Most food dehydrators are designed to be user-friendly and they come with simple buttons to operate. The basic function of food dehydrator is to dry vegetables and fruits (for later use or as snack) but they can also be used to dry many other foods like jerky and herb. I like to try out different recipes where I can use dried food. Sometimes, you’ll get a free recipe book when you buy a dehydrator. Try them out! Here, I’d like to share some simple tips on how to use food dehydrator effectively:
1. Use only top grade vegetables and fruits
To preserve food of the highest quality, you got to choose top grade vegetables and fruits. I personally feel that excellent food quality is a no-compromise. I wouldn’t want anything else but the best for my family. Using top grade raw food, I know that the nutrients are well preserved and the snacks produced are of good quality.
2. Slice food pieces thinly
I always slice fruits thinly and chop vegetables into small pieces for quick and even drying. By exposing maximum food surface to heat, food can dry quickly. That way, I’ll also save on energy. A rule of thumb is to slice food into ¼ inch strips.
3. Arrange food evenly to let dry
I used to pile fruits and vegetables on the dehydrator tray and wondered why the foods don’t dry evenly. That was long before I discovered that you have to arrange them well to ensure a thorough drying process. It may seem easier to do this on a square tray but I own both square and round trays; I can tell you that with a little practice, it’ll be just as easy to arrange it on a round tray.
4. Allow food to cool before storing
You know how vapor condenses in a trapped container with warm food? This happens with dehydrated food too, when you put them away in container or bag while they’re still warm. The droplets will spoil dehydrated food. To prevent moisture from being trapped in the container, the dried foodstuff must be left to cool at room temperature before storing. That way, you’ll ensure the food stays dry and crisp for use later.
5. Dehydrate food with similar categories
What are similar categories? A general rule would be to dry fruit with the likes of it; and vegetable with other vegetable. Some fruits are prone to emit gasses and may not be suitable to be dried together with other fruits or vegetables. I suggest that you dry foods of the same kind (i.e. berries with berries).
6. Adjust the temperature accordingly
Sometimes you may feel tempted to speed up the drying by raising the temperature and it’s so convenient with the thermostat and temperature control but don’t do it! Always follow the temperature guideline to prevent food from hardening prematurely on the outside. This can cause food to spoil because it’s dried incorrectly (still moist on the inside).