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How to Dehydrate Food? A Complete Guide!

How To Dehydrate Food
Written by Robert

“How to Dehydrate Food?”  is often asked by people who just discovered the benefits of food dehydration. Dehydrating is one of the most cost-effective and simplest methods of storing food. However, the best results become possible only when you have the right techniques and tools for your help. It is a matter of learning and practicing the tricks.

Here, in this article, I am going to give you the complete guide on dehydrating foods. All you need to do is carefully understand the simple tips and leverage them. 

There are many different ways you can dehydrate foods. You can leverage the most approachable ones to get the finest results. 

Best Ways To Dehydrate Food

Although there are several ways to dehydrate food we are going to focus on the most efficient and hygienic ways to do the same, and they are as below:

  • Use a food dehydrator

A food dehydrator is an appliance that allows you to dehydrate food effectively. The best food dehydrator is a small appliance and requires little space in your kitchen. The appliance uses the flow of hot air to reduce the amount of water in the fruits, veggies, meats and other food items as well.

This appliance makes the process more efficient and provides the exact temperature to preserve the quality. However, there are multiple techniques for different foods, which you need to learn about.

  • Dehydrate food in the oven

One of the most common ways to complete the process. You can easily dehydrate fruits and vegetables in the oven.

To do so, you need to turn the oven on and set it to the lowest available setting. Then, cut your vegetables and fruit into slices. You need to place the cut slices in the oven with the use of a lined sheet pan. It takes about 7 to 8 hours on an average to complete the dehydrating process.

However, you can reduce the time lag by increasing the temperature in the oven up to 225°F. However, the quality of the results decreases when you increase the temperature. 

How To Use A Food Dehydrator?

There are various uses for a food dehydratorand you need to understand about them to achieve perfect results.

Here are a few necessary ways to use a food dehydrator. 

1.For Nuts And Seeds

You can soak and dry nuts and seeds. The process is used to keep the nutrients intact with the nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and others.

You can complete the process by using the dehydrator. Soak the nuts for one night in salt water and use the appliance to dry them under 150°F for about 15 to 24 hours. It would be wise to keep monitoring the condition of the nuts to take it out when they become crispy. 

2.For Meat

To dry meat, you can take the stripes of meat and put it on a metal or plastic tray. Then, you can put the tray in the dehydrator to get the dehydrated meat. Now, you can make your own jerky whenever you want. Each dehydrating machine have separate settings hence always make sure to read the instruction manual.

3.For Fruits

The fruits require a non-stick sheet, so that, you can easily remove them when they are prepared. Just cut the fruits into ¼ slices and put it on the tray. Finally, you can keep the tray in the appliance and provide the necessary temperature to get the fruits dehydrated. If you desire to keep the color of the fruits such as apples and pears, then, treat them with citrus juice. 

4.For Vegetables

For the vegetables, you need to get the best quality to get good yields. Then, cut the vegetables into consistent slices (you can also use a good mandoline slicer for easiness) in order to get evenly dried slices. You can boil the vegetables such as carrots, corn, peas, potatoes, and others in water for 4 to 5 minutes. This will help in keeping the colors. Also, if needed, you can add salt, sugar or any other spices.

Now, you can put the vegetables on the trays of the appliance and set it to a slow drying time. Within 8 to 12 hours, the appliance should give the results. However, you should keep on checking the veggies as it reaches the end.

Finally, provide some time, so that, the veggies can get cooler.

So, that is how you can leverage the dehydrator. 

How Long Does Dehydrated Food Last?

If you follow the right approach towards storing the dehydrated food, it can last for a year easily. However, for meat and vegetables, this shelf life is up to six months. 

How To Store Dehydrated Food?

In order to effectively store the dehydrated food, you need to take care of following points.

1.Cool It Down 

 Let the dried food get cool down completely before packing it for storage. The water content in the storage pack can reduce the shelf life of the food.

2.Air-Tight Seal

The jar or container should be used that has the air-tight seal. Also, the plastic bags should be the freezer bags to keep the food safe for a longer period.

3.Vacuum Sealing The Bag

Make sure you remove all the air from the freezer bag using a good vacuum sealer before sealing it. This will keep the moisture away from the food and ensure the safety for a long time.

4.Small Batches

Try to keep the small batches of the dried food. This reduces the chances of contamination and increases the shelf life.

5.Cool and Dry Storage Location

The storage location should be cool, dry and dark. The light exposure can start the degradation of the dried foods in the jar.

6.Can You Freeze Dehydrated Food?

You can store the dried food in the freezer if you want to use them for a long time.

7.Re-dry When The Condensation Appears

If you find the signs of condensation in the stored food, the drying process should be applied again.

With the mentioned dehydrated food storage tips, it is possible for you to use them for a longer period and keep the quality in the best condition. 

Final words

Dehydrating foods is very efficient and the appliance such as the best food dehydrators further reduce the effort. All you need to do is find a reliable appliance and keep the given tips in mind in order to get the perfectly dried foods.

The process becomes easier with regular practice and the availability of high-quality appliance.

About the author

Robert

Robert is a food enthusiast and a critique. He works as a head chef in a popular food joint at Cherry Hills, NJ. In his free times he likes to visit popular food forums and also contribute for Food Gear magazine. In his articles he shares his experiences with us.

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