How To Dehydrate — Online Reference Guide
This is a list of 36 of the most common foods dried in an home dehydrator. A food dehydrator is one of the easiest appliances to operate, and most recipes are very simple and similar.
Before we get to the list, here are some common instructions that many of the foods below share.
If the instructions say to pre-treat, that means to dip the fruit in ascorbic acid, citrus juice, or simple syrup. This is because some fruits will brown when exposed to air, and pre-treating will prevent discoloration.
To make a simple syrup, boil water and sugar in a 1:1 ratio. Let it cool before using it on the fruit.
For vegetables, you'll need to steam blanch for about a minute. This helps to prevent spoilage while in the dehydrator and also softens the cell structure to allow water to escape quicker.
Water blanching is not recommended because the vegetables will lose much of their vitamins and minerals.
You'll know the food is dry by touching and breaking a piece. There should be no moisture inside or out. The total drying time for each food depends on the food thickness, humidity, your food dehydrator, and your personal preference for taste and texture.
Knife or Mandoline
I recommend using a mandoline if your knife skills aren't good. You want to have uniform pieces so they all dry evenly. Some vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, work best when very thin, so a good food slicer is a worthy investment.
Two Fruit Drying Strategies
For all fruits, there are two basic recipes. The first, which is a little less convenient, involves two drying temperatures. You would start at high (about 145 degrees F) for 2 hours, and then finish at a lower temperature, such as 105.
The second, which I prefer, is to dry at a medium-high temperature like 135 and leave it alone. It's more convenient and the finished product tastes as good as the other way like this.
The Food Dehydrator How-To
- How to Dehydrate Apples
Slice the apples into 1/4" slices. Pre-treat. Dehydrate at 135 degrees F for 4-18 hours.
Eat them as is, or add them to pies, breads, or cookies.
- How to Dehydrate Apricots
Cut the fruit in half and remove the pit. Then cut again for quarters and pre-treat. Dehydrate at 135 F for 8-24 hours.
Perfect for desserts, meat dishes, pies, and sauces.
- How to Dehydrate Bananas
Peel and slice thinly. How thin is up you to, but 1/4" to 3/8" make fine chips. You can also cut the banana length-wise for banana sticks. 135 for 6-12 hours. Pre-treating isn't necessary, though I've seen recipes that suggest it.
Banana chips are a classic dried fruit snack.
- How to Dehydrate Basil
Dry basil leaves at 95 degrees for 1-3 hours.
- How to Dehydrate Blueberries
Remove the stems and dry for 12-24 hours at 135.
These go great in cereal, oatmeal, and baked goods. They're also a healthy substitute for movie popcorn. Blanching them first will give you another fine result.
- How to Dehydrate Butternut Squash
Remove the ends and slice into 3/8" slices. You can also grate it, which could be used in breads, dips, or soups. Dehydrate at 135 for 5-10 hours.
- How to Dehydrate Cabbage
Remove the core and shred. Steam blanch for two minutes. It should still be crisp. Dehydrate at 105 for 8-12 hours.
- How to Dehydrate Carrots
Peel and cut the ends. Slice into 3/8" to 1/4" inch slices. Steam blanch for two minutes before dehydrating. 135 for 6-12 hours.
Use the dried carrots in salads, soups, stews, or cakes. Here are more uses for dried carrots.
- How to Dehydrate Cherries
Remove the stems and pits. You can slice in half if you like. That'll speed things up a little. No pre-treatment needed. 135 for 8-24 hours.
Perfect for baked goods. You can also dehydrate cherries for a cherry-nut energy bar.
- How to Dehydrate Figs
Remove the stems and cut in half. Dry at 135 for 8-12 hours.
Besides snacking on them as is, try them in cakes, puddings, or cookies.
- How to Dehydrate Frozen Peas
Commercially frozen peas are typically blanched before freezing, so you don't need to do that at home. You can simply place the frozen peas on the dehydrator trays and start drying. 135 for 6-14 hours.
These are good as snacks, but also work nicely in soups and stews.
- How to Dehydrate Frozen Vegetables
Generally, frozen vegetables are blanched at the food factory. You can usually just move them from freezer to dehydrator and go. The nice thing about frozen packages is there's no need for any prep work.
- How to Dehydrate Garlic
Cut the clove in half, lengthwise. Then dehydrate at 95 degrees for 6-12 hours.
The finished product can be added to salt, butter, or oils. And, how about homemade garlic powder?
- How to Dehydrate Ginger
For drying ginger leaves, it's 95 degrees for 1-3 hours.
For drying the ginger root, you want to either slice thinly or grate. Dehydrate at 95 degrees for 2-6 hours.
- How to Dehydrate Grapes
Dehydrated grapes are raisins. Remove the stems and dry them whole. It'll take about a day, but you can blanch them before dehydrating, which will cut a few hours off the drying time.
Raisins are healthy snacks and can also be added to desserts and cereals.
- How to Dehydrate Green Beans
Remove the ends and cut into 1" pieces. Steam blanch for two minutes, then dry at 135 for 8-12 hours. You can cut these lengthwise too.
However you cut them, they'll make a nice garnish on soups and casseroles. Try Leather Breeches, a traditional southern recipe.
