For years I have dehydrated all kinds of food for my family. Fruits, vegetables, herbs, meat and even complete meals are on my regular dehydrating list. Two vegetables that I have always dried without using the dehydrator though were Green Beans and Sweet Corn.
I used to take a needle and heavy string and string up green beans to dry indoors. Green Beans dried this way are called “Leather Britches”. This is a very old method and it works well as long as you don’t mind veggies hanging around your living room or kitchen.
Sweet Corn is another one I have always dried without a dehydrator. I just stuck the cob of corn on a cast iron dryer and let it hang around til it was dry, then I’d shell it and store it.
I tried something new for me this week though, I dried both green beans and sweet corn in the dehydrator. It was definitely faster.
Dried green beans can be used in soups and stews or just cooked the way you would ordinarily cook fresh green beans. The ones dried in the dehydrator are dried very dry, they are hard and crispy. When I dry them on string they normally don’t ever get that dry, but I wanted them to be completely dry so I could store them in jars. To dry Green Beans in the dehydrator, just rinse them off to get dirt and leaves off, break and string the beans, shell the over ripe beans, then place them in the dehydrator at 125*F. You can’t really over dry Green Beans so let the dehydrator run til they are so crisp that they break apart if you try to crush them with a hammer or heavy object. I let these run in the dehydrator for about 8 hours.
The sweet corn is dry and crispy too, so when I store it in jars it won’t grow mold. Sweet corn is naturally very moist so it can take a little longer than the beans but this batch ran 8 hours at 115*F and turned out great. To prepare sweet corn for dehydrating, shuck the corn, pull out all the silks, cut the kernels off the cob with a big, sharp knife. Lay the kernels on the dehydrating mats in a single layer. Dehydrate at 115*F til completely dry, like the green beans. You don’t want to dry corn or beans at a higher temp because you can dry out the outside and leave moisture in the center, this is called case hardening and leads to mold growth.
This batch of dried beans and corn will be stored in mason jars but you could also store them in vacuum bags or in the freezer. Dehydrated foods don’t take up much room so when you use them, think about how much they will plump up after cooking. I would use about 2 cups of this dried corn in a pot of vegetable soup, for example.
Try some dehydrating on your own. Its one of the easiest ways to preserve your food.