Checking Your Dehydrator’s Temperature

It is a good idea to periodically check your dehydrator temperatures.

For dehydrators that are giving inconsistent processing results, bought used, or that you have just had for awhile, testing can provide you with the assurance that your dehydrator is running at accurate heating temperatures.

Also, for anyone who has a unit that does not have a variable temperature control, I suggest running this test so that you know what you are working with and can process your foods safely.

This test is easily done with just a dial-stem thermometer. Do not rely on the dehydrator’s temperature settings.

To determine the true temperature of the dehydrator, perform this procedure when it is turned on, but while empty.

  1. Determine your dehydrator’s drying temperature using a dial-stem thermometer (pictured) as follows:
  • For a horizontal air‐flow dehydrator (like Excalibur), place the thermometer inside the unit and close the door.
  • For a vertical air‐flow dehydrator (like Nesco), stack 4 trays on the base and place the thermometer between the top 2 trays such that the dial is sticking out between the shelves.
  1. Turn the dehydrator on to its maximum setting. Record the temperature once it has stabilized.

Do not test the temperature when the dehydrator has product in it. Evaporative cooling occurs as the product loses moisture and this will give you an inaccurate temperature reading.

It is best to use only dehydrators with temperature control. Do not use dehydrators with factory preset temperature that can’t be controlled. Research at the University of Wisconsin‐Madison Extension (published 2008) has shown that dehydrators with factory‐set temperatures that can’t be adjusted do not reliably produce a safe product and are not recommended.

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