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I don't have a dehydrator but my counter top convection oven has a dehydrate setting. It doesn't let me change the temp setting. I just tested it and it is 180°F degrees. I need to dehydrate some red bell peppers for a Greek salad dressing recipe I really like that has feta cheese and olive oil as the major ingredients. I can't find any for sale any more so decided to dry them myself. When I did buy them they were pretty dry. What I want to know is how long should I wait before taking them out? How many hours? When I dry nuts that I have soaked in water, I usually do them for about 5 or 6 hours. What do you think? Thanks for taking the time to help me.
Hello Patsy - Thanks for taking time to write to us!
Veggies are best dehydrated at 125°F to 135°F which is what most home-dehydrators are built to work at for veggies (and fruit). However, in your case at 180°F, your peppers may dry out a little faster and the skins may crack.
Having said that, if you're putting the peppers in oil afterwards, the oil may plump them back up satisfactorily. I'd say, "give it a shot," and let us know how they turn out. As for how long? Anywhere from three to six hours, I'd say at a guess - but that is "just a guess." Good luck!
Patsy wrote back to say: I just finished dehydrating the red bell peppers in my counter top oven at the dehydrate setting of 180°F for 3 hours + 30 minutes. They were mostly done at 3 hours, but a small amount was stuck to the parchment paper so I pried them off and gave it all an extra 30 minutes just in case. So now they are in a glass jar with a folded paper napkin under just in case of any remaining moisture. Thanks for letting us know, Patsy!
PJ wrote in: I was looking at "sealing in mason jars" for dehydrated foods and I was wondering if I could just seal the jars with my seal-a-meal attachment for long-term food storage? I have done this without using the oxypacks and they are still sealed. How long could I keep this without using the oxypacks?
Hi PJ! You surely can use your seal-a-meal attachment if that was its intended use, i.e. to seal jars, airtight! You can expect to have dehydrated foods fare well from months – to even years – if they are dried properly. However, the use of oxygen absorbers is suggested due to their anti-bacterial growth properties, so I highly recommend using them. Have a look at Amazon, check our ads over on the right-hand side of the screen on the Oxygen Absorber page.
PJ, keep an eye on dried products, and rotate your stock. I have no sure-fire way to know how long your product will last. It depends on how germ-free they are after drying and handling, and that's also why I suggest using latex gloves to keep the oils from our hands from getting onto freshly dehydrated foods.
Misty posted: Do I need to move the outer ones (apricots) in periodically ... it seems the ones closest to the center are getting a little brown, there is no temperature setting on my dehydrator.
Hi Misty! Good question, and the answer is "yes"! When I get the outer ones drying faster, I too, move them to the center. Even if you did have a temperature setting, the outer ones tend to dry faster. Thank you very much for posting! Susan
Kimberly wrote in:
"How would I go about dehydrating fresh mint off of my mint plant?"
Hi Kimberly! Pick your mint leaves at peak flavor, just prior to flowering, early in the morning. Next, rinse them under clean cold water to remove soil, dust, bugs, etc. and pat dry. Spread them out on your dehydrator trays. Some people place herbs in between paper towels, to stop the herbs from flying around.
Herb drying temperatures should NOT exceed 90°F to 100°F, and will take between 20 - 24 hours for mint. Dry them alone, (i.e. not with fruits or veggies as they'll take on the herb's scent!) and finally store in glass containers, such as mason jars - in a cool, dark place.
Only powder the leaves when you're ready to use them!
Have you ever tried to dehydrate Okra? I would like to know if it is possible and how to do it.
Hi Jim! Okra is very easy, just trim off the ends, wash it, and slice into 1/4" thick slices. Dehydrate it until it's leathery - around four to eight hours! Thanks for contacting us!
Julie posted on FB: I've noticed in these posts that you talk about re-hydrating to use in recipes. What about dehydrating them for snacks? Would you need to season if you plan to use them that way? I bought some dehydrated green beans from the store the other day and they were very good and still looked like green beans. I would like to be able to make them like that.
Hi Julie! Absolutely you can dehydrate fruit and veggies for snacks: think banana chips! What you suggest is exactly what I would do but ONLY season items that you know you're going to be snacking on. Otherwise, leave 'em plain and make sure that, when bagged and dated, they're noted as such (i.e. plain)
Sarah wrote in: Hi, I only dehydrate fruits and veggies for a relatively short amount of time, maybe a month or two at the longest. The containers I use for storage are opened almost daily but I think I would benefit from using the oxygen absorbers because of the moisture. The containers I use are larger than a large mason jar. I'm going to switch to mason jars soon but until then what size should I use? Thanks :)
Hi Sarah, for the largest of your containers (which I assume are glass and air-tight), I would use a 300cc oxygen absorber. Check out our page on oxygen absorbers, and you'll see Amazon links over on the right that will take you to the oxygen absorbers at Amazon.
Ron posted on Facebook: What if an oxypack is not used?
Hi Ron! If you don't use an oxypack, it will eventually lose its effectiveness. When I open a new bag of absorbers, I take out what I need, then immediately re-seal the bag along with the "pill" that came with the order.
When that pink pill turns blue, you know that the oxygen absorber is no longer of any value. It means its already absorbed all the oxygen it can handle.
I hope this answers your question, Ron! See our oxygen packs page.
Rose posted via Facebook that she wanted to know how long do you need to dehydrate chicken breast that is sliced thin and cooked.
Hi Rose! It honestly doesn't take long, and don't forget, we're dehydrating meats on the higher temp setting of 160°F. As for the exact time, I can't tell you, due to how much water content your meat slices hold, and how thick/thin they are. Thanks for posting, Rose!