Trying food dehydration can seem intimidating, but there are some guidelines and steps to follow that will make the process easier.
Instead of messing up your food, use this step-by-step guide for your food dehydration techniques.
These Steps Are All You Need to Know About Food Dehydration
These are the 5 steps you should take into account to become an expert in food dehydration:
Step #1: Prepare adequately
Preparation is key when it comes to food preservation, and food dehydration is not any different. The first big step is making sure you buy the right produce and meats for dehydration.
Whether it is fruits like bananas, apricots, strawberries, or apples, the fruit should not be fermented or too soft.
As for vegetables, you can dehydrate tons of them, including potatoes, mushrooms, pumpkin, corn, and carrots, among some.
In terms of meat, the best option is to go for is beef, fish, chicken, and lamb. Once you have your food ready for dehydration, it’s time to clean it appropriately, particularly those foods that can get bacterial overgrowth easily.
We suggest you use an anti-bacterial cleanser, and steam or blanch vegetables with low acid content so you don’t lose nutrients. It’s always a good idea as well to wear gloves, so that any skin oils or dirt won’t get on your food.
When you have the ingredients ready, you can make sure your tools are also clean and on the setting or position, they need to be.
Step #2: Choose the right temperature
While this applies mostly to food dehydrators, have the temperature in mind with sun-drying and oven-drying as well.
Temperatures vary depending on the tool you use, but it is important that you set it correctly, and keep an eye on it throughout the process.
In an oven, use the lowest setting possible, but also keep the door open for moisture to escape if possible. As for sun-drying, the weather isn’t something you can control, however, check the food and make sure everything is in the correct position.
Finally, your food dehydrator comes with specific guidelines for each food and its required temperature.
If you can’t find specific instructions, the best call is to do a quick search or use the lower setting. Don’t dry your food too quickly or it will lose texture and color!
Step #3: Check that the foods are 95% dehydrated before storing
This step is essential in making sure your food lasts longer and doesn’t spoil. When foods have leftover water in them, they will continue to ferment and spoil even after dehydration
To ensure that your food is 95% dry, check their texture. Dehydrated food should be firm and crunchy for the most part.
Remember that if you are using your oven or a food dehydrator, indoor factors can alter the time for drying. Some of these affecting factors include air conditioning and humidity.
If you are sun-drying, gloomy days, rain, and breeze also change the drying time and can spoil your food.
Step #4: Don’t raise the temperature too high
Some people are concerned with time and want their foods to dry quickly. If you feel like this, make an effort to wait it out.
Altering the temperature to a higher setting so that food dries quickly only spoils the food, as moisture gets trapped inside.
Regardless of the method you use, it is safer to let your food dry longer. Don’t risk having moisture locked inside, causing food to ferment or spoil.
Step #5: Store your food adequately and safely
Storage is an important step in food preservation, which is why you should pay attention to safe storage methods for dried food.
To start, keep your food away from light, heat, and moisture, as these can all spoil your food, even if dehydrated. Allow your food to return to room temperature before placing it elsewhere, or you could risk condensation forming.
After, use a vacuum sealer to create a safe space with no oxygen or entryway for microorganisms or moisture.
If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, use a Ziploc bag, but force as much air out as you can and seal tightly. Once packed, the food needs to be stored in a dry, cool space.
Don’t freeze or refrigerate your food because this creates ice crystals and moisture enters the food again. Food stored safely can last for many years but check its status often, making sure there isn’t any moisture or light.
Get ready to become an expert
After all these steps and tips, you are now ready to embark on the adventure of food dehydration.
Follow these steps closely for guidance and always keep an eye on your food.
You will never regret saving money, time, and creating delicious treats!