I have previously written about my utter joy and love of my new Instant Pot and all the wonderful things it can do. Therefore I decided to have a go at the dehydrate function while imagining jars of dehydrated mango, banana chips and pineapple lined up on the counter to munch on. Was I getting too far ahead of myself? Yes it appears I might have been. So lets break it down in stages.
Firstly, I would have to say the amount of videos, hints and tips out there online including the Instant Pot app were a bit disappointing. One woman actually opened her video by pulling a courgette out of her T-shirt in the hope of possibly inspiring the viewer. Therefore I took the basics from a few different sites and went for it.
I started with banana as I happened to have one at hand. So 1 banana in my 8 quart pot, sliced, tossed in lemon followed by a little spritz of oil, using the Air-fry lid, on dehydrate. Temperature 65C for 8 hours. Yes 8 HOURS!!! Remember this is 1 banana cooking for 8 hours. Which brings me onto my second point, time is money.
I would imagine in a large portion of countries, electricity is quiet expensive. In Malta its insane. So having something on for 8 hours is a lot of electricity. Especially when dehydrating you can’t put a lot into the pot to ensure everything is spread out evenly. (In fairness I might have been able to add a second small banana). I have cooked things for 24 hours. But at least I was going to have a feast at the end of it and not 12 slices of banana! So my enthusiasm about how being able to dehydrate fruit could save me a fortune on the shop bought packets. May actually be a false economy in reality. What you get for the length of time it takes to cook isn’t worth it. Plus even after 8 hours it still didn’t produce a crunchy crispy dried banana chip. So we come to my third quibble, the taste.
After cooking something for 8 hours I want to be able to enjoy the final dish. Even if the length of time was a quibble, the taste would win me back. But not in this case. The overpowering taste of lemon was eye wateringly wrong on every level. What are these people thinking in the videos? The taste was a mix of lemon and rubbery banana, but mainly lemon sours. The texture was neither crispy or crunchy but verging on chewy at a stretch. A double thumbs down there then.
So was there anything good? I’m not a woman to be defeated. The amount of prep is minimal. So from that perspective you just pop it in and press start. There is no checking it, turning, it mix it. I did my bananas in 3 stages, 5 hours, 2 hours and 1 hour so I could make sure they didn’t burn or that the paper they were on didn’t smoke in the heat even though it was baking paper. I’m not totally deterred though. I will try other things like beef jerky, or veg to see if they have better results. The natural moisture in the item your dehydrating plays a major factor. So meat will probably take days. Making 8 hours for a few slices of banana look awesome. Any hints or tips you have readers are welcome. Its a learning process after all. I’ll be keeping you posted on my regular instant pot adventures feature coming soon. Until then, the dehydrate function is on a 1 out of 10 score, purely because the prep was minimal and I’m feeling generous.