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Stephanie posted this very important question on Facebook: "Is it OK to dehydrate raw meat?"
My rather long, drawn-out answer was: "Hi Stephanie, the only time it's OK to dehydrate raw meat is when you're making jerky. Please follow any and all jerky recipes that come with your dehydrator for best results. Dehydrating raw meat without the jerky seasonings (which cures the meat) is dangerous due to the low temperature of the dehydrating process (a low 160F compared to oven roasting at 350F for example) The low 160F would be a breeding ground for germs on raw meat without the curing process."
I have never dehydrated before, but can you do a mix of fruit/veggies? I don't want to store food, but mainly looking for new snacks/ healthy treats for my family.
Yes you can do a mix of fruit and veggies. Put them on separate trays, so that when one tray of fruit or veggies dries before the other, you just simply remove the tray!
Make sure you don't do onions and/or garlic with other items ... the odor will permeate the other fruits/veggies!
Thanks for posting.
Jennifer asked: "I was thinking of doing some fruit. Is lemon essential? My daughter is allergic to lemons. Is there something else that would get the same results?"
Hi Jennifer, an alternative to lemon juice is ascorbic acid. Not sure if that helps your problem or not, sorry to hear that your daughter is allergic to lemons ... How about dehydrating grapes instead to make raisins for her? They are very easy to do! Thanks for posting – Susan
Mary wrote in to ask: "How do you dehydrate citrus peel for baking?"
Hi Mary! Thanks for taking time to drop us a line. Make sure the peel/rind are clean, then cut away any of the white pith. Cut into slices or pull apart into similar sized pieces (this aids in drying evenly). Place on your dehydrator tray at the "fruit" setting (125°F to 135°F) and dehydrate until dry. Then grind the dried rinds or use a pestle and mortar if you have one. Store in air-tight jars with an oxypack for weekly use, or use the vacuum sealer bags with an oxypack tucked in it/them for long-term storage.
I am trying to make my own sweet snacks and need some help. I make my own yogurt, and yogurt cheese and would love to dry it with natural flavors, any confectionery with less sugar would be a treat. Raymond in Australia.
Hi Raymond! Greetings to you from central Florida. Thanks for writing in. Have you considered making fruit rolls/leathers? Check out this page on our site: Dehydrating Fruit Rolls.
Regarding your yogurts, I would dehydrate them in blobs on the solid sheets (or plastic wrap). If you're going the plastic wrap route and you use a round dehydrator, make sure the center hole isn't covered with the wrap so that the air can circulate throughout the dehydrator.
Have you considered using Stevia instead of real sugar in your recipes?
But getting back to my suggestion of the fruit rolls/leathers – they're easy to make, contain natural sugars which are converted easily into energy. What we must do is reduce our fat intake so that the blood can use the sugars, as it was designed to do.
Kelly asks this, regarding garlic:
How long can you store this after dehydration?
Hi Kelly! You can store garlic a very long time; I keep a small amount in a small mason jar for daily/weekly use.
Best way is to keep an eye on whatever you seal (for bag punctures) and/or any molding that may have occurred (due to a puncture) ... that's why I like to rotate my stock every three months or so.
Thanks for posting!
Have a super day.
Barbara posted: Have you ever dehydrated grated zucchini for using in zucchini bread?
Hi Barbara - thanks for posting! Yes, zucchini after it's re-hydrated is super for zucchini bread! Have a super day! Susan
Paula wrote in with this good question: Can old sauce jars, pickle jars etc. be sealed with the food saver sealer? They are filled with dehydrated foods, not liquid, or meats. I saw a video on it once and can't find it again.
Thanks for writing in. It appears to me that you can probably only use mason jars, and not "regular" jars with screw on lids ... because, as you may know, canning lids for mason jars are in two pieces: the outer rim and a loose center part. You just put the center part first on the jar, and then vacuum out the air, and then screw on the outer rim. The first video (see the links below) is pretty good at explaining this.
this video link, above, shows "how" to do it ...
this link, above, shows how the guy has his blue rubber seal situated (in his vacuum sealer white jar gadget).
It looks like you can only really vacuum the air out of jars that have the special two-part jar lids, like mason jars.
I then came across this information from a lady named Carol: "You don't need canning jars, but you do need jars that accommodate canning lids. Make sure the jar rim is clean and dry. What you need to do is put the lids in hot water to soften the sealing compound just as if you were canning, then dry them, put them on the jar, apply the sealing attachment with the hose hooked in on the other end to the port on the machine. Then seal as usual. You don't need the ring. There are some differences from model to model. The lids can be re-used (warmed and dried then applied) as long as the compound doesn't get brittle – Carol"
Ronda contacted us with this question: You say to rotate the trays during the dehydration process.
How often do you do it? Once every
hour, every two?
Hi Ronda, Thanks for taking time to write in. You only need to rotate your trays when items nearest the fan have noticeably dried out compared to items farthest away from the fan.
You're not far out with your suggestion of hourly, or even two hourly checks though!
Ruth wants to know "How do I know the amount of time I need to leave the fruits, vegetables, and meat in the dehydrating process?
Hi Ruth. This question has no exact answer unfortunately. On each of the fruits and veggies listed in this site, I have a paragraph in each page that says what your dried product should be like when it's ready to pack away, i.e. leathery, crisp, pliable. Depending on where you live (humidity, altitude) you can expect the process to take from a couple of hours – to even overnight. So just follow the recommendations either on this site, on in your food dehydrator's operator manual. Thanks for taking time to write in.