Well over a year ago we bought a 9 Tray Excalibur Non-Timer dehydrator. Breath takingly expensive at full price we got a bargain as it was an ex display model. I’ve heard people rave about their £30/£40 models bought on eBay so I’m not necessarily recommending people go out and buy an Excalibur but that is what appears in the photos. It’s also worth knowing that Groupon often has offers on dehydrators.
I do prefer the dehydrator over using the oven, although the oven works perfectly adequately as I’ve written about before (dried liver and ox heart). The dehydrator is more energy efficient and I just prefer the finished product. That said Ted was just as happy with the oven dried treats as the dehydrator dried ones!
Yesterday I dehydrated 9 trays worth of lambs liver and pork and lamb kidney.
The first thing I did was get all the offal into a partially frozen/defrosted state to make it easy for slicing. I do this by fully freezing everything, then getting it out of the freezer about an hour before I need to slice it. I’m looking for it to be defrosted enough for me to just be able to slice it, that way I can get nice, clean, thin slices without any of the annoying “squidging” around that offal can do. Here’s one of the pork kidneys fully sliced and one of the lamb’s livers partially sliced:
It’s then really easy to lay them out on the trays whilst they are still partially frozen and easy to handle. The 9 trays could have held more but two whole lambs livers, a tray of lambs kidney and several pork kidneys will keep the chis going for quite some time.
At this point I cannot stress enough the importance of pre-cleaning your chopping board ready for the washing up/dish washer. This is a job that Ted takes very seriously, so if I forget he will remind me. It’s a pleasure to see him at work as he has such a high degree of skill in this area.
Several hours later (the length of time needed to fully dehydrate something is influenced by how thinly you slice it) and it’s all dehydrated, liver on the left, kidney on the right.
At this point I need Ted again as taste testing is paramount, he put his stamp of approval on without hesitation. However Ella felt it necessary to perform repeat testings ad infinitum and was ever present at the kitchen door.
Finally when they’ve cooled I pop them into boxes. There’s three liver, one kidney and one mixed box. Although they will keep fine in storage jars I tend to freeze mine and get batches out as I need them.