehydrate your sweet potato powder, slowly add hot water until it reaches the thickness of mashed potato. To store your powder place it in a mason jar along with an oxygen absorber to remove the air. As long as no air is permitted inside the Mason jar your sweet potato powder should last for years.
This powder can be used for mashed sweet potatoes, sweet potato biscuits as well as an excellent source of potatoes for sweet potato pies. Use it anywhere you would normally use sweet potatoes by cooking it in equal amounts of boiling water for 35 minutes. One cup of powder will yield about 1-1/2 cups of cooked sweet potatoes. To top off our article here is a recipe for orange glazed sweet potatoes.
3 cups of boiling water
3 cups of dehydrated sweet potato powder
2/3 cups of granulated sugar
1 tablespoons of cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of grated dried orange peel
1 cup of orange juice
2 tablespoons of butter
In a sauce pan pour the boiling water over the powdered sweet potato mix. Cover the pan and cook for 35 minutes over a very low heat. Now combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt together and after mixing add the grated orange peel. Slowly add the orange juice being sure to stir it continually. Continue to cook over a low heat until it starts to thicken. Finally, add the butter and boil for one extra minute. In a casserole dish place the cooked sweet potatoes and pour this mixture over it. Cover the dish and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour. This recipe will serve 6 people.
Copyright @2011 Joseph Parish