Green Your Life: How to Dry and Dehydrate Food


| 12/13/2010 10:01:05 AM


Dried fruits are a favorite of mine, but buying them at the store is expensive, plus the packaging is wasteful. So I recently decided to try dehydrating my own food. As many of my recent posts point out, making foods like these at home allows you to avoid preservatives as well as customize the recipes to fit your personal tastes. So far, I’ve learned that a dehydrator is extremely versatile, but dehydrating food is not an exact science, and can only be learned by “drying and trying.” 

How to make beef jerky 

For our batch, we used this recipe from Alton Brown (my favorite Food Network cook and personality!) We marinated the meat for about six hours in the refrigerator, patted each piece with a paper towel, then put them on the dehydrator trays in a single layer (no overlapping!) and left them until the meat was chewy and dry (about 11 hours). Be sure to store your finished product in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you want to be extra safe, boil the meat in some marinade for a few minutes first, then proceed with the drying process. 

How to dry fruit 

When drying apples, you can leave the peels or remove them before drying; just remember that the skin is very nutritious. My dehydrator’s manual recommends slicing apples in 1/4-inch pieces, but I like the variety that comes with thickness inconsistency; very thin slices yield crispy, chip-like pieces while thicker slices stay chewy. Apples also discolor when dried—which I don’t mind—but this can be remedied with a two-minute soak in an acidic juice (such as lemon or pineapple juice). 



raw apple slices 
A little more than half of a Granny Smith apple lies in a single layer of slices, waiting to be dehydrated. Photo By Dani Hurst. 



Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds