Monday, June 8, 2015

Dehydrating Veggies (Broccoli or Cauliflower

I have decided to dive into dehydrating some of my foods. I love canning but am learning that when it comes to dehydrated foods, a little is often a lot.
First, here's a little history on preserving food through dehydration written by

Brian A. Nummer, Ph.D.
National Center for Home Food Preservation
May 2002

In ancient times the sun and wind would have naturally dried foods. Evidence shows that Middle East and oriental cultures actively dried foods as early as 12,000 B.C. in the hot sun. Later cultures left more evidence and each would have methods and materials to reflect their food supplies—fish, wild game, domestic animals, etc.

Vegetables and fruits were also dried from the earliest times. The Romans were particularly fond of any dried fruit they could make. In the Middle Ages purposely built “still houses” were created to dry fruits, vegetables and herbs in areas that did not have enough strong sunlight for drying. A fire was used to create the heat needed to dry foods and in some cases smoking them as well.

Now let's try and start dehydrating some veggies.

I use the Excaliber Dehydrator, but any model will work.
Broccoli or Cauliflower

Broccoli or Cauliflower should be frozen or dehydrated.  Here's steps for dehydrating.
Dehydrated Broccoli Recipe

1. Soak broccoli for ten minutes in salt water and rinse
2. Cut the florets into smaller 1/2" bouquets and cut half an inch off the bottom
3. Then peel and discard the outer layer of the stalk
4. Cut the stalk crosswise into three sections about 1 - 1 1/2 inches long
5. Turn each section on its end and cut down into four or five rows
6. Rotate a quarter turn and repeat so you end up with rectangular strips
7. Steam the broccoli for 8 minutes to break down the fibrous walls and to bring out the dark green color of the florets
8. Place broccoli on a Paraflexx lined Excalibur Dehydrator tray and dry at 125 degrees F for 8 hours
9. Broccoli will be brittle when done

Cauliflower Popcorn Recipe
1. Break up an entire head of cauliflower into popcorn size florets
2. Place florets into a huge bowl
3. Add remaining ingredients on top of the cauliflower florets and stir gently until all the florets are coated with the mixture
4. Gently place coated florets onto Paraflexx lined Excalibur Dehydrator trays
5. Dehydrate one hour at 140 degrees F then lower the temperature to 110 degrees F for another 8-10 hours
6. Florets will crisp up and shrink about half in size. Eat immediately

Reference:  Excalibur Recipes

Are there any Canning Options for Broccoli or Cauliflower

According to Penn State County Extension:
There are no scientifically approved methods for canning broccoli or cauliflower as a plain vegetable. Because both are low acid foods, they would need to be pressure canned. The higher temperature of pressure canning would cause the product to soften to the extent that is would not be palatable. Freeze broccoli and cauliflower; do not can them except as pickled cauliflower.
Adding vinegar to cauliflower as in Pickled Cauliflower increases the acidity of the product making it safe to can in a boiling water bath. The vinegar also firms the cauliflower. A recipe for Pickled Cauliflower can be found at 
You can control the heat of this recipe by adjusting the amount of red pepper flakes added. This recipe can also be used to make Pickled Brussels Sprouts.
Reference:  Penn State Extension

As you can see from the Penn State Article, it is not a safety issue but rather a palatable issue as to why canning these foods is not recommended.  At one time, there were tested recipes and they were listed in the Ball Book, They were safe but are no longer recommended due to the taste and texture of the food. They clearly stated that these foods discolor, grow strong flavors and become very soft when canned.  I know a few people that can broccoli just for using in cheesy soup but otherwise I see no reason anyone would want to can these foods.  A much better way is to freeze or dehydrate.  Below are copies of the Ball Book page showing how it was done FYI.


  1. I'm curious about the dehydrated broccoli- I have never done that myself but it would be nice to have on hand for soups in the winter. Next time I see some on sale I'm going to give it a try!

    1. I am starting dehydrating lots of things simply because I don't have freezer space. I always recommend doing a small batch of anything first to see how you like it.