October 30, 2016 UPDATE
Printable PDF file now included by popular request.
Information for these charts was adapted from Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook, The: The Complete Guide to Drying Food, Plus 398 Recipes, Including Making Jerky, Fruit Leather & Just-Add-Water Meals by Tammy Gangloff, Steven Gangloff, and September Ferguson and my own research.
Fruit & Vegetable Powders. In the charts I created, I have listed which method worked for me for the various produce, but please feel free to choose whichever makes you most comfortable. I will be explaining the various methods in How to Make Fruit & Vegetable Powders.
*Pretreating. Pretreating selected produce prior to drying is highly recommended. Pretreating helps keep light-colored fruits from darkening during drying and storage and it speeds the drying of fruits with tough skins, such as grapes and cherries. Research studies have shown that pretreating with an acidic solution or sodium metabisulfite dip also enhances the destruction of potentially harmful bacteria during drying, including Escherichia coli, Salmonella species, and Listeria monocytogenes. Several methods can be used.
Citric Acid or Lemon Juice Pretreatment. Citric acid or lemon juice may also be used as anti-darkening and anti-microbial pretreatments. Prepare the citric acid solution by stirring 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of citric acid into one quart (1000 milliliters) of cold water. For the lemon juice solution, mix equal parts of lemon juice and cold water (i.e., 1 cup lemon juice and 1 cup water). Cut the peeled fruit directly into the citric acid or lemon juice solution. Allow to soak 10 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon, drain well and dehydrate. Citric acid is often available in the canning section of the grocery store.
I use a Misto® Sprayer Bottle. I fill it up the with bottled lemon juice and spray the produce as I am loading the trays. This works especially well with soft fruits like bananas that would otherwise fall apart with soaking.
Ascorbic Acid Pretreatment. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is an antioxidant that keeps fruit from darkening and enhances destruction of bacteria during drying. Pure crystals usually are available at supermarkets and drug stores. Stir 2-1/2 tablespoons (34 grams) of pure ascorbic acid crystals into one quart (1000 milliliters) of cold water. (For smaller batches prepare a solution using 3-3/4 teaspoons (17 grams) of pure ascorbic acid crystals per 2 cups (500 milliliters) of cold water.)
Vitamin C tablets can also be crushed and used (six 500 milligram tablets equal 1 teaspoon (4.5 grams) ascorbic acid). One quart of solution treats about 10 quarts of cut fruit. Cut peeled fruit directly into ascorbic acid solution. Soak for 10 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon, drain well and dehydrate. Commercial antioxidant mixtures are not as effective as ascorbic acid but are more readily available in grocery stores. Follow directions on the container for fresh cut fruit.
Drying Times. Drying time depends on several factors:
- Thick or Thin Slices – the thinner the slice of item being dried, the quicker the drying time.
- Temperature – The lower the temperature- the longer the drying time. When dehydrating fruits, vegetables and nuts, I recommend dehydrating at 125 degrees to preserve enzymes and nutrients.
- Humidity – the higher the humidity, the longer the drying time
- Water content – the higher the water (liquid) content of the item being dehydrated, the longer the drying time.
- Crispiness – some people like their dehydrated items still a bit soft, while others like it “crunchy or crispy”.. If you want it more crunchy-crispy, it will increase the time it takes to dry all the water out.
- The brand and model of your dehydrator – different models have different drying times depending on the wattage and other variables of the unit itself.
- Product – The product being dehydrated also will dictate how long it takes to dry.
Chart 1-Apples to Chili Peppers
Chart 2-Cipollini Onions to Leeks
Chart 3-Lemon Peels to Rhubarb
Chart 4-Rice to Zucchini
To print your own set of charts, click here: Dehydrator Information Charts.
Dehydrating with a Purpose—What To Do with All That Food! (Part 1 of the series, Learning to Cook with Dehydrated Foods)
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