Food Dehydrator Basics
A food dehydrator is just one of many ‘tools’ and methods used to preserve food for preparedness. While no single method is ideal for all circumstances, a diversified approach to food preservation is recommended.
The following is an overview of the food dehydrator and the advantages thereof…
What Is A Food Dehydrator?
A food dehydrator is a unique low temperature oven, typically with a built-in fan that moves air over the food as it slowly draws out the moisture content so as to dry it and preserve it for shelf life longevity.
A food dehydrator will typically include the following components:
-The containment shell (various shapes and materials)
-Food trays (typically a non-stick surface)
-A heater (proper temperature without ‘cooking’)
-A fan (stagnant air will saturate with moisture)
-Temperature thermostat (adjustable for food types)
-On/Off timer (not all models have this)
The temperatures to dehydrate food typically range from 125 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the type of food.
The function of a food dehydrator is to simply remove moisture content from the food…
…without cooking it!
The advantages of a food dehydrator include the following:
One of the best reviewed food dehydrators is the ‘Excalibur’ (there are several models).
I have owned one for quite a number of years with excellent results.
Excalibur 9 Tray Deluxe Dehydrator
The Food Dehydrator Advantage
To preserve foods! Shelf life depends on food type and storage method. Generally 1 year or much longer.
Food maintains up to 95% of its nutrients.
Economical operation (e.g. an Excalibur filled with 9 trays, 15 square feet, a 10-hour batch will consume about 6kW hours of electricity costing about 90 cents).
Save money on groceries, (buy fresh fruit and vegetables or even frozen veggies when on sale at the grocery store and dehydrate them).
Dehydrate Meat or Fish for Jerky.
Related: How To Dehydrate Chicken Strips
Make animal/pet treats (chicken/turkey/beef strips).
Eat fresh fruit and vegetables in the middle of winter.
Enables more home grown garden food to eat year round.
Compact food storage (foods shrink smaller and will store in a smaller space).
Easy to pack for trips or kit.
Great tasting food (no flavor is removed during the dehydration process – only water is removed, leaving 100 percent of the flavor intact).
Let’s hear from you… Which food dehydrator do you have and what are your experiences? Favorite things to dehydrate? Do’s and Don’ts?
Just ordered a new gas range and one of the features is a dehydrate setting for the convection oven. I am very curious to see how it works (or not). Ordered this stove for other reasons, so I will consider this feature a bonus if it works well.
I have a Nesco and it works just fine. It’s me that needs help. I really need a class where I can see what the end result is supposed to be. More often than not I have ended up with over dried product.
I do the same thing…. HAHAHAHA
I call it “pre cooked” :-(
But I just use it soups and the like, works fine
I have one of these little Nesco dehydrators, with 4 extra trays
Nesco American Harvest FD-61WHC Food Dehydrator
I have put literally hundreds of pounds of food through it, with GREAT success. After dehydrating I store the goods in a Mason Jar vacuumed sealed or Mylar vacuumed sealed, stuff last for years. I do freeze the Jerky though; I worry about the oils becoming rancid.
I believe I have that exact same dehydrator. I have made tons of jerky with it. Both beef and deer. I have been wanting to try turkey jerky but haven’t had a chance to try it yet. We don’t bother putting the jerky in the freezer as it is never around long enough. I’m lucky if it last a week.
@ Peanut Gallery
Agreed about the jerky, I have also wanted to try Turkey, it’s a time thing.
I do grind all of the meats to a medium fine burger add the spices than dehydrate it using the “jerky gun”; makes it LOT easier on the teeth. Also I think the flavor saturates the meat a lot better. Plus the Jerky is a lot more uniform in size.
I will admit the best I can remember is the Buffalo Jerky… ½ Buffalo, ¼ Beef, ¼ Venison. With just a few “warm” spices, and yummmmmmm good. No wonder I’m fat HAHAHAHA
We use the Nesco dehydrator, usually with 6-8 trays and we are very happy with it. We looked at the Excalibur but it was too pricey for our fixed income, bought a new Nesco on sale for $ 40.00 and it works for us just fine.
