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Why do you have to vacuum seal your food first before putting in mylar bags? Would it be ok to skip that step and just put food in the mylar bag with an O2 absorber? Thanks for any help.

Hello Cathy, thanks for taking time to write in.

There are three enemies to the longevity of food: air, light, and moisture. To eliminate the first and last one, we first of all dehydrate the food (remove moisture). Secondly we vacuum-seal the food (to remove the air). It's at the vacuum-seal stage that we add the oxygen absorber to make sure that any oxygen remaining in the vacuum-sealed bag is, well, absorbed!

The "light" part of the equation is taken care of by the Mylar bags. Not only do they keep out sunlight, they are pretty darned tough to boot. I hope this answers your question, and again, thanks for writing in!

I have been reading about bacteria that can grow in canned and dehydrated food that is deadly! 

I am new to canning and preserving food so I am terrified that I will mess up and get everyone sick!!

Any thoughts!!??

Hello again Amber - that's why we use the oxypacks to keep bacteria at bay. To be on the safe side, make sure your items are truly dehydrated (that's why I let my items sit for a day/overnight in a Ziploc bag – see "conditioning") - the day after really lets me know if they ARE fully dry – mushrooms can be a royal pain, for instance!

Also – another safeguard – rotate your stock every month ... don't have stuff sitting around for years ... that's only asking for trouble in my humble opinion ... but you are right to be concerned. Follow the guidelines above and you should be OK.

Notice I say "should" because no one can really guarantee anything in life!  Cheers, Susan

Pamela posted this to our Facebook page: I just bought a presto dehydrator. I want to know about dehydrating meats. I don't want to make jerky. Once meat has been dehydrated can they be re-hydrated for use? Like if i used some bbq flavored seasoning on some chicken and use some steam to rehydrate and then eat.

Hi Pamela, check out our "meat" links at the website. We cover beef, chicken, and turkey. I think you'll probably need more than just steam to re-hydrate, but I don't know for sure. There's one way to find out! Try it! If you add the liquid flavorings and boil that for the steam, well, that sounds interesting ... let us know how/if that works for you and we'll make sure to post it. Normally we re-hydrate meat simply by soaking it in either plain water (less tasty) or in chicken or beef stock (much more tasty!) Thanks for posting and have a super day!

I just watched your video on dehydrated cauliflower and wondered a few things. How long does it keep? Will it keep its nutrients?  Do I need to dry it in whole heads or can I dry it grated? Can I then make cauliflower rice from it or will it have lost its structure to do this?

Hi Lupus, thanks for taking time to write in.

I think your idea of dehydrating grated cauliflower to make cauliflower rice is fantastic! It should work just fine (disclaimer: I've never tried it) – AND it will take much less time to dehydrate if you grate it first! I honestly don't think it will lose its structure because cauliflower is pretty dense and fibrous. You will, however, have to dry it on the solid dehydrator sheets, or at the very least, use plastic wrap to stop the "rice" falling through the air vents – and as always, IF you're using a circular dehydrator, please don't cover up the center hole in the tray!

Please try it and write back (send pics if you like) and let us know how it turned out for you so we can share your findings with our readers!

As with all things dehydrated, please rotate your stock – many people say dehydrated food lasts for years, and they're probably right – but to repeat: rotate stock so that none is over six months old.

Regarding nutrients, yes, some nutrients are lost during the dehydrating cycle but I look at it this way, should the "stuff" hit the fan big time, it's better to have some food on hand than NO food on hand.

Hi, just got my food dehydrator in the mail.  I'm looking to dehydrate celery, peppers, onions, garlic etc.  Why is there no specific time for dehydration? I see 3-10 hours - that is a big gap.  How will I know when these items are done?  Thanks for any help you can provide.

Hi Linda, I know it seems like a huge window – but it does come down to how much water is in your vegetables/fruits to begin with, and your altitude – where you live in the country ... flat Florida, or high in the Colorado Rockies? Regarding when the items are done, you'll find the "done-ness" guide on the individual veggie or fruit's web page(s).

Thanks for taking time to write in!

PS – I did forget this: The relative humidity in your home also plays a part in the dehydrating time overall.

Hi ...

I am planning to dehydrate horseradish root in my oven for the first time but am worried the "heat" of the root that's released when cutting and cooking will also disappear when sliced and dehydrated in the oven at 115 degrees or less.

Do you have any experience with dehydrating HR root and how to maintain the hot factor?

Thanks for any comments back!

I've never dehydrated horseradish before, so I did a little hunting and came across another SBI site - so here's the link to Jo Ann's site called "Preserving Your Harvest" and her horseradish page.

Thanks for taking time to write in Graham!

Easy Food Dehydrating & Safe Food Storage

Is it possible to over dehydrate fruits and veggies?

Hi Kim, yes it is possible to over-dehydrate fruits and veggies ... but a lot depends on your personal preference. For instance, dehydrated banana slices ... some like them chewy, others like them brittle! My only caveat is when dehydrating for long-term storage is that you do remove as much water from the fruits and vegetables as possible. Air, light, and moisture are the three enemies!

Your website is amazing. Are Carrots dehydrated enough when they feel leathery, or should they feel hard or crispy after 16 hrs.?  – Joann in Washington

Hi Joann, thanks for taking time to post that on the site! Regarding the carrots: I like my carrots to end up being pretty tough and crispy, to be honest. Even though I state "leathery" on the carrot page, mine really do end up "crisp"!

Hi Susan, I'm new to dehydrating ... and while I'm not doing it for prepping purposes, I live far from civilization in general and like to stock up when prices are good. I can't justify the cost of a vacuum system, and have very limited freezer space. Because I'm new at this, after drying mushrooms, I threw them in the freezer just in case. I was amazed at how well the texture held up when re-hydrated and want to try more veggies and fruits. Any suggestions/time frames on storing dehydrated foods without vacuuming? Maybe a site to peruse? Thanks, this is SO much fun! :) - Kate

Hi Kate, I'm glad to hear that your mushrooms held up well. My thoughts on that is due to the fact that you dehydrated them to remove their water content and that prevented freezer burn. That's great! However, the dehydrating process for long-term storage is just a different method from simply freezing foods, or smoking foods. To me, it's a bit pointless to dehydrate food and then freeze it; however, I can see, in the long run, how that would really cut down on freezer burn! Regarding time-frames for storage of food without vacuum-sealing ... sorry, I've no input on that only to say that I wouldn't do it (for long-term storage). Thanks so much for taking time to post on Facebook – appreciate it! – Susan

How long does the process last for mango in an electric dehydrator? - Nikki

Hi Nikki, check out the instructions for "melon" in the fruit pages ... it's pretty much the same density as honeydew, for instance. Thanks for posting!

Help! I'm afraid to use the same dehydrator for onions and garlic that I'll use later for fruit. I'm afraid that the dehydrator will take on the smell and odor of the onions and garlic and then it'll be transferred into my fruit or other things I dehydrate.

Hi Sandy!

Don't worry about the actual dehydrator taking on the strong odors of garlic/onion – but make sure that your trays are thoroughly washed and you'll be fine!

Letting it air dry a day or two also helps! Thanks for posting and have a super weekend :-)

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