1. Dehydration Prep
When choosing to dehydrate foods, be sure you prep the foods first. They’ll need to be washed and sliced. Use this time to preheat the dehydrator.
After slicing, place the foods on the trays of the dehydrator. Be sure not to overlap the foods. Place the trays inside the dehydrator and allow them to dehydrate for the time specified for your machine.
2. Cooling Off Period
Once the time is up, feel the foods to make sure they’re hard and feel brittle. If the foods are soft, spongy, or flexible they should be placed in the dehydrator again until they become hard.
After the foods are fully dehydrated, remove them from the dehydrator and allow them to reach room temperature.
3. Proper Storage
After the foods have reached room temperature, place them in a vacuum seal bag or a plastic bag. Either way, be sure to remove as much air from the bag as possible.
The bags should be stored in a dark pantry, cabinet, or root cellar where no moisture, heat, or light can reach them.
Be sure not to store the foods in the freezer because ice will form on them which will reintroduce moisture to the dehydrated foods.
You may be wondering what you would do with dehydrated food besides use them for snacking? Well, they can be used in traditional recipes.
If you’d like to use dehydrated foods for cooking, you have two options. First, you can place one cup of dehydrated foods into one cup of warm or cold water. The temperature of the water will depend upon the recipe.
If you’re using the foods in a cold recipe, use cold water. If you’re planning on cooking the recipe in an oven, you can use warm water.
The other option is if you’re using a crock pot recipe. Select your recipe of choice, add the dehydrated food to the crock pot as is along with the other ingredients, and allow the food to become rehydrated while the recipe comes together.
Dehydrated herbs are also very easy to use in your meals and can be added in smaller quantities than you would use fresh herbs.
Foods You Shouldn’t Dehydrate
- Meats with an excessive amount of fat on them
These foods have a great deal of fat content which makes it hard to dry them. This leaves room for botulism to form and other food-borne illnesses. It’s better to use other food storage methods (such as freezing) to preserve the foods mentioned above.