In the process of making powdered liqueurs for future use, I've been trying to figure out the best method to get liquids into solids. I'll be comparing the microwave to the oven to the food dehydrator, using Campari as my first liqueur in all of them.
For now let's talk about the food dehydrator. I have a Nesco food dehydrator, which has a heating element and a fan in the lid. The racks in it are perforated for drying solid material, so I purchased additional solid-bottom racks made for making fruit rolls.
I poured 8 oz of Campari in one rack and turned it on. After 24 hours it was still a bit sticky. Towards 36 hours I noticed some parts that were clumpy so I broke those up to expose still-liquid parts beneath. (It turns out this helps no matter which dehydration method you use.) It might not take 36 hours to dry next time.
You can see it formed some interesting crystal patterns as it dried.
I scraped off the Campari initially with my fingers, then found a flat plastic serving spoon turned upside down made a good scraper.
I then put everything into a mortar and pestle and ground it up.
From 8 ounces of liquid I got about 3 ounces of Campari sugar. (A little less than 50% of the liquid volume has proved consistent using other methods.) That means that Campari has a ton of sugar in it. So much for my all-Campari weight loss program!
The Campari that I couldn't scrape off the plastic sheet washed off surprisingly easily with hot water, so the mess isn't bad.
All told, this method was easy to execute but can take quite a while. The dehydrator doesn't generate a ton of external heat (a concern in the summer when its hot enough already) but enough to be noticeable. Also noticeable is the sound of the fan running.
In the next post, we'll look at using the oven to dehydrate liqueur.