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How to Dry Food & Dehydrator Recipes

Updated on September 12, 2014

Dehydrating, or Drying, Food

Dehydrated foods are a convenience because they travel well, are easy to store and always ready to be eaten. They do not need refrigerated after being dehydrated. Nutritionally, dried foods retain more of their nutritional content that foods preserved by canning. They are a perfect health food for a child's lunch, a hiking trip, or an office snack.

The Method

Three things are needed to successfully dry foods at home: heat, dry air, and good ventilation. Food dehydrators are not required for some things like herbs, and peppers. These foods have traditionally been successfully dried by hanging, or in an oven. However, a dehydrator provides consistent heat, and air circulation that will give more consistent results to your dried foods.

Dry Dehydrate Tomatoes
Dry Dehydrate Tomatoes

How to Dry, or Dehydrate, Tomatoes

Dried tomatoes are a wonderful addition to soups, salads, sauces, or simply eaten alone. Follow the steps below to dry, or dehydrate, tomatoes for later use.

How to Dry, or Dehydrate, Tomatoes

How to Dry, or Dehydrate Apples
How to Dry, or Dehydrate Apples

How to Dry, or Dehydrate, Apples

Dried apples are wonderful in trail mix, rehydrated for cooking, or simply eaten alone. Here are specific instructions for how to dry your own apples at home.

How to Dry, or Dehydrate Apples

dry dehydrate apricots
dry dehydrate apricots

How to Dry, or Dehydrate, Apricots

Apricots are one of the first summer fruits. The are full of fiber, beta-carotene, and vitamins A and C. Drying, as a method of food preservation makes apricots easy to transport and store.

How to Dry, or Dehydrate, Apricots

How to Dry, or Dehydrate Strawberries

Strawberries, one of the world's most popular berries, are in season and most available April through July. But, strawberries can be enjoyed year round by preserving them. Drying strawberries at home is quick and easy following these dehydration methods.

How to Dry, or Dehydrate, Strawberries

Use Dehydrated Dry Dried Fruite
Use Dehydrated Dry Dried Fruite

Ways to Use Dried Fruit that You May Not Have Considered

Everyone knows that you can eat dried, or dehydrated, fruit. But there are other ways to use the fruit that you might not have considered. Snacking, blending, decorating, and cooking are just a few of them.

How to Use Dried Fruit

Dry Peppers
Dry Peppers

How to Dry Peppers in the Oven

Drying, or dehydrating, is one of the oldest and least altering methods of food preservation. To dry peppers without the sun or a food dehydrator, follow the methods below:

How to Dry Peppers in the Oven

Air dry peppers by hanging
Air dry peppers by hanging

Dry Peppers by Hanging

Peppers hanging from the front door on a hot summer day is a common scene in the southern United States and Mexico. Hanging peppers to dry is the simplest method of preserving them because no special equipment, or oven, is required. Air dried peppers are kept in their whole form and the seeds are retained. Air drying peppers works well on hot summer days, when you do not want to heat up your home using methods that consume energy.

How to Air Dry Peppers

How to Dry Garlic to Make Garlic Powder

Homemade garlic powder is tastier and more flavorful than garlic powder purchased at the store. In addition, you won't have to worry about additives in your homemade garlic powder. Garlic powder is pretty easy to make if you have a dehydrator and a grinder. Slice the garlic thinly, before putting it in the dehydrator. Make sure it is very dry, moisture leaves it sticky and allows the garlic powder to spoil. After the garlic is completely dry and crispy, run it through the grinder.

How to Dry Garlic at Home

Comparison of Oven, Dedhydrator, and Air Drying Methods

Drying food can be done by air drying, oven drying, or with a dehydrator. Two critical components of good drying are temperature and air flow. Drying yields the best results if the temperature can be kept constant and air is flowing around the food continually. For this reason a food dehydrator usually yields the best results. You will rarely be disappointed with the outcome of food dried in a dehydrator. They produce good quality dried food.

However, some people may opt to air dry or oven dry because they do not have a dehydrator or they do not want to consumed energy to dry the food. When using the oven, it works best if the temperature can be maintained at a very low setting below 110 degrees. Too often oven dried food browns and looks burnt. If you are choosing the air drying option to limit the consumption of electricity, choose a warm sunny day that they temperature is to be above 90 degrees. Place the food to be dehydrated in a place with consistent air flow. Leafy herbs should be kept out of direct sun light while being dried as it causes them to brown and loose nutrients.

