Dehydrating food in convection ovens is an oft-asked question. And if you’re just starting out and don’t want to splurge on a dehydrator AND you already have a convection oven, then we say “give it a try!”
For those of you with a convection oven that uses a fan for air circulation, you’re almost ready to go. One thing you need to check with your convection oven is that the temperature can be set below 200° F as our fruits and vegetables are dehydrated at 125°F to 135° F degree range. Any hotter than that range and you’ll be likely to cook, rather than dehydrate, your fruits and vegetables.
To dehydrate food properly and get consistent results, you do need to have good air circulation. With a regular oven, be it your every-day electric or gas oven - or a convection oven - people often leave the oven door slightly ajar in an effort to create air circulation.
This will obviously result in keeping an eye on your oven temperature so you’ll need to have a thermometer in there to make sure you’re dehydrating your foods at an even temperature. Again, too hot and you’ll be cooking your food. Too cool means you’ll spend hours more drying it out.
The oven rack space and number of racks available in your convection oven is limited, usually to two. Plus, the rack's bars are spaced too far apart - thus resulting in the likelihood of your food falling down to the bottom of the oven! Remember, when you’re dehydrating food, it SHRINKS. A lot!
Honestly, maybe it’s just time to bite the bullet and get one of these starter model dehydrators. I have both the Excalibur and Nesco starter brand dehydrators and both work just fine. Neither one of them cost a fortune either!
Check out these Excalibur and Nesco dehydrator ads on Amazon, below:
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Consider this: Dehydrators built for the job of drying food will cost less to run as compared to running your convection oven. Plus, with a real dehydrator, you have many stack-able trays/shelves that have the proper spacing and not just one (or two) solitary oven racks.
Again, if you’re just starting out with dehydrating food, please pick up our free eBook called, “Six Simple Steps.” In the free eBook you’ll learn the necessary steps to dehydrate food safely, at home.