We dry cubed spuds for chowders, sliced spuds for scalloped dishes, carrots for soups/stews, onions, some herbs, apples and plums too. The recipe/instruction booklet that came with the unit has lots of good information on different foods to dry.
We like the space saved for storage. We store in sealed canning jars, but just purchased a vacuum sealer and will try that for storage as well. The vacuum sealer came with a unit to vacuum seal jars too but we have not used it yet . .
Just an FYI, be careful sealing dehydrated foods in the plastic bags like Foodsaver. Sometimes the sharper edges will poke through and let air in.
I have three dehydrators; two Nesco and one large one from Cabelas. All work great. I dehydrate my foods DRY. Then they are either placed in small baggies inside a canning jar or just placed in a canning jar and vac-sealed with the jar attachment. I sometimes like the small baggies of foods so I can just take one out as I need it and then reseal the jar again. I use the half gallon jars for the baggies usually.
One more thing: if you are vac-sealing jars, heat your lid as usual, quickly dry it, and then set on the jar and seal with the jar attachment. It works every time unless it’s a faulty or bent lid. And don’t remove the jar sealer attachment for about 30 seconds after it stops. You can hear the “ping” if you listen closely for it, but may take half a minute or so.
@ NRP. I done it that way as well. The only problem with it being easier on the teeth is that we eat it even faster than the traditional jerky. At least the traditional last a few more days.
Does anyone have a recommended brand for a jerky gun? Thank you.
I use the one from Nesco
Nesco BJX-5 American Harvest Jumbo Jerky Kit
I use this one. Great kit.
Weston Original Jerky Gun
Thank you, NRP and Semper Gumby! Great to know.
I’ve owned the Excalibur for years but to date don’t use it as much as I should. Have made some great deer jerky and the xyl ( x young lady ) likes to dry herbs with it.
Has anyone used a convection oven to dehydrate?
@ country bumpkin
My convection oven didn’t allow me to set the temps low enough to dehydrate. Plus the fact I needed an extra fan for the air circulation. I ended up getting a Nesco with extra trays, which works amazingly well.
Just found several boxes of organic mushrooms last week at a very low price. Grabbed all that was available and dried them. I usually just grind them down into a powder and use them that way in my cooking. Don’t personally care for them re-hydrated. Also found a huge bag of poblanos dirt cheap. Usually make them into stuffed peppers. I save the tops and dehydrate those for use in soups. Nothing goes to waste.
The best part about dehydrating is that you fill those trays whenever you come across extra produce and just let her rip! As long as we have power, we’re in business. Got the plans for making a solar dryer for when the excrement hits the proverbial fan. And that might be closer than we think.
Best of luck with the stove.
how do you make a makeshift solar one?
Check out motherearthnews (dot) com/diy/tools/solar-food-dehydrator-plans-zm0z14jjzmar.aspx
It’s a great design, a neighbor has one similar.
That’s one of the sites I used for the plans. Mother Earth News has some seriously cool stuff.
Being the cheap S.O.B. that I am – I use a cardboard box – apprx. 3’high, 18″ deep, 2′ wide. Lined with aluminum foil, a 150W light-bulb (old-school incandescent) sitting in the bottom using a socket and harp from a broken lamp, a mishmash of racks salvaged from several sources (old BBQ grill, grill disposable ‘liners’, an old odd-ball hibachi perforated thing……all setting on levels of iron coat hangers cut to length to fit side to side. And.. it works!
Great for jerky, veggies, fruits. Processed aprpx. 30 bananas sliced in 12 hours perfectly as an example. Cost including foil and some foil duct tape – maybe $3. Used it now for over a year. Been able to vac-pack hot peppers and other items.
I’ve considered getting all tricked out and fancy – putting in an old pc case fan or something to stir up the air; but, as I grew up with the old adage, “don’t fix it if it’s not broke” – heck, it works and I’m not going to gussy it up. A small flap cut in the top of the box to regulate air flow works just fine as it. Might get a porcelain lamp socket base to make it a bit easier to put the bulb where it would be more stable though.
