1. What is dehydrating?
Dehydrating is a method of food preservation in which moisture is removed from the food. Dehydrating inhibits growth of microorganisms and decay. Dehydrating can dramatically increase storage life for food.
2. Does Dehydrating food destroy its nutrients?
Dehydrating causes minimal loss of nutrients, but if done properly that loss is quite small. You will retain about 90% of the vitamins and minerals. When using higher heats, foods will dehydrate faster, but this will result in more nutrient loss.
3. How do you know when foods are dry?
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 overdried may become brittle and turn brown.
4. How do you store dried foods?
Always store dried foods in airtight containers. Store containers in a cool, dry place. Exposure to humidity, light and air during storage adversely affects storage life of dried foods.
5. How long can I store dried food?
We recommend a maximum storage time of one year for the best appearance and nutritional value. Vacuum packing greatly extends shelf life. Refrigeration or freezing will double or triple shelf life.
6. How long does it take to dehydrate foods?
It depends on the type of food you are dehydrating, quantities, and capabilities of dehydrator. Refer to your fruit drying guidelines.
7. If I powdered my dried vegetables, what could I use them for?
Powdered onion and garlic, of course, are great seasonings for meats and sauces. Powdered tomatoes can be reconstituted into tomato sauce, paste, catsup, juice or soup. A blender or food processor will give you the finest texture. Store in air-tight container.
8. Is it necessary to pretreat foods before dehydrating them?
Pretreating can enhance color and flavor of certain foods, but is not necessary. Pretreatment options are dipping, blanching, and marinating.
9. My apples and pears have darkened to a rusty-brown color while drying. Are they safe to eat?
Yes. Fruits that have turned brownish color are safe to eat. Many fruits will oxidize when the flesh of the fruit is exposed to air. By pretreating fruits, oxidation is reduced.
10. What kinds of foods can you dehydrate?
You can dry fruits, vegetables, meats, herbs, flowers, pet treats, etc. Dry left over bread for bread crumbs. You can dry almost anything that contains water.
11. Why should the edges of my fruit leather be thicker than the center?
With fruit leathers, the edges of mixture tend to dry first. If edges are the same thickness as center, they will dry too quickly and become brittle.
12. Will flavors mix if I dry different foods together in the same dehydrator?
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.
13. Are dehydrated foods recommended for camping and hiking?
You can use dehydrated ingredients to speed up preparation time. Dehydrated foods are lightweight and easy to carry in your backpack or camper.
14. What are the benefits of food drying?
There are many benefits of drying food. Here are some:
- You are in control of the quality of food you eat.
- You will save money.
- You can take advantage of supermarket specials.
- You can create a tasty snack that is good for you.
- You can take advantage of your own garden by drying your fruits and vegetables to be used year round.
15. My banana chips don't taste or look like the ones in the stores. What can I do?
The banana chips you buy in the store are deep fried. Dehydrating your own banana chips taste great and are more nutritious than store bought.
16. The fruit sticks to the trays. How can I prevent this?
Fruits or thinly sliced vegetables may stick to your trays. You may want to purchase Clean-A-Screens to put on your trays to prevent these items from sticking.