Dehydrating

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Dehydrating food is becoming another favorite way of preserving our harvest. I don’t know that I’ll ever give up canning, but drying has some advantages.

Recent favorites are;

Jars filled with various kinds of dehydrated fruits and vegetables.

Dehydrating Fruit

Dehydrating Fruit, How to dry 6 fruits for snacking and storing.

I’m a long time canner but, dehydrating fruit does have some advantages. Drying gives you healthy easy to store snacks. Peaches and Pears are the best!!
Dehydrating Fruit: what you need to know
Dehydrating Fruit, How to dry 6 fruits for snacking and storing.

Fruit Leather Recipe

This fruit leather recipe isn’t hard to make, but my family loves eating it…and I love knowing that we’re avoiding excess sugars and dyes from store-bought fruit rollups!
Dehydrate Fruit Leather Recipe here
A big pile of rolled up fruit leathers.

Dehydrating Strawberries

Learn how to dehydrate strawberries for a fun snack later. 
Learn more here…

Dehydrating Tomatoes

When dehydrating tomatoes, it is best to use a meaty style tomato like a Roma, for example. Learn the step-by-step process for drying tomatoes here.
Learn more here…
A jar filled with dried tomato powder with measuring spoons in and around the jar.

dehydrating vegetables Recipes

How to Dehydrate Peppers: A Quick Guide to Multiple Drying Methods

Learn how to dry peppers using a dehydrator, oven, or air-drying method. Get expert dehydrating tips on slicing, drying times, storage.
Learn more here…
How to Dehydrate Peppers: A Quick Guide to Multiple Drying Methods

Dehydrating Food – How to Dry Vegetables, Peppers, Tomatoes and more.

Dehydrating Food – How to Dry Vegetables, Peppers, Tomatoes and more.
Dehydrating Vegetables: what you need to know
Dehydrating Food - How to Dry Vegetables, Peppers, Tomatoes and more.

Dehydrating Green Beans

Learn all about dehydrating green beans here! Start with fresh, tender bean pods.
Dehydrate Green Beans here
A bowl of freshly picked green beans in the garden.

Dehydrating Zucchini

Dehydrating zucchini either in chips or pieces is a great way to preserve it. Dried zucchini instructions here!
Dehydrate Zucchini here
Putting dehydrated zucchini into a snap close jar.

Dehydrating Corn

Dehydrating corn is super easy! And I was pleased with my results: dried sweet corn.
Dehydrate Corn here
Jars filled with dehydrated corn.

How to Dehydrate Carrots

Learning how to dehydrate carrots is super easy and a good idea. Dried carrots can be used for making homemade soups and so much more later!
Dehydrating Carrots
A dehydrator tray covered evenly with bright orange pieces of carrot.

Dehydrating Tomatoes

When dehydrating tomatoes, it is best to use a meaty style tomato like a Roma, for example. Learn the step-by-step process for drying tomatoes here.
Dehydrate Tomatoes here
A jar filled with dried tomato powder with measuring spoons in and around the jar.

Drying herbs

How to Dry Herbs

Learning how to dry herbs is fun, easy, and economical. Do you grow and cook with your own fresh kitchen herbs? Drying herbs is a great way to preserve them to use in the winter months.
Drying Herbs here
A large stainless steel bowl filled with freshly picked herbs.

Freeze Drying

Freeze drying is a bit of a different method than dehydrating, but you end up with dried foods either way. The final result is very different but yet… the same. Moisture is removed.

Freeze Dryer: Home-made freeze dried foods using the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer

Freeze Dryer for individual foods meals and more. Learn how to freeze dry your own recipes and fill your food storage. Freeze-dried foods using the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer
Freeze Dryer: using Harvest Right Freeze Dryer
Freeze Dryer: Home-made freeze dried foods using the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer

How to Freeze Dry Cherries

Learning how to freeze dry cherries is SO rewarding. They take a little while, but oh, they’re so good!
Freeze Dry Cherries here
Freshly pitted cherries in a bowl.

Dehydrators

Best Food Dehydrator Review

Food Dehydrator Review Page: What is the best model, brand and type? Click here and see what others think.
What Food Dehydrator is the best?
Best Food Dehydrator Review

Cabela’s Commercial Food Dehydrator Review

What did SimplyCanning.com think of Cabela’s Commercial Food Dehydrator?
Cabela’s Commercial Review
Cabela’s Commercial Food Dehydrator Review

Excalibur Dehydrator One of my top picks for a dehydrator! Here’s why

Excalibur Dehydrator: What’s all the fuss about? If you’re looking for a food dehydrator, take a look and find out!
Excalibur Dehydrator
Excalibur Dehydrator One of my top picks for a dehydrator! Here’s why

Good Kitchen Tools Make All The Difference.