As for solar? I’d simply paint it black and place out in the yard in the direct Florida sun. Probably paint the back wall of the foil in the box black too and put a clear half-front panel in or something. Not sure as to timing; but, I just look and touch to determine whether the jobs are done anyway.
Thing is, why go to any expense on some factory-made, expensive (anything more’n about $4 say) to learn with. Too, you’ll know how to get-by if things go down and you have to make-do as a way of life.
Hi Heartless, I like the cut of your jib, meaning I’m like you. I like to improvise and make things work, or rescue cast off things and bring them back to life. Or modify and use for some other purpose. It bothers me to no end all the things we throw away.
I’ve been in and lived in 3rd world countries and no one throws away stuff like we do in this country. All we can do is try to do what each of us can to make a small difference. I’ll try the cardboard box.
Dehydrator this summer when mangoes are on sale. I like dried fruit, and veggies are so cheap in SoCal in season. Many years ago I had 2 Little Chief
smokers and made beef jerky and smoked salmon. I worked on many commercial salmon boats and used to get paid in fresh salmon and dungeness crab.
I have a Nesco dehydrator, and have used it for years to make jerky, dried fruits, potatoes and other vegetables, and even fruit roll-up from apple sauce. (Just made some jerky from carne assada over the weekend that is delicious!) I keep falling into the trap of buying the Nesco jerky spices though, and would love to know how to make my own cure and spices. If anyone has a good recipe, please post it.
My preps seem to be in polar opposite directions … I love to dehydrate and store foods in air tight mylar bags because they are light weight, and don’t take up much storage space. But living in the high desert of Nevada I also try to store water and have several different water filters, but can’t seem to store enough water for my family of 4.
You might try dehydrating your water first for easy storage. When ready for use just re-hydrate. Sorry couldn’t resist.
@ Who Knows
You do know there is a company out there that sells “Dehydrated Water” right? Check it out
Organic Dehydrated Water
#10 can for only $13.95 AND it’s Organic.
What could ever go wrong?
how about the company that sells Canned Air (mostly in Japan and China)
believe it is marketed as Pure Mountain Air From Banff, Alberta, Canada.
Apparently, sales are brisk.
I once say a can of air from Boston. It was sold in a place that was famous for bake beans.. Ah… decided to pass. LOL
I dried some celery and I cannot get it to rehydrate well. It stays hard and shriveled. How long should it take to make it come back to life? Now I’m afraid to try anything else as I don’t want to ruin anything.
@ Miss I Made It Myself
I also have dehydrated Celery, hard as a rock (and I don’t mean that soft sandstone stuff, I mean Granite), until I soaked it for about 2-3 hours in warm-hot water. I only use this in Soups now, where it cooks for a long long time.
Please do not get discouraged……
Had the same issue. Now I soak it over night. works great. Also, like NRP use in soups or crock pot recipes if not soaked overnight. That helps alot. Keep dehydrating. I do carrots, celery, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, all kinds of fruit and some deer or elk. wonderful for storage.
Thanks, I thought I had done something wrong. I’ll save it for soup!
This topic could not have come in a better time, I just bought a Dehydrator this past week at Cabela’s along with rubs and seasoning for meat and fruits. Cant wait to get started. Can you dehydrate chicken & fish ?
@ Uncle B
Go online and check out Nesco’s manual for drying Fish and Chicken. You can do a free DL of the manual, and recipes PDF file.
@ Uncle B
Here’s a link for Nesco’s manual.
Wow, just added Nesco to favorite bar, tons of recipe’s. Thank you all for insight.
You are going to be amazed at how much stuff you can dehydrate. Just watch you first few batches of jerky because they can get to dry. I learned the hard way with my first batch but we still managed to eat it all. Good luck with your new dehydrator.
