Dehydrate Vegetables in Your Oven

If you don't own a dehydrator, don't worry. You can still dry (or dehydrate) vegetables in your oven. Dehydrated vegetables are useful for soups, stews, dips, purees, and sauces. They have the advantage of being compact, lightweight, and keep indefinitely at room temperature. They are a useful pantry (or camping) staple. While it seems obvious, make sure to store dehydrated vegetables in a sealed container in a dark, cool cabinet.

When you are ready to use dehydrated vegetables, you have a few options. You can eat them as is, like kale chips or butternut squash chips. Adding dehydrated vegetables to soups, stews, and slow cookers will naturally rehydrate them, so they will be adding to the dish without extra steps. Finally, some dried vegetables are best when they are rehydrated first, and then used in cooking. Dried mushrooms are best when rehydrated in hot water and then used in the food you are preparing.

  • 01 of 06

    Dry Tomatoes in the Oven

    Use fully ripe tomatoes for the most flavorful results. Leda Meredith

    Dried tomatoes don't have to be "sundried" to be delicious. In many places, the summers are too humid to dry foods in the sun since they will just mold. Instead, opt for drying them in either a dehydrator or the oven. The result is just as intensely flavorful and colorful as the ones that were dried in less humid climates in the sun (and a whole lot less expensive).

  • 02 of 06

    Oven-Dried Turnips

    Anthony Rosenberg / Getty Images

    Drying turnips preserves the light color, flavor, and nutrients of the vegetable. Dried turnips are terrific in soups (including homemade soup stocks) and stews. They also take up very little space and weigh almost nothing, which makes them very easy to store.

  • 03 of 06

    Oven-Baked Kale Chips

    Kale Chips
    antonios mitsopoulos / Getty Images

    These savory, crunchy kale chips are a healthy alternative to potato chips. They are so tasty, don't be surprised if your batch disappears as soon as you make it. Flavor them with salt, nutritional yeast, or any other spice topping for an extra tasty treat.

  • 04 of 06

    Butternut Squash Chips

    Butternut squash cut in half
    Zsuzsanna Békefi / Getty Images

    Baked butternut squash chips are a crunchy, delicious snack that is both savory and naturally sweet. They don't take long to make in your oven and are much healthier than conventional chips. Skip the expense and grease of deep-fried versions.

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  • 05 of 06

    Blanch and Dehydrate Celery

    Cut celery sticks and leaves on wooden table
    fcafotodigital / Getty Images

    Celery is essential to soup stocks and to the mirepoix blend of celery, carrot, and onion that is the backbone of so many savory dishes. When you only need a stalk or two and don't have any fresh celery on hand, dried celery will usually work fine.

  • 06 of 06

    Dry Mushrooms in the Oven

    Dried oyster and maitake mushrooms. Leda Meredith

    Mushrooms aren't technically vegetables, but they go together in so many savory dishes. Mushrooms dry beautifully using the oven method. When rehydrated in hot water, their texture is almost identical to fresh mushrooms.

    This is a great way to preserve an abundance of foraged mushrooms or simply to make sure that the store-bought mushrooms in your refrigerator don't spoil before you get around to eating them.