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FAQ page 17

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Hi! I dehydrated lots of celery, carrots, and turnips. I put some in homemade stock the other day to make a simple veggie soup. I just heated it up slowly until the veggies were re-hydrated. Ugh, it was sooooooo sweet!!! Inedible really.  Do you know what I need to do differently? - Carole.

Hi Carole – thanks for taking time to write in.

When veggies (and fruit) are picked at the peak of ripeness, and that *is* the best time to dehydrate them, *but* that is the time they contain the most sugar!

So, next time, try re-hydrating the veggies first in PLAIN water (good drinking water, or distilled water) and then dumping that water when the veggies are fully re-hydrated, then cook in your stock as you did previously.

This may remove excess sugars.  I hope this helps!

Karen posted on Facebook: I was wanting to dehydrate soy beans (edamame)... will they dehydrate well? Then be good to eat dry as well as re-hydrated?

Hi Karen! Steam the beans first for about five minutes, then dehydrate. You can either re-hydrate them – or – eat them as a snack roasted. Toss in olive oil and salt and pepper and roast for about 15 minutes in a 400°F oven. Turn the beans over during roasting so they don't burn! Either eat warm, or cold. You can also add other spices that you like while at the "tossing in the oil" stage. Thanks for posting!

Elaine wrote in to say:
Hi there hope you can help me. I'm just about to dehydrate for the first time and my question is; if I store dehydrated food in mason jars with oxygen packs, how often can I open the jar or do I need to use new pack every time? Many Thanks

Hi Elaine! You can open the mason jars as many times as necessary without having to replace the oxygen absorber every single time. What I do is when I cannot hear the "pop" when the lid is removed, I then fish out the old oxypack and put in a new one after I've taken the quantity of jarred food that I needed for my recipe. The "pop" happens when a vacuum is created (and that's what we want to hear happen!) How long an oxypack will last depends on the quantity and total dryness of the food stored, and, of course, how many times you go to the jar!

Thanks for taking time to write in, appreciate it!

I dehydrated pears for approx. 12 hr.. There are some that are slightly soft. Can I vacuum seal them or do they need to have "all" the moisture out?

Hi Jennifer!

Remove the 'dried enough' pears and put in a Ziploc bag for conditioning (let them cool a bit first), then for the 'soft' pears, leave those on the dehydrator until they have reached the same dryness as the other pears. Note: for the round dehydrators, not only do I rotate the trays, I rotate the stock on the trays, i.e. move the center ones to the outer edges - the items on the outer edges tend to dry out faster.

In the case of the square dehydrators with a fan at the back, the items nearest the fan will dry out too.

You haven't done anything wrong; it's just a case of taking off the items that *are* dry enough, put them in a Ziploc bag after they've cooled - for the conditioning process - and then put them all in your mason jars/or vacuum seal them with oxypacks, and you're good to go!

Easy Food Dehydrating & Safe Food Storage

Sue posted on Facebook: Why do my blueberries and cranberries get hard and hollow?

Hi Sue! That means that your dehydrator is doing its job! The excess water has been removed. Your dehydrator manual should also suggest (as does this site on the respective fruit/veg pages) how long to dehydrate your fruits/veggies, and what state (hardness, softness) they'll end up when fully dehydrated. Thanks for posting!

I dehydrated lovely lemons and vacuum sealed them. Then after 6 months every jar had smelly black lemons. They were so nice when I first packed them. What could I have done wrong?

Hello FJ, so sorry to hear about your "black" lemons! Black is a sign of "oxidation" which leads me to believe that either the fruit was not completely dry when you packed it away.

If you put the lemons in mason jars, did you use an oxygen absorber pack?
See this link: Oxygen Absorbers

If/when you put the lemons in vacuum sealed bags, then you still need to add an oxygen absorber. Also, if you used bags, sometimes sharp pointy foods CAN puncture the bags, letting air in. Remember, when dehydrating foods, we need to keep out the three enemies:

1) water
2) air
3) light

Any of those three items can compromise your dehydrating efforts.

I hope this helped. Remember to dry your foods and condition them. See this link for conditioning. Conditioning lets any moisture circulate in the Ziploc bag and distributes it. If, after conditioning your foods still seem 'damp', then by all means put them back on the dehydrator for an hour or so, then condition them again. I know this sounds (as is) a lot of work, but we'll all be thankful that we have food on hand, should the US default on its debt and we have to face a couple of weeks or months until things get back to 'normal' – whatever 'normal' is.

Thanks for writing FJ!

Hi ... I love your site ... and am going to start dehydrating sweet potato fries treats for my puppy ... but don't have a dehydrator but have read that I can use the oven @ approx 135 for 6 to 14 hours ... is this true? Thanks for your help.

Hi Kelly, first of all, thanks for the kind words regarding our site! If you found the sweet potato fries/d treats for your puppy on a reputable site that stated the oven temp and for "how long", then I'd say go ahead and try it! Let us know how they turn out!  (I'm not sure where the "fries/fried" part comes in?)

Karrie posted this question: Can you dehydrate squash without boiling it?

Hi Karrie! The squash isn't boiled, it's just steamed (to retain color). You can dehydrate squash without steaming – I've done it (to save time) and it works just fine for me! Thanks for posting.

Julie from Twin Falls, Idaho, posted on Facebook this question: Is it possible to dehydrate homemade cream of broccoli soup (with lots of cheese in it)?

Hi Julie! First, thanks for posting. I'd never say "never" so give it a try! Use fruit roll-up sheets (or saran wrap, leave center hole open if using a Nesco-type dehydrator) and give it a shot! Follow the fruit roll up tips for spreading out!

I found some dehydrated beef at local market and on a whim I bought some but I am not really sure what to do with it. Any ideas?

Hi Allyson! Try putting the beef in our beef stew recipe and let us know how it turned out for you! Thanks for posting and have a SUPER day!

Great site, thanks!

Can I put something on the tray to stop the dried celery from falling thru the tray holes?

Hi Debbie – how about using larger slices to start with?

Maybe using the solid 'fruit roll' sheets – bearing in mind that it will take longer to dry when using the solid sheets.

I love watching celery perk back up when re-hydrating – like tiny seahorses!

Thanks for posting!

If you dehydrate seeds will they grow when planted? I've always just let mine dry naturally and planted next season. Was wondering if dehydrating them would work so I can store more without losing them due to molds etc?

Hi Kellie!  Thanks for contacting us. That's a really good question. I also think it's a really great idea, but I think the seeds may get cooked and that would "kill" them. Let them air dry as you already do, and then you can vacuum seal them too.

You could always contact your local county extension service where they'll be able to give you a yes or no regarding dehydrating seeds.

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Keep YOUR Food Pantry FULL!

Learn how to keep a full pantry –
for any reason or season!

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