Another thing I’d like to add here is that we will be keeping a few small buckets of dehydrated foods for the people that we know will NOT prepare for future events. They will be given a bucket, then sent 15 miles to town to the local parishes for “help”. . And I mean SENT on their way. That is about the best solution I can come up with helping those in need, yet protecting ourselves. Thoughts, anyone?
Maybe consider leaving the buckets with the local parish instead of handing them out. Unfortunately handing them out yourself may set you up to have your things forcibly taken from you by ones you previously helped and sent on their way. Mindset of the entitled is if you have enough to give out then you have more that I can come take.
MM, good idea on leaving some with the churches. What do we do if someone shows up at our homes with sincere need? Like one modern prophet says, “Help the needy, but suffer no marauders.” I’m trying to find that fine line to help others but then like you said I don’t want anyone sticking around to try and forcibly take what we have. We do have self defense “preps” and know how to use them well. Should we just advise any “golden hordes” or even just neighbors – and my favorite the “friends of friends” to go straight to town? Perhaps that would be best, but I hate to turn anyone down who is truly in need. I feel it would be our Christian duty to help in some way. I just don’t know. My thanks.
Sounds like you live in a relatively rural area. Brainstorm it. One thing that occurs to me is to have a small “abandoned” farm just off the road, and direct them there if it’s during the growing season. “I think someone planted a bunch of stuff down by the stream.” Or if during the winter “We had a crazy old neighbor a while back who kept burying things down by…” Bury the buckets but make them easy to find.
There are ways to make it work, but you’ll have to be creative. If in a suburban area with prepping neighbors around, perhaps designate one individual as the “giver,” who has a stash of dried goods. Everyone in the group can direct the needy to that individual, who has nothing but a little food in the house. No preps, no weapons (except for self defense). Etc. I know there are ways to do it, with a little ingenuity
If you’re willing, I’d suggest taking some food to the parish in any case so that it will be available. Introducing a religious leader to the idea of prepping (without telling him what you have, of course) might get others going.
Personally I have about a thirty years supply :) of seeds. Someone comes to my house I’ll give them seeds, help them set up a garden, whatever, but I won’t risk my family. Neither of the ideas above would work for me, and I’ve tried to think of other possibilities but they all put my family at risk.
Lauren and all
I personally think it will be very very tough to “send folks on their way”..that is, if they don’t choose to go.
If it is possible, the best way is to make yourself/your home/your yard, look so broken down/poor/poorly kept they do not want to venture in…
and, I think that will not be so easy to do.
Lauren, good ideas. You’ve given us much to think about. I have lots of seeds also, I like to include a pack in every birthday, anniversary, etc card sent to friends and family. I still am thinking it might be wise to just send people on to town. Maybe with a loaf of bread? (Homemade from the freezer). And yes, we are very rural. Both a blessing and a worry at times also. A neighbor 1/2 mile down the road just lost everything in a house fire this weekend. FD too far away out here. One reason we have multiple fire extinguishers and multiple 250 gallon water tanks about the place, not to mention the pond.
Anon, I hope they will go. At least peacefully. Or should I then ask them for names of ‘next of kin?’ to notify? I’m not afraid to defend us here, even with deadly force. Sheesh. Things will be tough enough, but can we all honestly turn away even friends? This keeps me up nights!!
Blessings to all
Should read ….deadly force.
I don’t know if I would be able to or not. No one knows until they’re actually faced with the situation. I do know that my family is my first priority. If someone tries to force their way into my house they are no longer either a friend or a neighbor. If they don’t I’ll do what I can for them without risking my family. Most of them probably wouldn’t eat what I have stored in any case, and if I give to one they’ll all be on my doorstep, resulting in starvation for my own family.
It has been proven that if you have a plan before something happens you’re likely to stick with it. So I plan, and pray it never comes to that.
Problem, I think, with sending them “on their way” forcefully, (or nullifying by force), is I do believe the “word will get out”. While this may seem like a good thing, maybe not. Folks may just show up “in force”, or such. If one is obviously well prepared to defend, it will be assumed they are also well stocked etc.. Might just attract more.
