|If you are new to
dehydrating, be assured - this is the easiest thing you can
learn to add food to your pantry.
Every dehydrator will come with an easy manual which will
give you the basics and how long various foods will take to
dry and how to tell when that particular food is finished
I am not going to re-invent the wheel here - there are LOTS
of websites with great instructions for dehydrating - (here
are a few favorites). I'd rather handle the
questions that will come up 'after' you read the manual and
begin to get involved in this hobby. Make sure and
visit the Recipes section
for great ideas on how to use all your dehydrated foods.
This page of FAQs is under development - if you have a
question that should be here, please send me an email (AnnS@brensan(dot)com
and let me know.
What kind of dehydrator is the best?
This may be a matter of preference, but most people who are
serious about this hobby will want a dehydrator with the fan
at the back - not on the top or the bottom. You will
also need to be able to control the temperature because
herbs will dry at a different temperature than fruit and
meats will need a higher temperature to be safe. I
have an Excaliber and they are great, but other similar
brands are Aroma, Cosori, and LEM Products.
What does 'curing' or 'condition' mean?
Conditioning is 'balancing' the moisture of the food.
If one piece is very dry and another piece is not quite as
dry, when the food is all inside the same container and the
container is closed, the moisture level of the various
pieces of the food will balance each other out.
After your food is dry and you take it out of the
dehydrator, place the food in a jar with a good lid.
Place the jar out of the sunlight and let it sit for a
several hours to half a day (or so). Take the lid off
and check the inside for condensation. If there is ANY
moisture, put the food back in the dehydrator for a few more
Tip: I turn the jar upside down and I can see
inside the jar easily without opening. I also leave
Can I over-dry a food?
Technically - no. You are removing the moisture from a
food and to use that particular food later, you will add the
moisture back - the dryer the food, the more moisture you
will add back.
That being said, fruit is better dried to the leathery stage
- especially if you want to enjoy it without breaking a
I confess, I tend to err on the side of over-drying and I
mostly dry vegetables, I have never had any issues.
What is the best way to store dehydrated foods?
First - the food MUST stay dry - most authorities will
recommend that you use a mason jar with a good lid - you can
even vacumn-pack the mason jar for longer storage.
Here is another place I will differ from the authorities.
I have the best luck with using freezer-grade ziploc
bags, with as much air as possible removed (but not vacumn
packed) - for long term storage. The bags are stored
in complete darkness. I have tried everything
over the years, and other than the obvious moisture,
sun-light is NOT your friend. I keep small bags/jars
in my working pantry for convenience.
I live in a very dry climate, so my method may not be as
successful for you.
There are a few exceptions to my freezer-grade ziploc
storage system -
Vegetables Powders are stored in small mason jars with a
tight lid and very 'rough' items - like hashbrown potatoes
or sweet potatoe are stored in larger mason jars with wide
lids and good seals. These items have sharp edges and
in time will wear through the bags - but the vast majority
of my storage is in freezer-grade ziploc bags - in complete
Websites with great dehydrating
6 Things you Need to Know to Dehydrate Food at Home
The Purposeful Pantry
10 Easy Dehydrator Projects for Beginners