View Full Version : Dehydrating Question.

01-07-2011, 04:54 PM
I'm still very new to dehydrating, and I'm still using my $1 yard sale Magic Chef. Since I've had a little time om my hands I've been using it more lately. I've noticed that in addition to the trays needing to be rotated, things on the outer edges of the trays dry more quickly. My question is - can you leave things on there too long?

01-07-2011, 05:43 PM
I have exactly the same problem with my cheapie dehydrator too, Crash and I also wondered about overdrying. Although everything I've dehydrated(apart from some minced turkey thigh) seems to have turned out fine and rehydrates OK. I'm not sure how to tell if something is overdried as I've nothing to compare it to. I shall look forward to any responses with interest.

01-07-2011, 05:57 PM
Crash - I honestly don't know. I don't think so but I have nothing to back it up. The only precaution about fast drying is that the surface can get hard before the inside is dry. You wind up trapping moisture in the food. Other than that, I'm not aware that you can dehydrate food too long.

01-07-2011, 06:01 PM
On this cheapo dehydrator the only way to control temp is to open or close the vent on top. I've always left the vent open (lower temps) to avoid the situation you described. I guess I'll keep doing what I've been doing which is to remove the food from the outer edges as it dries and push the rest outward.

01-07-2011, 06:32 PM
I am with Rick. I don't think it is possible to over dry anything.

My most common item is frozen mixed vegetables that I use for camping/backpacking.

I use the dehydrator all day, then finish them off in a low oven. I want them DRY-DRY-DRY.

I store them in tightly screwed-on glass jars: must have a rubber seal.

Six months later, I check them by smell: sweet as honey means they will last indefinitely. Musty and rank means they were too wet, and they are trash.

By the way: Don't degrade the cheapie dehydrator: its really not all that complicated. Natives did just fine without any dehydrator.

I will say this, tho: I try to make my goods during dry spells rather than a humid spell.....


01-07-2011, 06:51 PM
Thanks for the replies so far. I'm still working on Mrs. Crash regarding an Excalibur dehydrator. Hopefully the success of my efforts in that arena will coincide with the death of my $1 Magic Chef.

01-07-2011, 06:58 PM
Well, like you, Crash, I'll keep doing the same. I must try the potato slices I dehydrated in the summer.

01-07-2011, 08:27 PM
I did 8 lbs of carrot slices earlier this week. Doing my first batch of potato cubes today.

01-07-2011, 10:34 PM
You'll like the Excaliber. You might have to shuffle trays up and down a bit or turn them end for end once during the cycle, depending on the size you get and what you're drying, but you don't have to move the stuff around on the trays.

I haven't done much in the way of long-term storage. Most of the stuff I dry is fruit and leathers. Nothing lasts that long. It's only January and all the leather is gone. Only the apple rings remain and I like those kinda crispy dry. You really don't want to overdry leathers.

01-08-2011, 12:21 AM
I don't know if it's possible to "overdry", but I don't think so - unless you're striving for something with a chewy texture like fruit leather.
We do the low-tech method and simply use the oven of our propane stove for drying. I've left prepared moose meat in there fairly long and turned the temp at at times because I worried it might not dry fast enough - it got extremely brittle in the end but rehydrates just fine.

01-08-2011, 02:28 AM
I've done fruit slices that turned out very sharp from overdrying, but that's it.

01-08-2011, 07:22 AM
Cool. Thanks everybody.

01-08-2011, 08:14 AM
You won't have to move the trays on the Excalibur. It's amazing how easy that rascal is. You can set both the time and the temp. depending on which one you get.

WW - I did the same thing with beef jerky in the oven once. The texture was like biting into charcoal. BUT! the taste was excellent and, as you say, it rehydrated just fine.

Survival Guy 10
02-09-2011, 10:48 PM
what about dehydrated soup i heard bout it and i was just wondering????

02-10-2011, 12:37 AM
Most places/sites tell you that the drier the better (2-3% moisture) but you want to dry slowly so not to hardcase (as mentioned earlier), when the outside is dried but the inside has higher moisture. The only problem you will have will over drying is that it will take longer to rehydrate, it may not fullly hydrate and be a little chewy, or you will burn it. You want to watch moreso that you don't leave it too moist or it will mold/spoil.

02-10-2011, 01:32 AM
Oh man...not to sidetrack from this thread, but when I read the title, and the bit about Crash being new to dehydrating, the first thing I thought was that Crash meant keeping himself hydrated and how to do so. I am glad I found differently because I would have been really worried otherwise. :) need more coffee.....neeeed moooore cooooffeeeeeee.

02-10-2011, 02:44 PM
I've been dyhydrating for about a year now with the Excalibur. Not sure on overdrying but better to be over than under. When you re-hydrate the food I don't think it matters if it's over dry. Will have to research that a little bit.