Cleaning Your Produce for Dehydration

Preparing Fruits & Vegetables for Dehydration

It is important to clean ALL produce before dehydrating, even organic produce straight from your garden. Organic farms go to great lengths to keep produce safe, but consider the man in the grocery store who has to touch every single apple before he selects one.

Even organic farms with carefully controlled conditions can’t assure that produce won’t be contaminated in transit or in stores. Even produce from your garden should undergo a wash. The risk of contaminants in processed soil and manure is low but not nil, and municipal water can contain harmful elements. Unless you’re confident in your soil quality and you’re using drinking water to irrigate your garden, it’s still a good idea to wash before you eat. In addition, egg larvae can hide in your soil and contaminate your produce.

You should wash all fruits and vegetables before you cut into them. Cutting through the skin transfers any residue and bacteria from the outside into the food you are cutting.

Vinegar is used to remove wax, some pesticides, and bacteria from your fresh produce. Fungi and bacteria is effectively removed from these fresh products by using vinegar, but the effectiveness of the vinegar depends on which bacterium and/or fungus is on (or suspected to be on) the fruit or vegetable, the acidity of the vinegar, the temperature of the water, and the amount of time the produce is exposed to the vinegar.

Botulism-the bacterial spores which cause it are common in both soil and ground water. They produce the botulinum toxin when exposed to low oxygen levels and certain temperatures. Food-borne botulism happens when improperly cleaned and stored food containing this toxin is eaten.

To Wash Your Produce, Follow These Quick Steps

  1. Remember to thoroughly wash your sink before soaking your produce.
  2. Try to get the water temperature as close to that of the fruit or vegetable that you wish to clean. When you have a variety of fruits and vegetables, it might be best to wash these separately.
  3. Any basic 5% acidic vinegar will do. Adding 3 parts warm water to 1 part vinegar is most effective.
  4. Place your veggies or fruit in the solution, soak, and rinse thoroughly.
  5. A soak of 5 to 10 minutes should be enough.
  6. Rinse fruit and vegetables thoroughly under cool running water, rubbing your fingers over the skin to dislodge any debris. Use a vegetables brush when rinsing if you have one, particularly when cleaning food with wrinkles or crevices.


  • Do not rinse meat.
  • Use these handy Dehydrator Charts to find your produce to safely dehydrate it.
  • To prepare your food for dehydration, check out these tips and tricks.

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