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Thread: A Question About Dehydrating Food

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Default A Question About Dehydrating Food

    Yesterday I picked up a Magic Chef dehydrator at a yard sale. The sole purpose of this was to start putting up some food and convince Mrs. Crash that it is a great (and economical) way to store food......and then "authorize" the purchase of an Excalibur. This came with no instructions, and I couldn't find a manual for this model on line, so I did like the shoe commercial and just did it. For all that have said rotating the trays is a PITA - you are accurate in your description. My question is - can you leave things in there too long? Is it possible to "over dry" things?

    My first 2 lbs of mixed veggies fit into a quart mason jar.

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    Over Taxed Under Paid Swamprat1958's Avatar
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    Crash

    I am making my first attempt at drying some bell peppers today. I have dried apples, bananas and have made a bunch of jerky but I have not tried other veggies, good luck!

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    Senior Member Mertell's Avatar
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    Crash:
    I often dry mixed vegetables just like you did. Starting with commercial frozen mixed veggies, I dry them at 125 *F. (According to manufacturer's recommendations.)
    I do not rotate trays. I am interested in long-term storage, so I finish the process in the oven on warm, to be sure they are dry-dry-dry. Then I store in canning jars.

    I open a jar after a month for a quick sniff. (checking for musty odors) If all is well, and the aroma is sweet, I figure they will keep for years.

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    First, look for Mary Bell's Complete Dehydrator Cookbook. You can find it everywhere. It's a bible on dehydrator. It's a great book with tons of recipes and ideas. It's a must have if you really want to dehydrate.

    Now to your question. If you set the temp too high then you harden the exterior of the food making it harder to remove the moisture. So in that sense you can over dry foods.

    Meats and Fish: 145F and above
    Fruits and Vegetables: 130F to 140F
    Herbs and Flowers: 100F to 110F


    Remember that dehydrating doesn't mean you HAVE to store stuff in a jar or bag. You can still freeze it if you want. You might even choose to partially dehydrate something like mushrooms so the amount of time to reconstitute it is shortened. Just remember that the moisture is what leads to spoiling.

    One of the things I've posted on before is leathers. If your dehydrator did not come with a plastic tray insert then you can use wax paper. Just line the tray and turn the edges up so no liquids can drip over. Then you can dehydrate stuff like spaghetti sauce, apple sauce or yogurt. It will become a "leather" when dry. You can take dehydrated ground beef, dehydrated spaghetti sauce and noodles, through it all in a pot and have spaghetti. Then have an apple sauce leather for dessert.

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Cool. I'll get the book. There is no temperature control on this one, just an on off swithch. I suspect that the temp can be controlled somewhat with the vent on top that can be opened or closed (or stages of in between). It did come with a metal tray and a plastic tray. I remember from your posts about the plastic tray. I was wondering what the metal one was for. Could it be for below all of the trays so that the little mixed veggies don't fall into the heater/blower area as they fall through the holes in the carousel trays?
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    I don't know. I had a round one years ago but don't remember a metal tray. Pics would work. Cleaning the round ones can be a pain because stuff drops down into the blower/heater.

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    What's the model # on that dehydrator?

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    I'll take a few pictures.
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    OK - here are a few pics. It's a four tray unit.

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    The cover.

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    Soft, plastic tray insert.

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    Metal tray insert? Thinking about it, I would think it would really hinder air flow if it was placed at the bottom.

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    Entire unit.

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    Man, you got me. I've never seen a metal one before. That plastic one if for the leathers, though. That metal one doesn't fit in the very bottom to aid in clean up does it?

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    It can fit below the trays. I wonder about air flow though with it in place.
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    Senior Member nell67's Avatar
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    Didn't see the model # on there Crash,does it have it listed on a sticker underneath it?
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    It does. LD-1010(469-1)
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    Senior Member nell67's Avatar
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    Here is a link to the manual for your dehydrator,still not a peep about that metal tray though!
    http://kitchen.manualsonline.com/mdo...054b87608b.pdf
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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Wow! Thanks Nell. I guess the idea of making a giant survival signal mirror with an aiming hole for the visually impaired will have to do then.
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    Senior Member nell67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashdive123 View Post
    Wow! Thanks Nell. I guess the idea of making a giant survival signal mirror with an aiming hole for the visually impaired will have to do then.
    LMAO!!! Think so!
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Either that or you could use it like Dave Canterbury does to make a solar fire starter. You'd have to use an actual birds nest however.

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    USN SCPO (RET) dscrick's Avatar
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    Default Dead on

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    First, look for Mary Bell's Complete Dehydrator Cookbook. You can find it everywhere. It's a bible on dehydrator. It's a great book with tons of recipes and ideas. It's a must have if you really want to dehydrate.

    Now to your question. If you set the temp too high then you harden the exterior of the food making it harder to remove the moisture. So in that sense you can over dry foods.

    Meats and Fish: 145F and above
    Fruits and Vegetables: 130F to 140F
    Herbs and Flowers: 100F to 110F


    Remember that dehydrating doesn't mean you HAVE to store stuff in a jar or bag. You can still freeze it if you want. You might even choose to partially dehydrate something like mushrooms so the amount of time to reconstitute it is shortened. Just remember that the moisture is what leads to spoiling.

    One of the things I've posted on before is leathers. If your dehydrator did not come with a plastic tray insert then you can use wax paper. Just line the tray and turn the edges up so no liquids can drip over. Then you can dehydrate stuff like spaghetti sauce, apple sauce or yogurt. It will become a "leather" when dry. You can take dehydrated ground beef, dehydrated spaghetti sauce and noodles, through it all in a pot and have spaghetti. Then have an apple sauce leather for dessert.
    Rick is correct. If you dry too fast or at too high a heat for the product you are dehydrating, you can "Case harden" the product, and it won't dry compltetly. This lady has a great website with tons of info on dehydrating and storage, nice videos too:

    http://www.dehydrate2store.com/

  19. #19

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    I was gonna say if you dry mushrooms to use the lowest heat setting possible, but you'rs doesn't have one. But, just in case, you shouldn't wash mushrooms you intend to dry.

    The only things I worry about overdrying are jerky and fruit. Actually I quit doing fruit because I'm afraid of it not being dry enough and can't seem to judge when it's just right. I always overdo it and end up with fruit caltrops.

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    RWC - I wash everything I dehydrate. I just pat it dry with a paper towel when done.

    Crash - A lot of things do better by slicing them. The more surface area exposed the faster it will dry. Try some grapes. Slice them into three sections and dry. You won't believe how good they taste compared to commercial raisins. Soooo sweet.

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