Dehydrating Foods

Welcome to my journey with dehydrating food. I will update this page with things I've tried and tips and tricks I've learned.
Our 1990's Ronco dehydrator!

Replaced by the Excalibur 3900B 
February, 2015



My journey started with this post.

What I've learned:


General:
  • Dehydrate almost everything at 125°
  • Usually rehydrate with a 1:1 ratio - I am finding that many vegetables need more water


Fruit:

Apples 
  • Cut peeled apples 1/4"
  • Lemon juice
  • 10-12 hours 125°
  • Will be brittle, feel dry and snap in half easily
Apple Chips
  • Not peeled, 1/8" thick
  • Do not need to core if cutting this thin! Just be sure to remove all seeds.
  • 10-12 hours 125°
  • Lemon juice
  • Sprinkle with a little cinnamon and not much sugar
  • Will be brittle, feel dry and snap in half easily
Bananas
  • Cut in slices (I tried 1/8" and they could be thicker) 
  • Spray with lemon juice 
  • Dehydrate at 125° for about 10 hours
  • Should be brittle, feel dry and snap in half easily
  • Note: mine snapped easier after they cooled
  • Rehydrate - simmer in enough water to cover fruit for 10-15 minutes to desired softness, drain (use in baking/cooking)
Blueberries
  • Wash blueberries and dehydrate. This took many hours. It also takes quite a while to rehydrate - I need to try boiling water instead of cool water.  The blueberries do not plump up as much as they originally were.
  • I need to try blanching them for 1 minute before dehydrating.
Cantaloupe
  • About 1/4" thick
  • Mist with lemon juice
Crazy Fruit
  • This is 2-3 fruits sliced thin, sprayed with lemon juice and piled together so they fuse together when dried
  • Dry as long as the fruit that takes the longest
  • Banana and pineapple
  • Apple and watermelon 
  • Banana and cantaloupe 
  • Strawberry and kiwi
  • Banana, cantaloupe, and pineapple
  • Banana strawberry
Fruit Leather
  • One way (cooked):
    • Puree about 4c fruit, 1 t cornstarch, 1-2T lemon juice, 1-2T corn syrup or honey
    • Bring to a boil and simmer 2 minutes. Cool. (Can do raw but I haven't tried it)
    • 10-12 hours at 125°then flip over and dry 2-3 hours
    • Strawberry recipe called for water - much too runny
    • Strawberry/banana - with raw honey - good!
    • Peach/mango - with corn syrup - good!
    • Blueberry/peach - with corn syrup - ok.
    • Blueberry/applesauce with honey - pretty good!
    • Think I'll try more with honey or no sweetener.
  • Another way (raw):
    • General recipe: Puree 2 cups fruit for 13" X 15" piece of leather until smooth with 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Add a little extra liquid if needed
    • Dry at 135° - do not over dry!
    • Apple - 4 c apples, 1T lemon juice, 1T chia seeds, 1T cinnamon - makes one piece of leather
    • Strawberry - 5 c strawberries, 1T lemon juice - makes one piece of leather
Grapes
  • Wash and leave on stem
  • Blanch about 1 minute
  • Remove from stems and dehydrate 18 hours
  • Transfer to a clean tray and dry another 6 hours
  • These are incredible! I have to pace myself - I want to eat them by the handful! They are like a super plump raisin.
Kiwi
  • Peel
  • Slice about 1/4" thick
Lemons
  • peel and slice 1/4" thick
  • Brittle, dry to touch, easily snaps in half
  • 10-12 hours 125°
  • does not seem to rehydrate enough for lemonade; good to cook with fish
Mangos
  • I used frozen chunks that I cut in half
  • 125°
Oranges
  • peel and slice 1/4" thick
  • Brittle, dry to touch, easily snaps in half
  • 10-12 hours 125°
  • Segments did not work - got hard on outside; I poked each one but still didn't dry. Could maybe cut up segments
  • does not seem to rehydrate enough for orangeade; good to cook with fish
Peaches
  • I used frozen and cut the slices in half - I didn't care for these as much
  • I used fresh and sliced thin - they are wonderful!
  • 10-12 hours 125°
Pears
  • Peel
  • Cut pear in half lengthwise
  • Slice about 1/4" into moon shaped slices
  • Spritz with lemon juice
  • 8-10 hours 125°
  • really good!
Pineapple (raw and steamed)
  • Slice thin (I tried 1/8" and 1/4" - they could be thicker) 
  • Dehydrate at 125° for 8 -10 hours
  • Feels like paper, flexible, pale yellow in color
  • Sliced thick 3/8" - 1/2" 12-15 hours. 
  • Either way works fine.
  • Wonderful!
Raspberries
  • If need to rinse, do and then let air dry before dehydrating.
  • set on stem end with bottom point pointed skyward
  • takes 24 hours or so
  • berries will be very dry and crush to a dust
Rhubarb
  • clean - no leaves
  • cut in bite-size pieces 
  • blanch for about a minute
  • dry
Strawberries
  • Slice about 1/4" thick or in half
Watermelon
  • Slice about 1/4" thick
  • Spritz with lemon juice
  • OK to leave the seeds in
  • We weren't crazy about this