My standard answer will be “We are out of food ourselves, but we heard they are handing out food at the FEMA camp, and that is where we are headed as soon as husband gets dressed.”
I think that would be better..
I recall (you know a hundred yrs ago or so when I was in school), learning in elementary school, that folks would do some version of that,
or , some version of having some rather dubious looking foodstuffs front and center (with good edible stuff buried in the field), and dress in rags and give them a little of the dubious looking stuff.
I recall reading back then, those who buried their foodstuff (cabbage / potatoes etc back then) were pretty much the only ones who survived the wars/marauding soldiers and others. (this was in talking about countries with wars in them). I recall that the soldiers were sent house to house to confiscate any foodstuffs for the military, as “soldiers need to eat”.
Oh, I REALLY like that answer!
I have a dehydrator from Cabelas. Works great. I’ve made jerky several times and it never lasts. I had a hard time learning to properly dehydrate vegetables and fruits. They kept coming out rock hard. I finally found a book that really helped. Its called The Dehydrator Bible. I also found a website that helped me out so I knew what the finished product was supposed to look like. I’ve canned for years but this dehydrator stuff is still a work in progress. I still find out new things to can. Just did up some pinto beans to use for refried beans. Never knew that you could can them before. Always learning something new. This site is great for that. Thanks for the canning lid tip with the vacuum sealer.
I use Open Country sportsman’s model. People say celery is tough but I half way cook mine first. I do firm tomato slices for pasta, dry my Basil in it when fresh, and peeled apple slices with sprinkled cinnamon and sugar which are like candy to me, and blueberries. I simmer the blueberries until the skins crack to dehydrate faster.
I haven’t tried freshwater fish, but I have left some fried fish filets for two weeks in the fridge that got dehydrated on their own being a frost free refrigerator and I didn’t eat them, but the dogs loved it. Since fish is plentiful here, that was my solution to supplementing dog food when it becomes scarce.
What kind of fish? Anyone considering feeding salmon to their dog should be aware of salmon poisoning. Not being familiar with it could be fatal for the dog. I know that dried and frozen salmon has long been used as food for sled dogs. Perhaps the freezing or drying kills the parasite that infects the dog. Please read up on this.
From FDA.gov “Unlike bacteria, molds, and viruses, most parasites are relatively easy to destroy by holding the raw material or finished product at freezing temperatures for a specified period of time; of course, this is dependent upon the internal temperature of the material. The Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guide recommends a temperature below -4 oF (-20 oC) for 7 d or -31 oF (-35 oC) (internal) for 15 h to kill the parasites of concern (FDA 1998).”
It didn’t say anything about drying, but did say that cold smoking wasn’t sufficient to kill the parasites.
Jerky is my favorite food group! I know it doesn’t officially have its own food group, but it should.???????
I make a couple pounds per month……never enuff!
I have an old school dehydrator with the electric element, and also a Nesco one. The Nesco works better since you don’t have to rotate the trays as much, but I have the same problem with both of them.
For some reason when I make jerky, I start off with all the trays full. But by the time its done, there always seems to be 1/4 to 1/2 of a tray of jerky that’s missing. ??????
I tell my wife thats because of shrinkage. She didn’t believe my first explanation of the Bermuda Triangle thing. LOL (insert the X-files theme soundtrack here)???
Wife.”What are you doing honey?”
Me. “Just checkin’ the jerky ButterCup!”
Wife. “Don’t be eatin’ the jerky yet, let it finish!”
Me.” I won’t”
Wife. “I mean it!!!!!”
Me. “Yes dear.” …….(chomp chomp chomp)
Something else we do that some of you might find helpful.
We save all our vegetable scraps. If you have leftover veggies from supper, or vegetable peels like carrots or even clean potato peels.
Celery tops, radish tops,green onion tops, bell peppers, tomato scraps, really anything leftover from your cooking preps.