Dehydrating Foods Comments

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Did you thought about tying your hair while you do this?

    • JeffGilbert profile image

      JeffGilbert 4 years ago

      You know, I love dried fruits adn I never thought that I could actually make it myself. These are some great ideas. Thanks!!

    • profile image

      dumples19 4 years ago

      I love all the great tips...thanks!

    • dawnsnewbeginning profile image

      dawnsnewbeginning 4 years ago

      Nice very informative lens!

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      Another great lens - added this one to my Squidoo Lenses I wish I'd Written..........You could certainly have a healthy life if you lived at your home.

    • Keepingscore profile image

      Keepingscore 5 years ago

      Thanks for an informative site. I just purchased a dehydrator and look forward to using it. :)

    • LivRiley LM profile image

      LivRiley LM 5 years ago

      You've provided great resources to drying food...not only delicious..but really healthy!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      Thanks for the tips. I plan to dehydrate some food this summer.

    • profile image

      momilp 5 years ago

      Dehydrating food is a new concept for me, but it sounds something worth trying. Thanks for the lens.

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 5 years ago from East Central Florida

      We recently ate freeze dried fruit for the first time, and were surprised at how good it was. Now, I am developing an interest in dehydraded and dried foods, so this was quite interesting.

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 5 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I've been looking for information on this. I got a dehydrator through Freecycle, but so far I've only used it for apples.

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 5 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I've been looking for information on this. I got a dehydrator through Freecycle, but so far I've only used it for apples.

    • profile image

      cyberwizzard 5 years ago

      Thanks for the great tips. I have an Excalibur dehydrator that I use for jerky, fruits and vegetables.

    • earthybirthymum profile image

      earthybirthymum 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I love my dehydrator. Great Lense!

    • profile image

      lifeloveliving 5 years ago

      great tips

    • N Beaulieu profile image

      N Beaulieu 5 years ago

      I can't wait to try your recipe for making garlic powder. I love to garden and am always looking for different ways and techiniques when it comes to preserving foods and now, I'll give drying some of my herbs and other fruits and veggies a try. Great and interesting lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Freeze dried foods are lifesavers. Whenever you have emergencies, or perhaps if you simply want to prepare a dish in the most commodious of ways, these quick foods are your best choices.

      Freeze dried out products also come in many forms, flavor, and cuisines. There are so many types to go over that might be it perhaps harder to get a dried freeze meal you don't like. Get cold dried food also come in forms such as complete meals. A few manufacturers have even specially jam-packed freeze dry out desserts, entrees, and aspect dishes for the complete multi-course mealtime. metabolic cooking

    • profile image

      RecipePublishing 6 years ago

      I like dehydrated fruit.

    • aliciamaggie54 profile image

      aliciamaggie54 6 years ago

      I never have done this before. Thanks for the information.

    • profile image

      RecipePublishing 6 years ago

      Yummy treat for the whole family!

    • profile image

      RecipePublishing 6 years ago

      Yummy treat for the whole family!

    • RawBill1 profile image

      Bill 6 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      Awesome stuff. I dehydrate regularly when we have excess produce. We have an Excalibur which is the only way to go in my opinion. I have added this to my Raw Food Headquarters Lens.

    • sudokunut profile image

      Mark Falco 6 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      I've been seriously considering a food dehydrator this year. We had so much fruit and veggies last year it would have been great to dry some out for winter, especially the tomatoes and plums which went crazy and are really hard to store. I didn't even think about making dried garlic powder, we started growing that mainly to help keep the bugs away and it's multiplying like crazy...and of course, we still buy garlic powder...duh lol

    • profile image

      HomeCanning 6 years ago

      Canning at home is again gaining popularity and the reasons are many. For many it is the best way of processing food to extend its shelf life. Canning also makes the products available during off season, making them cheap and helping you save money. Homemade canning will save you from running around places looking for a particular fruit, vegetable and other products.

    • emmaklarkins profile image

      emmaklarkins 6 years ago

      Great information! Learning how to preserve food is important, especially when you have a garden. Blessed by a Squidoo Angel :)