If you know a thing or two about storing food, you have probably heard of dehydrating food. It is an easy and cost-effective way to store food for future use. The goal of this post is to show you the right way to dehydrate different types of food items. Read on to learn how to dehydrate food.
Food can be dehydrated in several ways, and the best way is to use a food dehydrator. Before we discuss other methods of dehydrating food, we will introduce you to a food dehydrator.
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What is a food dehydrator and How to choose the best?
It is a tool used to dehydrate different types of food items such as fruits, vegetables, fish and meat. It is a small appliance that uses air and heat to remove moisture from food items. When there is no moisture in your food, the food will not spoil because bacteria and other pathogens can not grow in it.
If you dehydrate food properly, the food will retain most of its nutritional properties. Dehydrated food can be stored for months, even years. If you are wondering how to dehydrate food, a food dehydrator can be a solution to the issue. Dehydration is one of the best ways to store food for long periods.
But, as we have already mentioned, using a food dehydrator is not the only way to remove moisture from food. You can do it pretty well even if you do not have this tool. You can dehydrate food in the sun, or you can use your oven. Now we will show you how you can do it using your oven.
Tips for dehydrating food with a dehydrator
Setting the right temperature is the first rule of dehydrating food. The right temperature depends on the type of food as well as the type of dehydrator. Read the dehydrator label and you will find the guidelines and the recommended temperature. When you are done, the food should be 95% dehydrated.
Preparation is the key. Wash the food thoroughly before you put it in the dehydrator. Do not forget to wear gloves when you touch food. Before you put the food in the dehydrator, allow the food to warm up. It is not a good idea to dehydrate different types of food items at a time.
You may need to put the food back in the dehydrator if the food feels spongy, soft or sticky. If the pieces are hard and crunchy, you can be almost sure that there is no moisture left in the food. If you are wondering how to dehydrate food, this is one of the most important things to know.
Do not hurry, if you try to do it quickly, you may end up spoiling the food. Over drying is always better than under drying. If necessary, dry your food for longer.
Read : Food dehydrator Uses
How to dehydrate fruit in oven
Fruits are plentiful in summer. If you dehydrate some food during this season, you can enjoy them throughout the year. The good news is, a food dehydrator is not necessary to get the job done. You can do it just by using your oven. This is how to dehydrate fruit in oven.
First, you need to prepare your fruit. When choosing fruits and berries, make sure that they are ripe. Use cold water to wash them and remove blemishes. Remove stems from your berries. Then you need to slice the fruits evenly. To learn how to dehydrate food, this is one of the most important things to understand.
Remove the skins from your fruits if necessary. No all fruits need to be treated this way. But if you are going to dehydrate apples, nectarines and peaches, you should remove the skin. You can soak the fruit in water mixed with lemon juice. Keep it soaked for about 10 minutes and then drain it.
Now pay attention to the oven. Preheat it to 130-160 degrees F. For thinly sliced fruits like peaches and apples, the temperature should be lower. You need a bit higher temperature for fruits such as strawberries.
Take a piece of parchment paper and place it onto sheet pans. Fruits should be arranged in a single layer. As the fruits dry, they will tend to curl up. To prevent it, you can use a silicone pan or pizza screen. Once you have placed fruit into your oven, you have to wait.
Dehydrating times of common fruits
Here is a list of general drying times of common fruits:
- Apricots: 12 hours
- Strawberries: 12 hours
- Citrus peel: 8-10 hours
- Cherries: 12 hours
- Grapes: 8-10 hours
- Bananas: 6 hours
- Apples: 6 hours
- Peaches: 6 hours
- Pears: 6 hours
- Plums: 6 hours
When the fruit is completely dehydrated, store it in a plastic or glass container. The container should be left open for about 4-5 days. During this time the fruit will become fully moisture-free.
How to dehydrate meat in the oven
It is very easy to dehydrate meat with a dehydrator, but you can do it even if you do not have a dehydrator. You can get it done with your oven. For those who can not invest in a food dehydrator, it is really good news. Read on to learn how to dehydrate meat in the oven.
You can dehydrate any meat. Select meat before you go into further action. Once you have chosen meat, you have to remove fat from the meat. Use a sharp knife to trim fat. You are advised to avoid purchasing fatty meat in the first place.
You can either save the trimmed fat or not. This is optional. If you have several pounds of left over fat, you can freeze the fat. This fat can be used for many different purposes.
The next step is to freeze meat partially. Keeping the meat in the freezer for just an hour is enough. Partially frozen meat is easier to slice. Slice widths will be consistent, and the slices will be dehydrated easily. The meat should be sliced against the grain.
You may be tempted to slice with the grain, but that is not the best way to slice meat for dehydration. How thick should the slices be? As a rule of thumb, slices should be 1/8 to ¼ inches thick. Thin strips will take less time to dehydrate. Anyone interested in learning how to dehydrate food should know this.
Light marinating is better
Now you have to marinade the meat. You can do it simply by using salt, pepper, vinegar and water. From health perspectives, minimal seasoning is better than heavy seasoning. You can do it for just one hour or leave it overnight.
If you wish, you can line your oven with foil. Remember, this is an optional step. Then you have to remove the grate of the oven and arrange the strips. It is a good idea to do this over a sink.
At first the oven should be set at a low temperature. 140 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature. Keep in mind that your goal is to dehydrate the food and not to cook it. Food will be dehydrated faster if you let air circulate opening the oven door.
The process of dehydrating meat can take up to 6 hours. The time depends on the temperature of the oven and the thickness of the slices.
We have explained how to dehydrate food with or without a food dehydrator. If you follow the instructions carefully, you will be able to dehydrate different types of foods.