Becoming proficient with a food dehydrator
requires experimentation. When dehydrating foods, try different drying temperatures, thickness of produce, or
ascorbic acid or vitamin C pretreatment versus no pretreatment. Trial and error
will determine what works best for your particular food dehydrator, favorite foods and preferences. Just make sure you make notes or keep records of your different dehydration approaches! Try these food dehydrator tips
to successfully make dried fruit, dried vegetables and beef jerky
- Select high quality produce at the peak of its ripeness and flavor. Wash the food and cut away any bruised or damaged sections.
- Foods can start to lose nutrients after they are cut and exposed to the air. In order to save nutrients and produce a quality dehydrated product, it pays to work fast. Cut the fruits or vegetables to drying size just before placing the food in the dehydrator.
- Continuously dry foods. Do not start and stop the dehydrating process. Do not turn the dehydrator off or leave partially dried food on the trays as they may spoil.
- Spread all foods in a single layer on the drying trays. Make the single layer as even as possible. Overlapping food slices can take twice as long to dry.
- Once started, do not add fresh produce to a partially dried batch of food. This will slow the dehydrating time for both the first and second batch of products.
- Dehydrating times for foods will vary, depending on the type and amount of food, thickness and
evenness of the slices, humidity, air temperature and the dehydrator model being used. This is where record keeping can make a difference and prevent you from making the same errors twice.
- However, in general,
fruits, fruit rolls and vegetables should be dried at 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Meats and fish should be dried on the food dehydrator’s highest temperature setting, preferably 155 degrees.
Nuts and seeds are high in oil, and need to dry at lower temperatures like 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Higher temperatures can cause them to become
Published 5/8/2011 12:00:00 AM