- How to Dehydrate Huckleberries
Leave these whole and dry for 12-24 hours.
- How to Dehydrate Jerky
Trim as much fat off the beef as you can. Slice thinly, about 1/4" thick. Marinate in Worcestershire, soy sauce, salt and pepper for 4 hours. Then dehydrate the beef strips at 145 degrees for 6-24 hours. Find out more on jerky here.
- How to Dehydrate Kiwi
Peel and slice. The slices should be 1/4" to 1/2" thick. Dry at 135 for 6-12 hours.
Eat dried kiwi chips as a standalone snack.
- How to Dehydrate Mangos
After removing the skin, slice the mango into 3/8" slices. You can use a mango slicer to make removing the pit a little easier. 135 for 6-18 hours.
Mango slices are an expensive snack when bought at store. Eat them plain. Or, if you cut them into small pieces, they're great to add to cereal, oatmeal, or trail mix.
Or, you can make a raw mango pie:
- How to Dehydrate Mushrooms
Depending on the mushroom, you may or may not cut them into or 1/4" slices. Some, like Matsutake and pine mushrooms, are suited for slicing. If you had a morel however, you'd cut it in half lengthwise. If it's really large, you can cut it again to make future storage and use easier.
Dry at 135 degrees for 4-8 hours. I've seen recipes that say you should dry at 90 for 2 hours and then finish at a higher temp. I prefer the "set it and forget it" nature of the single temperature recipe so I stick with that.
Drying is the best method of preserving mushrooms. They'll store for months, and using them is simple. Rehydrate them by soaking in warm water until soft. If you're using them in soups or stews, you can drop them in the pot without rehydration. You can try them in egg omelets, sandwiches, and pasta dishes.
Learn to dry mushrooms:
- How to Dehydrate Okra
Cut the okra into 1/4" pieces or slice lengthwise. No need to steam blanch Dry at 105 for 4-12 hours. You can give frozen okra a try and compare the results. You may find you like one over the other.
These are great as a standalone snack. They're a healthy, crunchy, and satisfying. You can also use them in soups, stews, or curries, and they will act as a thickening agent.
- How to Dehydrate Oranges and Other Citrus Fruits
You can leave the peel on, but peeling is fine too. Slice the fruit into 1/4" thick slices and lay flat in the dehydrator. Dry at 135 for 2-12 hours.
Eat them as is or use them in crafts or baking.
- How to Dehydrate Papaya
Remove the skin and seeds. Cut lengthwise, 1/2" thick. Pre-treat with ascorbic acid, citrus juice, or simple syrup. Dehydrate at 135 for 12-24 hours.
- How to Dehydrate Parsley
Dehydrate whole at 95 degrees for 1-3 hours.
Make it into a powder and/or use the leaves as flakes.
- How to Dehydrate Peaches
Peeling is optional with peaches. Cut into halves or quarters and pre-treat. Dry at 135 for 6-18 hours.
These are wonderful snacks that also work well in baked goods.
- How to Dehydrate Pears
Peel and core. Then slice the fruit into 3/8" pieces and pre-treat. Dry at 135 for 6-18 hours.
- How to Dehydrate Pineapple
Peel, core, and slice. Make the chips about 1/4" to 1/2" thick, and it'll take 6-12 hours at 135 degrees. You can use a pineapple slicer for perfectly even slices.
Dried pineapple chips are great to munch on or to add to desserts and granola.
- How to Dehydrate Plums
Cut the plums in halves or quarters. Remove the pit. Dry at 135 for 8-16 hours.
- How to Dehydrate Potatoes
Potatoes are a difficult item to dry because they turn black in the dehydrator. The way to prevent this is to blanch them (after slicing) for five minutes or longer. The slices should be about 3/8" thick. Dry at 135 for 6-12 hours.
You can use them in soups, stews, curries, casseroles.
- How to Dehydrate Raspberries
Dry the raspberries whole. No pre-treating needed. 135 for 12-24 hours.
- How to Dehydrate Strawberries
Cut the strawberries in half or make 1/2" thick slices. Dry at 135 for 6-12 hours.
Eat them out plain, or add them to cereal, oatmeal, or desserts.
- How to Dehydrate Sweet Potatoes and Yams
Peel and slice the sweet potatoes as thinly as possible. This is a recipe where a mandoline food slicer really comes in handy. Dehydrate at 135 for 6-12 hours. If you like, you can add salt and cinnamon before drying for added flavor.
Sweet potato chips are healthy substitute for store-bought, fatty, fried potato and corn chips.
- How to Dehydrate Thyme
Dry thyme leaves at 95 degrees for 1-3 hours.
- How to Dehydrate Tomatoes
You can dry tomatoes in a couple of ways. You can cut into 3/8" slices, or you can cut them in quarters. If you quarter them, you'll want to peel the tomatoes first.
Dried tomatoes can be used in many ways. Besides adding the dried pieces to soups and stews, you can use it to make tomato sauces and pastes. You can also then dehydrate the paste.
- How to Dehydrate Watermelon
You can dry any kind of melon easily. After removing the skin and seeds, slice the fruit into 1/2" thick pieces. Dry at 135 for 10-24 hours.
Eat the finished product like candy.