I certainly do a huge amount of canning as part of my preserving process but I also dry! Drying fruits and vegetables is a great way to keep summer food available year round without destroying nutrients or taste. In fact there are many veggies and fruits that taste better dried.
The usual snack that comes to mind are apple slices which I LOVE but there are also a ton of other ways to use dried veggies besides snacks (which they are great for, lets not forget!).
I recently bought 25 pounds of field tomatoes and didn't feel up to a whole day of cooking and canning sauce so I dried them in slices. They are amazing snacks but can be used in a ton of ways: (and applies to other vegetables as well).
- Mixed into cream cheese to make a veggie spread.
- Re-hydrated and used like a fresh tomato in ANY recipe.
- Powdered and mixed with water to make paste, or a sauce for pasta and pizza
- Added to soups- they will re-hydrate while cooking. This is true of any dried veggie
The uses go on and on and I know I've only scratched the surface.
To Re-hydrate dried fruits or vegetables just cover with hot water and let sit for 30 minutes. They will generally re-hydrate back to 80% of their fresh state.
Adding them to soups is also a great way to add a ton of summer flavor when the days are a bit colder and darker.
I have my two dehydrators running almost every day right now. My new one came with a fruit leather tray that turns blended fruits into fruit leather rolls that make amazing healthful snacks. Mine are made with 100% fruit puree with no other preservative needed. I know exactly what's in it. I definitely find myself eating more fruit when it's dried and love the taste.
So don't panic if you find yourself with too much of something, consider drying it and keeping it around!