Conditioning Fruits and Vegetables
After Dehydrating

Dehydrated strawberries conditioning in a Ziploc bag

Conditioning fruits and vegetables after dehydrating is simply the act of letting your dehydrated goodies cool down.

Then put them into Ziploc bags and let them hang around on your kitchen countertop for a day or overnight.

This disperses any moist air evenly between the items in the bag. When the dehydrated fruit and vegetables are done, I transfer them to a dish (or two), which I just let sit and cool down on the kitchen counter.

You can simply leave them on the dehydrator trays, but sometimes you forget they're still in there—hence my using bowls on the kitchen countertop!

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Dehydrate Herbs

How to Grow and Dehydrate Herbs free eBook

Treat yourself today with my free eBook. Learn how to dry the top six herbs and make herb-infused oils and vinegars!

Click the book cover and that will take you to my secure download page and full deets.

It's my gift to you as a way of saying "thanks for stopping by!"

Use Ziploc-Type Freezer Bags for Conditioning Fruits and Vegetables After Dehydrating

When your dehydrated food is totally cooled off, I put it into the Ziploc freezer-type bags. Sandwich-style bags are not strong enough and can easily have your dehydrated foods poke through and puncture the bag!

Feel free to reuse the freezer bags because they're not cheap—I do throw them away when I see any sticky residue left behind.

I use some bags specifically for fruit and I use my black felt-tipped pen to mark the bags as 'fruit only', and have some bags just for vegetables.

NOTE: I will NEVER reuse a plastic bag that has had MEAT in it.

You Can Skip Conditioning, but...

To be totally honest, conditioning fruits and vegetables after dehydrating is my fourth step and is a step that many seasoned dehydrating folk just don't do. But I won't tell if you won't.

If you feel like your dehydrated food is totally dry after the first go-around on the dehydrator, you can skip this step.

For instance, you may like your dehydrated banana chips to be a little on the chewy side. But where dehydrating mushrooms are concerned—it is a different story. Please read on.

conditioning dehydrated carrots inside a Ziploc bag

Still a Bit Too Sticky?

If your fruits or veggies are still sticking together a bit too much in the Ziploc bag, simply place the dehydrated food back in the dehydrator for an hour or so.

Let the food cool off again.

Then put the dried food back in the bag(s) again for a couple of hours, per the instructions you just read above.

They should now be ready for vacuum sealing!

Be Extra Careful With Mushrooms...

Mushrooms are well known for needing a second go-around on the dehydrator! You might think they are dry, but they can easily fool you. This veggie needs to be very dry prior to vacuum-sealing.

When dehydrating mushrooms, take note of their special dehydrating temperatures. Don't be afraid to give them more time. Some foods will remain sticky, such as dehydrated plums (prunes).

More Info. on Benefits of Conditioning Food After Dehydrating It - Prior to Packaging It

Conditioning dehydrated food is a common practice for some people who dry food at home, though not universally done. Here are some key points:

  • Conditioning involves letting dehydrated food sit sealed at room temperature for a period after initial drying.
  • This allows moisture to evenly redistribute in the food, which improves texture and helps remove any remaining moisture.
  • Conditioning is especially recommended for fruits, vegetables, and meat jerky.
  • It helps dried foods rehydrate more quickly and fully when ready to eat.
  • The process allows chemical changes to finish occurring and volatile oils to redistribute.
  • Not conditioning can result in food that is still leathery, tough, or prone to mold if any moisture remains.
  • Proper initial drying is still critical to prevent spoilage during conditioning.
  • Some dehydrator manuals advise conditioning while others don't mention it.

So while not mandatory, conditioning can optimize the final quality and storage life for many dehydrated foods. Many home drying enthusiasts find it beneficial especially for fruits and tough-textured items.

But the extra time and storage space required means it is skipped by some people.

Why Is Conditioning Beneficial for Tough-Textured Items?

There are a few reasons why conditioning can be especially beneficial for tougher, denser dehydrated foods:

  • Allows moisture to evenly distribute - Denser foods can hold pockets of moisture internally after dehydrating. Conditioning gives time for any remaining moisture to make its way to the surface and evaporate.
  • Enables chemical changes to finish - Drying initiates starch to sugar conversions and other chemical changes. Conditioning allows these processes to be fully completed.
  • Restores flexibility - Dense items can be rigid until interior moisture equalizes. Conditioning makes the texture more flexibly chewy rather than tough.
  • Improves rehydration - Foods like meat jerky rehydrate better if moisture has redistributed during conditioning.
  • Reduces risk of mold - Trapped internal moisture raises chances of spoilage. Conditioning ensures a thoroughly dry interior.
  • Develops full flavor - Volatile oils redistribute throughout the food more evenly during the resting period.

So for dense foods like meats, fruits, and some vegetables, the extra conditioning step helps achieve the ideal texture and flavor. The moisture equilibrium and completed chemical changes make these foods less chewy and easier to rehydrate.

Thanks go to Claude 2 for elaborating on the benefits of conditioning food prior to vacuum-sealing and packing it away.



Susan Gast, founder of Easy Food Dehydrating

Hi, I'm Susan Gast, founder of Easy Food Dehydrating. My passion for dehydrating food began in 2010 while seeking crafty uses for abundant tomatoes. I've since devoted myself to elevating the art of removing moisture from fruits, vegetables, meats, and so much more!
JOIN ME as we unlock the magic of food preservation through dehydration together!
Read About Me here.

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