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Hi Mrs. Susan, I had been wondering when you dry out the oranges can you throw them in a blender and add sugar and make a citrus drink mix like this that would be pretty close to instant?

Hi Eddie, it sounds like a plan to me! Try it out and write back and let us know how good it was! Thanks for posting – Cheers, (Mrs) Susan :-)

Mary Kay posted on Facebook this great question:

Can you use those sheets of little squares that you can buy in craft stores? I think they are meant for sewing projects?

Hi Mary Kay, regarding the plastic sewing squares ... they may be made out a different kind of plastic that might emit (nasty) fumes under heat.

So, my take on it is – probably not a good idea.

Thanks for taking time to post, and Happy Holidays to you and yours!

I am researching ways to prepare pouch meals for my deployed son who is mainly eating what people send him as he is housed a mile from the mess hall. He does not want all the preservatives in micro meals or canned soups and stews. Plus they are bulky to ship. Researching dehydrating foods and wondering if dehydrated lunch meat like roast beef would do ok with 8 to 10 days shipping ... he has access to an apt. size fridge and a microwave. Thanks, Lucy.

That is an EXCELLENT idea. First of all, I would check postal regulations regarding shipping meat abroad, be it dehydrated, canned, or fresh. Once that hurdle is cleared and you've got the green light to ship dehydrated beef, I would make sure that you vacuum seal the beef with a FoodSaver machine (include an oxy pack before sealing) and the wrap the pouches in cling wrap (to stop sharp corners puncturing other packages).

Then bubble-wrap the whole thing. Then box it up and ship it.
All your son needs to do "at his end" is re-hydrate it. Please bear in mind that the meat will NOT be as tender as fresh-cooked meat; it may even be a little chewy - but you and he can rest assured that there are no preservatives lurking in the meat!

The whole deal with dehydrating food is to keep water out – food has three enemies: moisture, light, and air. Keep those three at bay and food lasts much longer.

Thanks for taking time to write, Lucy!

When making two different flavors of jerky should we use the solid tray liners to separate them?  Will the two different flavors mix with each other during dehydration?

That's a really good question, Deann. Separating them with solid trays won't do the job of keeping the different odors/aromas from each other, so I would suggest doing two separate batches. More of a fuss, I know, but if it really matters to you not to have intermingled flavors, then that's the only way, I think! Thanks for taking time to write in, Deann.

Donna posted on Facebook: I just made these (carrots) and they shrunk down a lot smaller than the pictures.

I mean really tiny. I did let them run for 16 hours. Hope I didn't hurt them.

Now that they're done I wonder if I'm supposed to let them sit before putting them in a mason jar with a oxygen absorber?

Hi Donna! Yes, they do get very small! Let them sit in a zip lock bag on your counter-top overnight. 

This is called "conditioning". Then you can vacuum seal them with an oxygen absorber tucked in the vacuum-sealer bag the day after.

Thanks for posting!

Easy Food Dehydrating & Safe Food Storage

I came to your site looking for recipes for dehydrated dog biscuits.  I couldn't find any.  Do you have some?  I dehydrate chicken and liver all the time for the dogs.  Mine, unfortunately, is EXTREMELY fussy.  He LOVES liver, though.  I know too much is very bad for dogs.  I was looking for a recipe using liver for flavor but not containing too much liver.  Any suggestions?

Hi there Marie! Here's a link to our dog food recipe (my Min Pin LOVES it!) and I then dehydrate the food into doggie biscuits! I have no liver recipes, though there's nothing stopping you from substituting the chicken for the liver (I assume).

Thanks for taking time to write in, appreciate it!

When drying celery, can we dust with a seasoning?

Hi Maxine, if the celery stays a little damp while dusting then maybe the seasonings will stick - or else the fan from the dehydrator may blow the seasoning off. If you do successfully season your celery, mark on the bag that they are seasoned, after dehydrating. However, I don't think you'll be wanting to eat dehydrated celery on its own - so I'd say honestly to "not season", and just season the celery while you're re-hydrating it. Hope that helps!

Linda in Wisconsin wrote in to ask: "What do you mean by rotating shelves? And how often do you rotate them?"

Thanks for contacting us, Linda. Most dehydrators such as Nesco and Excalibur for home use contain shelves, or trays, in the case of square Excalibur dehydrators. You pull the shelves/trays out to add your food.

The round Nesco-style dehydrators have stackable trays. In the case of round stackable trays, I would take the bottom one and put it on the top, and cycle them around during the whole drying time.

For square dehydrators with the trays accessible from the side/front, I take out the trays and rotate them 180 degrees so the back is at the front and move the bottom one to the top, just like the round trays, only the round trays don't need rotating!

Why do all this? Well, no matter what the makers of said dehydrators claim, the fan always dries out the items closest to it, so I always rotate the trays because I like my foods to be ready at the same time - that way I can condition the food at the same time too instead of in batches.

Hope this helps!

Hi Susan,
I made my first attempt at dehydrating with onions to make homemade onion powder. Now I don't know where I went wrong but after three days of dehydrating the onions never got crispy they turned into brown and black little rings of rubber. I followed the directions step by step. My dehydrator is Durabrand.

Hi Courtney ... it certainly shouldn't take three days to dehydrate onions ... :-) but it's not a laughing matter, I know! Try this: put a thermometer in your dehydrator and check that the temperature settings do indeed match up – it seems like your dehydrator probably wasn't hot enough to dry out the onions! Let us know what you find out.

Bertha posted to the site: Hello Susan - how long can you store long term foods and is seal a meal OK for getting the air out? I was told it wasn't. Thank you.

Hi Bertha! Properly dehydrated food that is stored with an oxypack can last for 2 years (or more) – other people claim decades, but I'd rather err on the side of caution. Just remember to rotate your stock. The Rival Seal-a-Meal isn't what I use, but it looks like it does the same job as the FoodSaver brand I use – I guess you could read the reviews on Amazon for both products if you don't already own a food vacuum sealer. Thanks very much for taking time to post! :-)

Jaime from Adamson University, Manila, Philippines posted on Facebook this question:

What is the conversion eg. 10 kg of fresh onions = how many dried onions?

Hi Jaime!

Thanks for posting. I don't have any conversion tables, I just simply take a couple of onions, peel and slice or dice them and then dehydrate them. You'll be surprised how far a couple of onions will go - also - remember to run a fan to extract the odor as it gets very strong!

Maria posted on Facebook: When done (bananas) they were not dried. The outside of them were crunchy but the center was still moist. Is this normal, or did I mess them up?

Hi Maria - bananas usually are a little leathery when dried, so I think that they have just not been dried long enough. Remember, the longer you let bananas ripen, the more sugars you have that are used very well by our bodies as energy. People make the mistake of eating bananas "too early" when they contain a lot of starch. I wonder if you may have dehydrated them at the "early" stage and that's why the outer edges were crisp and the inner part were still moist? Try dehydrating your bananas when the skin is very speckly and let us know how you fared!

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