Fruits, fruit rolls and vegetables should be dried at 130 degree F to 140 degree F (55 degree C to 60 degree C). By drying foods in this temperature range you will minimize the loss of heat-sensitive vitamins A and C. All foods sweat when they begin to dry, the temperature may be set higher than 140 degree F (60 degree C) during the first couple of hours of drying. The actual temperature of the food will remain 15 degree F to 20 degree F (6o to 8o degree C) lower than the air temperature for the first couple of hours. Meats and fish should be dried on the highest temperature setting of your dehydrator. These temperatures also keep bacteria and other spoilage micro-organisms, common to meat and fish, to a minimum during the first stages of drying. Nuts and seeds are high in oil, and if higher temperatures are used, they will tend to become rancid, developing off flavors. The best temperature is from 90 degree F to 100 degree F (30 degree C to 40 degree C). Herbs and spices are most flavorful when they first open and should be harvested while very fresh, before they begin to blossom. Because the aromatic oils are very sensitive, temperatures should be 90 degree F to 100 degree F (30 degree C to 40 degree C) for drying. Take care not to load trays too heavily as this will prolong the drying time. Dried flowers, herbs and spices used for potpourri should be dried at temperatures ranging from 90 degree F to 100 degree F (30 degree C to 40 degree C) to maintain aroma and color.
Fruit rolls are a favorite snack for young and old alike. It is a chewy fruit product made from pur�ed fresh fruit, which has been dried and rolled into snack sized pieces. Most fruits canned or frozen also combined with others. Some fruits, such as apples, are high in pectin and fiber, and have an excellent texture when dried. Use fresh fruit in season. You can also use slightly overripe fruits, irregularly shaped fruits, or slightly bruised fruits that would be unsuitable for canning or drying. Some fruits, such as citrus, should be used in combination with other fruits because they have so much liquid and very little pulp. If you find that a fruit is too runny, combine it with apple, applesauce or a similar fruit that will give it more substance. When fresh fruits are not available, canned fruits or frozen (either sweetened or un-sweetened) can be used. Simply drain the liquid, and pour the fruit into the blender. Applesauce can be taken directly from the container for wonderful fruit rolls.
Jerky is a favorite snack for school, lunch, on the trail or just about anywhere. It is made by seasoning lean, raw meat in a salt mixture, then drying it without cooking. The finished product is a protein-rich exercise in chewing and ever so delicious. Jerky also makes a savory broth base for soups and stews.
Jerky may be made from a variety of wild game meats, fish and poultry. Use filets of fish and the breast of chicken.
1. Q: How Dehydration Works
A: The process is very simple. Increasing the temperature of food makes its moisture evaporate. Air moving over the food carries the moisture away. Controlling the temperature and air circulation prevents food from spoiling while it is drying. If sufficient water is removed from the food, micro-organisms and enzymes that would make the food spoil are disrupted.
2. Q: How do you know when foods are dry?
A: Always let foods cool for a few minutes. Check to see if the food is still moist or sticky. If it is leathery and pliable, it is usually done. However, foods that are over dried may become brittle and turn brown.
3. Q: Will flavors mix if I dry different foods together in the same dehydrator?
A: If you dry foods in the same category, such as fruits with other fruits and vegetables with other vegetables, the flavors should not mix. However, we do not recommend drying onions with any other foods.
4. Q: What are the benefits of food drying?
A: There are many benefits of drying food. Here are some:
You are in control of the quality of food you eat.
You can take advantage of your own garden by drying your fruits and vegetables to be used year round.
Cheapest way to preserve foods costs half as much as canning and seven times cheaper than freezing.
Storing dried foods requires 1/10 of the space of canned foods