We take them and put them in a zip lock in the freezer, until we get enough. Then dehydrate them all, then run them thru a cheep dollar store food processor til they’re powdered. Then we use that for seasoning in soups and stews.
Its basically the same as the McCormick seasonings you buy at the store, for FREE.
I also put the scraps in the freezer, but I use them to make chicken or beef broth, depending on what I need at the moment. The broth’s you buy in the store have way too much sodium in them.
Very informative article, thanks. I like the idea of dehydrating food but so far we have spent a lot of money on canning equipment and are sort of locked in to that paradigm. We don’t have a dehydrator, but we do dry herbs spread out on 2 foot wide basket trays, and peppers threaded and hung in an area where a draft from the AC/Heat vent blows on them . After a couple weeks wife puts the herbs in the oven at low temp for 30 minutes or so. The peppers take a long time to completely dry, the old fashioned way. Maybe this article will motivate me to go build a drying box from some of the tons of scrap wood I have laying around here. Right now I can’t afford to buy a nice commercial dehydrator
I use the car for extra dehydrator space during the summer. It gets HOT in there, and I see no reason not to use the heat. I use the flat trays from a nursery (those with holes in the bottom) and layer them with window screen. Put the car windows up or down depending on humidity and how much heat I need for that particular item.
Thank you Lauren for suggesting the car for dehydrator use. Makes good sense. As I read all these posts the one set of words I railed @ were “I bought…”.
C’mon all!!! If you can’t make it, make do, figure out something so simple as dehydrating food without spending a bunch of money – what are ya’ll doing? Spare parts won’t be available if things go south. And I’ve mentioned this before – I’m originally from Kansas. The native Americans out there still use what are called drying racks – greenwood branches lashed together – for jerky and most anything else they wanted to preserve for the cold months.
Two major things to always consider – when drying ala naturel… like the (politically incorrect term here:) Indians use to do – keep a kid near the racks to fan away flies. 2nd – turn the contents of your dryer or rack every 2-3 hours over. Even drying is a good idea.
But – again Lauren – you’ve got the right idea. Should’ve thought of it this last summer when I leaned on a buddies black Ford f-150 hood. Yeow!!!
It’s a great idea to learn ‘off-the-grid’ methods of doing things! No argument there whatsoever.
With that said, it’s also a good idea (if one can afford without debt) to ‘use the grid’ and associated tools during modern times to deepen one’s pantry ;) An electric food dehydrator will ‘work’ during the winter…
I will agree 1000% on “learning” to do things off-grid for when TSHTF
But until that happens I will be using every kilowatt of power I can afford to make things a LOT easier. For me it’s a cheap $40 Nesco dehydrator, fill it, turn it on, walk away for x-hours, return and poof, it’s done, repeat. If I can turn out a batch of dried food 2-3 times a day when produce is coming in free from the Garden, you bet-cha I will.
Again, learn and “try” the off-grid, but……..
I agree with you, and I have spare parts (etc) to build these things if the need arises. The problem I have is space. A home-made solar panel, solar cooker, solar dehydrator, etc, pretty much has to stay in place (unless it’s built like a tank, in which case I don’t WANT to move it) and that takes up space in my garden, summer and winter, making less space for growing. Putting them where I don’t have things growing means either on the lawn or in one of the walkways, in which case the walkways need to be either widened or relocated and then they take space from my garden…Having these things pre-made usually means they’re small and portable and can be stored in a closet when not in use. After SHTF planting ground would be at a premium.
So yes, I cheated and bought a solar oven which can be used as a dehydrator, giving me four dehydrators if you count the car. Three can be used with no electricity, since the clear shell of the third also collects sunlight. I put that one outside on the cement after the electrical element went out and it worked just fine.
When using the car as a dehydrator the windows can be closed entirely if there are flies around, so they don’t lay eggs in your food, but make sure the product goes straight into the carhydrator :) so the flies don’t get to it first. Cover the seats if you’re doing things that leak (like plums) and make sure you’re OK with your car smelling like whatever you’re processing at the moment.
