Logging your dehydrating sessions gives you information to use for future batches.
Here are 2 methods for you to choose from.
When I really started dehydrating on a regular basis I found I was needing some kind of a record of what I had done. To keep track of how long my foods took to process as well as any other data I was collecting about the various batches just seemed like a smart thing to do to remember what results I had from my “experiments”. So I created a Journal, a simple composition notebook detailing my dehydrating experiences. It has proven invaluable to me.
Keep a logbook with detailed notes so you can replicate your successes and avoid repeating failures. This way you always have something to refer to as you build your dehydrating inventory.
I have put together two methods for you. Of course, you are welcome to extrapolate from these and develop your own system too.
Method #1: Quick and Easy
This is the method I have used for my Journal. A pen and a $1.00 Composition notebook from the Dollar Tree is all you need to get going to record your dehydrating batches. It is quick, cheap, and painless because you can keep your journal by your dehydrator and record as you go.
Step 1: I label the front “Dehydrator Journal” and put the dates it is referring on the cover. Then I label the spine because I also use these composition notebooks for other things in my kitchen, so have a number of them.
Step 2: I then tape my quick reference sheets to the front and back inside covers so that I can see the information at a glance. These two charts contain information on:
- Dehydrating Temperatures for the different kinds of foods,
- Liquid, Volume, Herbs, & Spices measurements and conversions,
- Foods needing Acid Dip Pretreatments,
- And foods needing Blanching/Steaming Pretreatments.
I have provided a Printable PDF file for your use that you may print out and tape or paste to your own Dehydrator Journal. Just cut on the outside lines and attach: Dehydrating Reference Chart-Composition.
Step 3: Label your first page with the food you are dehydrating. In my example, you can see I have labelled the page “Lemons”.
Then I fill in my information as I go along in the process of dehydrating my lemons. The categories I use are:
- Date Processed
- Fresh Produce Details (Weight, Origin, Other Information)
- Weather/Humidity/ Other prevailing conditions
- Pretreatment (soaking, acid dip, blanching info)
- Trays used (roll up, mesh, bare trays, etc.)
- Dehydrator Temperature
- Total time to dried state
- End product weight/amount
- Comments/Additional Information
Step 4: I attach any pictures I may want to include on the page, such as with the lemons processed above, I added a picture to show the darkening I got with this batch.
Step 5: I leave a few pages blank after this entry so that I can continue my Lemon batches all together to easily find it the next time and refer to my notes.
That’s all there is to it; a quick way to have a book with all your information at your fingertips.
Method #2: Printed Loose-Leaf Binder
There are a few drawbacks to using Method #1. You cannot switch around pages or categorize your binder. You cannot take out and add pages. You may decide you would like a more formal look to your Journal with expandable sections. In this case using a loose-leaf, three-ring binder is your best bet. I have designed the components of a 3-ring binder Journal for you to use.
Step 1: Purchase a 3-ring binder and make a front cover, back cover and spine for it. Here is a ready-made printable you can use if you choose: 3 Ring Full Cover (3 pgs).pdf.
Step 2: Purchase Index Tab Dividers to label your sections. You can label them with the categories (Fruit, Vegetables, Herbs & Spices, Meats, etc.) or you can go all out and label each individual food (lemons, tomatoes, mushrooms, jerky, etc.), whichever you find most accessible to your dehydrating needs.
Step 3: Print off the Dehydrating Information Sheets1.pdf we have provided for you or make your own design. Fill your sections with these sheets so you are ready for your next dehydrating session.
And you are done!
Setting up a Journal is not hard and will reap many returns for your dehydrating needs.
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