Vegetables


Cabbage
  • Wash, core and cut into 1/2" thick slices
  • Blanch 2-3 minutes
  • Chop the cabbage more if you want
  • 8 - 10 hours at 125° 
  • Will be dry like paper 
  • Red and green are treated the same
Carrots
  • Wash, peel, and slice carrots. Favorite way: Steam 2 minutes. Will cool as put on sheets. Another way: Blanch about 5 minutes and then dehydrate. A third way: Use raw carrots. 
  • Steamed or blanched carrots rehydrate faster, and retain their color better.
  • About 1/4 c. dehydrated carrots = 1 pound carrots.
  • 10-12 hours at 125°
Cauliflower
  • Wash, slice and blanch cauliflower. I sliced it less than 1/2 " thick. It does turn a little brown as it dries. It  rehydrates fine and turns white again!
  • The cauliflower can be cooked until tender and then dehydrated.
  • 12-14 hours at 125°
  • Frozen works well. No need to blanch. Do need to cut down piece to fit well on trays.
Celery
  • Wash and chop celery. It rehydrates fine but will not rehydrate as crisp - it is fine in cooked dishes.
  • 12-14 hours at 125°
Corn
  • I used frozen corn
  • 8 - 10 hours at 125°
  • Outer coating is very hard
Green Beans and wax (yellow) beans
  • Wash and snap off ends. May snap into smaller pieces.
  • Blanch about 3 minutes and then dehydrate. 
  • If use for frozen beans, no need to blanch.
  • 8 -12 hours 125°
  • Frozen works well and no need to blanch.
  • Rehydrate at a 1: 2-1/2 ratio with water. Ok if extra water.For us, 3/4c in about 2c of boiling water for about 1 hour. Boil and cook for 20 min. Be sure water covers all beans. These are fine in soups but just as a side I prefer beans that I've frozen. The rehydrated ones are leathery and I don't care for the rehydrated wax beans in anything.
Green Onions (Scallions)
  • Clean and slice about 1/4"
  • Dry
Kohlrabi
  • blanch and slice thin
  • dry
  • We found that we aren't crazy about kohlrabi; I'll use it up in soups
Leeks
  • Slice 1/4" slice up to the tough part
  • Thoroughly wash
  • Dry at 125°
Lima Beans
  • I used frozen
  • 10 - 12 hours at 125°
  • Outer coating is very hard
Mushrooms
  • Sliced about 1/4", then chopped
  • 8 -10 hours 125°
  • I spritzed with lemon juice - not sure if I needed to
  • Dry to touch, breaks in half easily
  • Baby Portabellas worked well also. I don't think lemon juice is needed.
Okra
  • I used frozen sliced okra - just put it on a tray and dehydrated it.
  • 8 -10 hours 125°
Onions
  • Peel, slice/chop, and dehydrate onions. Cooked onions took much longer to dehydrate and rehydrate.
  • Frozen chopped onions dehydrate much faster and the odor is not as bad.
  • Don't overload the trays - it takes much longer and the odor is much worse!
  • 12-14 hours at 125°
  • equivalents
         1 T fresh = 1/2 t  + 1 T water
         1/4 onion = 1 T + 1/4 c water
         1/2 onion = 2 T + 1/3 c water
         1 onion = 4 T + 1/2 c water

