Exercise, patience and persistence are necessary to provide the best product and avoid harmful bacteria growth or spoilage.
1. Dry out food too slowly and gradually and it also turn into contaminated with harmful bacteria or spoil. If food is dehydrated too rapidly it is going to cook. Food dehydrators come with guidelines on how to operate the machine, temperature ranges and food drying out times. Temperature ranges differ but guidelines temperatures are listed below: meat and seafood, 150 degrees; vegetables and fruits, 140 degrees and herbs, 110 degrees.
2. Select a dehydrating technique. To dry food in the sun is tough and requires consistent temperature ranges of 100 degrees for 3 to 5 days with low moisture. Oven temperature ranges differ but it requires sustaining 200 degrees or below for many hours and this is not energy or time effective. Food dehydrators will be the most viable choice.
3. Find out what food items to dry. Good options are fruit, vegetables, herbs, meat, fish and bread. Food items that are very high in water like lettuce, cucumbers and melons will not dry properly. Potatoes are exciting to dry with sea salt to make into potato chips.
4. Do not choose rotted or bruised food, choose only fresh one. Use high quality food items that aren't stale or out of date. It is advisable to use food items as fast from the crop date as possible. It's essential to understand that dehydrated food items will not taste like fresh, frozen or canned food so know what you should expect.
5. Begin with a modest amount of food initially so that it won't get wasted throughout the learning curve. Exercise using the some time and temperature ranges to obtain the sense for the best food uniformity. Prepare the vegetables and fruits by cleaning, pitting, chopping, slicing, and blanching them. Keep pieces small, and similar in shape and size for faster cooking.
6. Marinate food items with spices or herbs just before drying. To maintain fresh fruit from lightly browning use a bath of fresh lemon juice for 5 minutes. For meats like beef make a jerky marinade. Marinating food takes more hours but adds a lot required taste to dehydrated food items. Marinate times will be different based on recipe.
7. Set up prepared food on cooking trays and dry out depending on the directions. Most food items have leather like uniformity and that is normal. Keep food properly. All food should be totally dry just before storing it to eliminate moisture content build-up. Use air-tight storage containers, jars or plastic-type storage bags to store the food.