Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dehydrating Food

Another good way to preserve your food is by dehydration. This is a good alternative to canning if you don't have the supplies or time to can. Dehydrated foods also take up less space and is easy to store.

There are many ways to dehydrate your own food. You can use your oven, commercial dehydrator or the sun. We borrowed a dehydrator from a co-worker of Will's. We have been very pleased with the results so far.

To prepare your foods for dehydration first select the best fruits and veggies (or meat if your drying meat) without bruises or bad spots. Make sure the produce is washed well before drying.

When prepping whatever it is that you are drying, for example apples, make sure all your pieces are cut the same size. This way they will all dry at the same speed.

Some fruits, such as apples and bananas need to be treated before dehydrating to prevent browning. You can dip them in lemon juice or ascorbic acid (FruitFresh).

Depending on your method of drying, the size of your pieces and what you are dehydrating, times will vary. You can follow this general guideline here.

Allow your food to cool before packaging. With fruit, allow it to "condition" for 4-10 days before storing it.

Store dehydrated food in air tight Ziplock bags or jars. Store in a cool, dark, dry place for up to 6-12 months.

Linked to Frugal Friday at Life as Mom.


  1. For dehydrating, I've tried the sun and oven but I've found that food dehydrators work best. I don't like leaving the oven door open too long and it is not the most efficient use of an oven anyways. Best

  2. I have really been wanting to get a dehydrator lately, but I haven't bought one yet because I want a good one and I'm not sure which one to buy. Do you have any recommendations on brands?

  3. Where do you buy your FruitFresh?


    I've been looking and looking for it!

  4. Have you tried dried watermelon? It is delicious!

  5. Kari~
    We are just borrowing one from a co-worker. I really like it. You can look at it here

    I haven't really looked into buying one so I don't know much about them unfortunately. Sorry!

    Niki~I actually just use lemon juice. I don't use FruitFresh. I have seen it at our local Wal-Mart though.

    Cam~I have never dried watermelon. I actually have watermelon in the garden right now. Maybe I will try it! Thanks for the tip!

  6. Thanks for good tips! I have been wanting to start drying foods also, and I recently purchased a nice dehydrator from a yard sale so this was perfect timing for me! Thanks for the link too, good information. :) (I have to try the dried watermelon the other commenter talked about, sounds delicious!)

  7. Oh, I love how you have the foods stored in jars, they look so pretty! I have been throwing mine in ziploc bags, but the jars are more fun. One thing I have found when using lemon juice to keep things from turning brown is that you don't have to use just lemon juice. I use a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice mixed with a cup of water and it works great - and is cheaper.

  8. I found this batch of tips for drying herbs using a clothes drying rack! It seems like a good primer on how to get started.

  9. Kari, dehydrators run from about $40 for entry level dehydrators to over $200 for top of the line Excaliburs. Entry levels typically do not have good air flow or adjustable thermostats. Nesco food dehydrator makes a good line of dehydrators that run between about $70 to $120. Good luck.