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Nancy posted on the Facebook comments this question: "Why is there such a time-spread when dehydrating, 5-12 hours for tomatoes?"
Jill responded to Nancy with this: "Maybe because it also includes cherry tomatoes? Size variation is all I can think of ..."
So now it's my turn to comment: Hi Jill and Nancy! Thank you both for posting! The reason for such time variances is due in part to different tomato varieties and how big your pieces are cut. Also, we need to take into consideration the thermometer setting/accuracy of each person's dehydrator (some may be off a degree or two) and lastly, there's good old 'humidity'! It's very humid down here in FL so things take a little longer, but up in the 'drier' states, you'll experience a faster drying time. Hope that helps.
Bridget also posted this on Facebook comments: "How do you keep the fruit from sticking to the trays?"
Hi Bridget – That is the only downfall to dehydrating (sticky) fruits – when they are fully dried they shouldn't be too hard to remove from the trays.
Have you tried the Clean A Screen (Nesco) sheets yet?
They are a really good aid in the cleaning department inasmuch as they're easier to soak in the sink than having to put in the whole dehydrator tray!
Thanks for posting Bridget :-)
Rhiannon in N. Colorado wanted to say this about using plastic
wrap while making fruit rolls: I haven't tried this myself, but maybe
have the plastic wrap in large enough pieces so it overlaps each tray
and is pinned down when the trays are stacked?
Thanks for posting Rhiannon! I need to make sure that you all know that you MUST NOT cover the center hole (in a Nesco) with cling wrap, otherwise the AIR can't/won't be able to circulate! So, yes, you could cover the whole tray, tuck it over the sides, then stack it – AND THEN cut out the center hole!!! To be honest, the fruit roll sheets are NOT overly expensive, about six bucks for two! Go to the Nesco dehydrator page and on the right you'll see the Amazon.com ads and the fruit roll sheets.
Bryan posted this on FaceBook Comments 'Dehydrating Mushrooms' page: I've learned that frozen mushrooms don't work well at all. Don't make the mistake I did.
Hi Bryan, thanks very much for that info.!
I have purchased a NESCO dehydrator and FoodSaver vacuum sealer, but I'm still a little nervous about mold growing in food that I dehydrate, as I'm most interested in long-term room temperature storage. Is mold a problem and how long can fruits and vegetables safely be stored once dehydrated? Thank You So Much, Harry
Hi Harry! Thanks for taking time to write in to the site, appreciate it :-)
To address the mold issue: in my opinion, mold usually grows where water is present. We are dehydrating our fruits, veggies, and meats - thereby removing the water ... so that should take care of the mold thoughts/issue.
Don't forget to add the oxypack, as that really
helps prevent mold growth and eliminates the need for BHA, BHT,
sorbates, and other additives.
So long as you follow the instructions, and keep 'dirty' hands off your foods while prepping them, you should be 'good to go'! :-)
The best place to store your foods for long-term storage is inside an air-conditioned space.
The garage would honestly be my least favorite spot. Try to find some room in an under-used clothes closet – that works great!
Or do what I did –
gave up a wall in my back sitting room/office and dedicated that to an
off-the-shelf closet organizer set-up, then covered the whole thing with
curtains! See this page.
and vegetables can be stored for 3 months (or more) in an
air-conditioned room when properly dehydrated and vacuum sealed.
However, I STRONGLY recommend checking/rotating your stock on a monthly
basis. This way, you'll be able to check for any punctured bags (it
happens when they are crammed together too tightly). The punctured bags
will feel squishy/soft – not stiff like when they are freshly
dehydrated. To be totally safe, discard the punctured bag and its
contents. Better safe than sorry!
For safe storage of (cooked) dehydrated meats, after vacuuming packing, is the freezer. Dehydrated meat can be stored for six months safely that way. UNrefrigerated dehydrated meats in an air-conditioned space: 1 month, or 2 tops.
Elaine asks: I have lots of kale. Can I dehydrate kale?
Hi Elaine! Yes, you can dehydrate Kale. Follow the same directions on our 'dehydrating cabbage' page! It'll get quite brittle, but that's normal. Let us know how you get on with it! Cheers, Susan :-)
Susan – I just bought a dehydrator and have had no luck
re-hydrating green beans. I tried soaking them overnight in cold water
and I tried steaming them in a rice cooker. Neither method worked. The
beans just remained shrunken and tough. Do they need to be boiled to
Hi Carol – sorry to hear your beans didn't want to re-hydrate so well. Sometimes, dried veggies CAN take a while to re-absorb the water they lost through the dehydrating process. If you've got any more beans left over, why not try another batch and let them sit even longer than your first test. But before I go, you did blanch them first, right? That takes away a lot of the toughness you've experienced. Thanks for posting, Susan :-)
Anita from Snelling, California writes: I have tried on several occasions to dehydrate and rehydrate food and it never comes back and there is no flavor. Please help!
Hi Anita, sorry to hear that your food isn't as flavorful. All we're extracting is the water ... but, having said that – dehydrated veggies make great soups etc, try adding more flavor by using stock such as "Better Than Bouillon" by Superior Touch – I use their stock faithfully! Cheers, Susan
Angie says: Now see, I didn't know dried foods *got* rehydrated! And I couldn't stand the thought of chewing forever on gummy anything. This makes a BIG difference! If I can, I'll find a dehydrator and not-waste every surplus jalapeno and banana pepper in the house; can you use a slow oven?
Hi Angie! Well now you know! LOL :-) If you mean using your oven on a low heat (as in a slow oven), then yes, you can. The handy thing with a real dehydrator though, are the trays that come with it – they're obviously suited to dehydrating food and not baking food! Cheers, Susan
Karen would like to know this: How long can you store dehydrated food for?
Hi Karen, when foods are properly dehydrated, and vacuum packed with an oxypack, they can last for a year or so. Keep your eye on the packages for any punctures caused by over-packing(!) and remember to rotate stock monthly! Thanks for posting! Susan
Bobbie wants to know this: Will this work the same for purple hull and butter beans?
Hi Bobbie – Purple Hull Peas and Butter Beans – a favorite Southern summer dish! Once they have turned purple, they dry out fast – so the sooner you can dehydrate them, the more flavor they will have (i.e. peak ripeness). That goes for all fruits and vegetables, by the way. Since I have not dehydrated either of these personally, give them a try and report back to us so we can share your findings with our visitors!
Please remember to re-hydrate thoroughly as you DO NOT want to break your teeth on hard peas/beans! Thanks for posting, Susan.
Wendy wanted to let us know this: You can also dehydrate cantaloupe ... It is wonderful and retains a lot of the cantaloupe flavor. My son likes it more than fresh cantaloupe. And if you over dry – it just makes super yummy cantaloupe chips!
Hi Wendy! Yes of course you can dehydrate cantaloupes too! Thanks for pointing that out –and I love your comment about them making yummy cantaloupe chips! Thanks for posting, and have a super day! Susan