The more evenly you can make your slices of food, the more evenly the food will dehydrate. These are my favorite tools to use.

  • A mandolin slicer – The mandolin is best for firmer items like zucchini or sweet potatoes.
  • An egg slicer – This works for soft items like strawberries, but not too much else, as the wires will bend if your food is too strong.
  • An apple peeler corer slicer – For apples and potatoes, might work for cucumbers.
  • A slicer similar to this gadget. – Mine is very old and vintage. It is what it is called that I’ve dubbed my “tomato slicer” because that is what it works best for.
  • And finally, always have a good sharp knife. Surely you know what a knife is, right? Having it sharp is essential as it is actually less likely you will cut yourself with the knife nice and sharp. In addition, a sharp knife will be more efficient for cutting nice thin, even slices.

My absolute favorite find as far as kitchen tools for dehydrating goes is this little pot.

4th burner pot sitting on the stovetop.
4th Burner Pot

The 4th Burner Pot has turned into a handy tool that I use to slice up my fruit and drop it into lemon juice before laying out on trays. I have a full review here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best method for dehydrating food?

Dehydrating can be done with different methods. Each method has its own benefits, and the best choice depends on the specific food being dried and the user’s preference.

Dehydrators are quicker, more consistent, and allow for precise temperature control. For a beginner a dehydrator may be the easiest option due to their more controlled conditions. With a thermostat and heating element much of the guesswork of other drying methods is removed.

Air drying and sun drying are slower, but they require less equipment and can be done outdoors. Air and sun drying can be tricky depending on your climate. If you live in a desert… definitely give it at try! If you live in humidity, try it but be aware of the humidity as that can affect your dehydrating projects.

Oven drying is a thing… but I would only suggest it if you have a small amount to dry. It seems to me oven drying would be inefficient with energy loss. Ovens are not the most efficient.

What are the advantages of dehydrating vs canning?

The main advantage to dehydrating is space. Dried foods take up hardly any space at all compared to both freezing and canning. A quart size jar holds a lot of food!

It also is better for the nutritional value of your foods. I hate to admit it, but yes…. canned food does lose more nutrition than dried. Although some nutrients and vitamins may be lost in the process, dehydration can also help concentrate flavors and make the flavor of the food really pop! This is most true when you dry fruit to eat as snacks.

The other is energy. No energy is expended to store dried foods. You do use electricity to run an electric dehydrator, but it is still efficient. If you have a way to dry foods with solar energy, that is even better!

What are the disadvantages of dehydrating?

Some potential disadvantages of dehydrating food include loss of nutrients, any food preservation will cause some loss of nutrients. Dehydrating is probably the best for this. It maintains many of the nutrients better than other forms of food preservation.

The initial cost and ongoing energy expenses of a dehydrator. This is actually offset though by the savings of no energy expenses for the storage of the food. Canning also has initial expenses of a canner and jars. So for my opinion they are pretty close as far as costs.

How long will dehydrated food last.

This depends on the type of food, how well it was dehydrated (how much moisture content did you remove?) and how it is stored. How it was conditioned before storage.

According to the National Center for Food Preservation. “Most dried fruits can be stored for 1 year at 60ºF, 6 months at 80ºF. Vegetables have about half the shelf-life of fruits.” https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/dry/pack_store.html

What about dehydrated meals? Can we dehydrate things like chili?

Dehydrating full meals is possible in some cases. Often the best approach is to dehydrate the individual ingredients of your meal and then put them together to create suppers like stew or soup. :). I’ll often toss in dehydrated carrots, onions and other vegetables to my crockpot to create a nice soup by supper time.

Often backpackers will even dehydrated pasta, rice or grains in addition to vegetables and meat. This saves time on the trail with cooking. Precooked and dehydrated quinoa or spaghetti cooks quicker.

What foods should not be dehydrated.

Eggs Cheese and Dairy Products are tricky to dehydrate. The fat and oils in them do not dehydrate well, the risk of bacteria is high. And most sites mention that they will go rancid quickly. Freeze drying would be a better alternative.

Butter in particular would be difficult to dehydrate. Can you imagine the melted mess?
Cream and Milk are better suited for freeze drying.
Avocado can be dehydrated but they have a lot of oils in them so they would take a very long time. Again freeze drying would be better.

Meat can be dehydrated (think jerky) but you want to use less fatty cuts of meat. We make jerky out of venison. Venison is known for no fat. Pork would be harder. If you are going to dehydrate ground beef, brown it rinse it well and it will dehydrate that much faster.

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Dehydrating

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Cherrie
Cherrie
10 months ago

I’m interested in the safest method of preserving foods. Including meats, etc. After researching pressure canning and water bath canning, dehydrating seems to be the safest and less expensive method. Thanks for your information!