Dehydrating is often the realm of winter boredom, planning trips in December, ways to dream of warmer months coming. Summer drying can be a better choice if you have access to farm fresh foods or a well stocked farmers markets. On Saturday’s when I don’t hike I take the boys to the local farmers market and stock up for the week. My favorite growers live a few miles away so we pop over to their farm as well for vegetables picked as we stand there (not many ways you can get fresher than that!).
This week I spied some incredible looking celery with huge leaves on top in the fields. I took them home, rinsed and dried, then chopped the tops off.
Store bought celery is often limp, dried out and if it has the tops, they are limp also and yellow. If you can get celery that is fresh, use the tops! They have great flavor and work well added to trail food as an herbal seasoning. Remove the stalks from the leaves, place in single layers on mesh lined dehydrator trays. Dry at 135° till dry. Time will depend on humidity in your area. Mine took a few hours, we have very dry air right now though.
At the same time I finely chopped the stalks from the leaves and then finely sliced the stalks of celery. I placed them on trays as well and dried them alongside. They took overnight. Once the leaves are dry, remove them and let the stalks keep drying.
Once all is dried, let cool down then pack into glass jars for storage. The big jar is leaves, the little jar is the celery. Celery is nearly all water, it shrinks down considerably.
Crush the leaves as needed for powder, the celery can be broken into small pieces if desired for faster rehydration.
Want more ideas? See Dehydrating 101, a multi-page section on our website.