My concern right now is the bottles. I live in a desert, so processing food with the water IN is a good idea. But bottle lids are single use. We have tattler lids, but even those won’t last forever. Jams can be sealed with wax, fermented foods can be stored with second hand lids, but I’m trying to figure out how to bring the lids back to life.
Oh, one more detail. I measured the temperatures in the car at one point, and with full sun even at 60 degrees outside the car got up past 120. Consider it a gift. :)
It is not ,recommended,but it does work, especially with dehydrated food.I have re-used some lids,the main thing is to make sure they are not damaged and to make sure they are Sterilized. Pickle jars, peanut butter jars, the metal lid with the rubber seal, work great for dehydrated food, and saves the other pricey jars for other foods…just put in ox absorber.
The cheap dehydrators are a good place to start.. The main thing in preparing is to slice in even peices, and rotate the trays. Some of the dollar stores/pharmacy places have for about 24$.
Zucchini and yellow squash are sweet when dehydrated.
We like okra better after it is dehydrated, can put spices on it for a snack or plain to rehydrate and fry.
celery and carrots,. I leave short stems on leaves until they are completely dry, and separate them and powder, they don’t fly that way. NONE of these MUST be blanched. You may, but not necessary. Just dry til crispy. To rehydrate okra cover amount you desire with warm water and allow to sit for 30-45 min. then drain and treat as fresh.
To determine the amount you need, figure how many cups you want prepared, and half the amount..1 cup of dehydrated okra will yield 2 cups okra.=4 1/2 cup servings. Meats multiply/divide by 3. serving size is considered as one ounce and makes a 3 ounce serving when rehydrated. If you want 6 oz per serving use 2 ounces, general rule… All vegestables, the smaller the peice, the quicker they will rehydrate, if time is short and you need to add more to a soup, you can use spinach or kudzu powder for fiber vitamins and minerals, the finer it is ground/the less time required to rehydrate.
I bought an Excalibur dehydrator a year ago based on recommendations from this site. I love it! My one fail has been celery, so I plan to try some of the tips above to get better results. We never seem to finish a can of Mandarin oranges, so I dehydrate those-> candy! When I dehydrate light weight items, such as parsley, I put a sheet on top to hold them down. Otherwise, they start flying around the dehydrator halfway through. Works great.
I haven’t actually dehydrated celery
but I am wondering
if you strip the strings out of the celery, then chop it, maybe it would dehydrate better?
I have found those darn celery strings often cause grief, and I most always strip them out before I use celery in a recipe.
see above post, just cut celery stalks, after washing and drying…very even and across the stalks. leave leaves on the leaves to be able to pull them out and put leaves together.Do not have to blanch. I have been doing for several years, just leave til very dry, then pop in grinder and pulverize for powder, or small pcs can be stored easily in any kind of sealable found jar. I re-use sweet relish jars and pickle jars for this, and put in ox absorber and it will seal. don’t have to worry how old it is. just rotate. I will use about 7-8 stalks of celery a year pepared this way… Mushrooms can be done same way, I pulverize so I can add flavor without touchness.
Reading this while taking a break from my garden planning. I am actually doubling my celery planting from last year because dehydrating worked so well. I strip the strings, blanch, and then dehydrate. all leaves and outer stalks are dehydrated and then ground for celery powder. There are a lot of websites out there for dehydrating meals which I have been experimenting with. I dehydrated all of our meals for 10 day hunting camp last year. Bbq potato bark stew is awesome!
Hey Tye, potato bark stew sounds interesting. Can you provide the recipe?
I found it on backpackingchef dot com. It is under the bark recipes.
do you feed them just dehydrated dog food?
We have the Excalibur dehydrator. I watch the local restaurant supply ads for their sales then I purchase their vegetables for dehydrating.
For those who can locate this book it is good to have for dehydrating, it is put out by HP books title is “How to Dry Foods” by Deanna DeLong. I have the older version of the book, which you might locate at a 2nd hand store or Good Will.
It also has recipes which you can use with your dehydrated food.