Dehydrated foods can make a healthy and convenient snack that does not require refrigeration. By making your own, you can reduce the sugar, sodium and fat that is often added to the packaged dried foods found at the store.
Completely dehydrating foods can prevent spoiling by limiting bacteria and mold growth.
Typically, vegetables become brittle, and fruits and meats become chewy.
Foods can be dried in the oven or in a food dehydrator. The drying method should include a warm temperature (140 degrees Fahrenheit), low humidity, and air circulation.
Ovens must be able to reach 140 degrees. It will take most foods twice as long to dehydrate in an oven versus drying in a food dehydrator.
Peeled, thinly-sliced fruits and vegetables dry the quickest. Make sure all pieces are the same size for even drying. Smaller fruits and vegetables, like berries and peas, can be dried whole.
When pureed, fruits can be spread over parchment paper, dehydrated and then cut into pieces for fruit leather.
Let dehydrated foods cool completely. Store in airtight containers.
Fruits that dehydrate well include apples, apricots, bananas, berries, cherries, figs, grapes, peaches, pears and persimmons.
Vegetables that dehydrate well include asparagus, green beans, beets, carrots, corn, kale, peas, peppers and tomatoes.
Thin strips of lean meat and fish make the best jerky. Excess fat in meats can cause the jerky to spoil.