  • I did cook onions for many hours in the Slow Cooker to caramelize them and then dehydrated. They are supposed to be like the purchased dried fried tomatoes. My opinion is coming... it took LOTS of tomatoes.
    Peapods
    • blanch 2-3 minutes
    • 125° 8 - 10 hours
    Peas 
    • I used frozen
    • 125° 8 - 10 hours
    • Since they were frozen, I didn't need to blanch or steam.
    Peas - Sugar Snap
    • Blanch for a couple of minutes
    • Took at least 12 hours
    • Not crazy about these when dehydrated - leathery
    Peppers
    • Green and colors.
    • Cut up however desired.
    • Blanch or not
    • 125° 8 - 10 hours
    Potatoes - Yukon Gold  or Reds (supposedly baking potatoes do not work)
    • Use purchased frozen hashbrowns straight from the freezer. Works great and rehydrates fine.
      • Rehydrate for 15 min in boiling water. Drain and pat potatoes dry. Heat butter in pan. Be sure pan is hot. Sprinkle potatoes in pan. Season with salt, pepper. Cook potatoes until a brown crust forms on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook and stir until potatoes are browned all over, about 5 more minutes.
    • Cook/bake raw potatoes until just done. Peel, slice or shred. Works fine. 
    • Can peel, slice, and cook instead of cooking and then peeling and slicing. Works fine!
    • Riced potatoes - They work great! Rehydrate: 1 part potatoes : 2 parts+ boiling water. After rehydrating for about 20 minutes, I heated to a boil then added milk and butter and mashed.
    • Cooking/blanching is so the potatoes don't turn black (unappetizing but won't hurt you)
    • Can cook, mash, and dry like leather. Then process into small flakes. Rehydrate: 1 1/3 cup flakes in 1 1/3 cups boiling water. When rehydrated, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons butter, 1/2 cup milk and boil.
    Spinach
    • I used organic, washed spinach - no blanching or cooking
    • 110° 8 - 10 hours
    • When dry, it is crisp and fragile but still green 
    • I made powder in the Viatmix
    • 1T is equal to a good sized handful of spinach

    Tomatoes (I know tomatoes are technically a fruit)
    • Regular or plum tomatoes- just washed, peel, and slice about 1/4" OR dice (Had to do slicing/dicing by hand - tomatoes did not work well with my mandolin)
    • Can also use Vitamix and puree and make leather (use for powder or add to soups)
    • 125° for 8 -10 hours
    • Be sure to peel. When used in a stir fry or soup, the skin comes off and is a little tough.
    • Do not need to peel if using in powder.
    Winter Squash - Acorn
    • I  mashed some cooked Acorn Squash with a fork and rolled it thin. 
    • I partially cooked and cubed Butternut Squash and hope to use it in soups.
    • 125° for 10 -12 hours
         Rehydrate: For 1 serving of mashed squash, add 1/2 c squash to 5/8 c boiling water. Let set covered for 5 minutes or more. Mix and heat in microwave 1-2 minutes. Mix; add butter.

    Winter Squash - Butternut
    • I cooked then mashed Butternut Squash and rolled it thin. I rolled it between the dryer sheet and a sheet of wax paper. 
    • 125° for 10 -12 hours
    Zucchini and Summer Squash
    • I used shredded and sliced zucchini (and yellow squash) that I froze last fall. I thawed enough to separate the slices
    • I am now using fresh zucchini. Wash, peel, and slice or shred.
    • 10-12 hours at 125°
    • The slices were fine used in the Slow Cooker.
    • The shredded rehydrated fine - I used it in muffins.
    • Either work for powder.

    Miscellaneous
    Marshmallows - Dehydrate mini marshmallows (or regular ones cut in smaller pieces) at 125° for 6 - 12 hours until dry

    Pasta/Noodles
    • roll thin and cut
    • dry at 135° for 2-4 hours
    • my whole wheat noodles were rolled very thin and dried in 2 hours
    Powders
    • orange - good in smoothies; mine clumped so it is back in the dehydrator
    • red cabbage - good in smoothies
    • spinach - good in smoothies and more; does turn smoothies green
    • tomato - use:
      • tomato paste: 1 part powder 2 parts water
      • tomato sauce: 1 part powder 6 parts water
        • note: 15 oz can = 1/3c powder, 2 c water
      • tomato juice: 2T powder, 8 oz cold water
      • instant tomato soup: 2T  powder, 8 oz boiling water
        • may want to add pinch onion or garlic powder, salt and pepper
      • pizza sauce: 1/2 c powder, 1 1/2 c water - boil Reduce heat, stir in 1/2 t garlic powder, pinch salt, 1 T sugar to counter acid. Simmer until thick.
    • zucchini - good in smoothies
    Rice, Brown 

    • Cook rice as usual (Boil 2 1/2 c water, add 1 cup brown rice, cover and reduce heat. Simmer about 50 min until all water is absorbed.) May substitute broth for the water for flavored rice. After rice is cooked, may add a small amount of soy sauce for flavoring.
    • Spread rice on sheets and dehydrate at 145° for about 5 hours.
    • To use (1 serving)
      • Soak 1/2 c rice with 1/2 c boiling water for 5 minutes (covered)
      • Boil 1 - 2 minutes 
      • Remove from heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes


    Soup Mixes
    • I packaged all dried vegetables together with instructions and a list of other ingredients needed. Do not package bouillon with dried goods - it has moisture. Put it in it's own bag and then that bag in with other ingredients. The vacuum sealed bags should be sealed in Mylar to keep out light.
    Resources:





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