Does Dehydrating Food Destroy Nutrients?

dried bananas in a heart shape
Image by Anastasia Gepp from Pixabay

Question:
Does Dehydrating Food Destroy Nutrients?
Here are some answers.

Does dehydrating food destroy nutrients?  … It’s a great question. According to this post from the University of Missouri, Vitamins A and C can be destroyed by heat and air. But let's not forget this: heating food by baking, boiling, broiling, grilling ALSO destroys nutrients! Only by eating raw fruits and vegetables do we get to enjoy their full nutritional values.




Easily Rectify Vitamin Loss

The loss of Vitamins A and C through heat and air is a bit of bummer because using heat and air is the primary way of dehydrating food! This vitamin loss is easily rectified by taking a daily vitamin supplement.

On The Other Hand:

But … the lower the temperature you dry vegetables at, the more nutrients they retain. Makes sense, right?

Fruits and vegetables are dehydrated between 125°F and 135°F (or per your food dehydrator's instructions). My one exception: Mushrooms. They are dehydrated at 90°F for Excalibur dehydrators, and 95°F for Nesco dehydrators - for two to three hours THEN set the temperature to 125°F and dry for the remaining time.

Some Prep Steps May Affect Nutritive Value

When dehydrating certain vegetables, we need to blanch them. Read how and why here.

Blanching will also result in a loss of Vitamin C, B-Complex - and water-soluble minerals. Again, taking a daily vitamin supplement will more than make up for the vitamin and mineral loss.

Sugar and Raspberry on a spoon
Image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay

Sugar Content Increases Post Dehydration

For those of us who are rightly concerned with our sugar intake, please bear in mind that dehydrating fruit (that are high in natural sugars) will result in an even higher sugar concentration after dehydrating! Why is that?

When we dehydrate food, we are removing the water that’s inside our fruits (and vegetables) in an attempt to kill micro-organisms so the food won’t spoil as quickly (like they do when fresh). In an effort to also combat food spoilage, we use oxygen absorbers.

50cc Oxygen Absorbers


100cc Oxygen Absorbers


300cc Oxygen Absorbers


2000cc Oxygen Absorbers


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Their job is to inhibit mold growth while your foods are in (long-term) storage - after the foods have been dehydrated and are ready to be vacuum-sealed and then stored in Mason jars (shown below), or in vacuum-sealer bags.

Mason Jars -
Wide Neck Quart Jars


Mason Jars -
Wide Neck Pint jars


Mason Jars -
Wide Neck  1/2 Pint Jars


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Back to the sugar content in fruit: What we are left with after dehydrating is the fruit minus water. It shrinks. So what, you’re thinking? When the fruits shrink after dehydrating, it means there’s a strong chance that you’ll want to eat more of it (due to it being smaller) - and that’s where portion control - for dried fruit especially - has to come into play.

Now then, if only dehydration would take out the sugar too we’d all be a lot healthier.

Having (Enough) Food On Hand

Don’t allow the above information regarding the loss of some vitamins to deter you from dehydrating food. What we are trying to achieve is having enough food in your pantry.

When the “stuff” hits the fan, there’s nothing worse than rushing out to your grocery store to stock up, only to be greeted by empty shelves. Get ahead of the game next time.

Just Getting Started?

Get our free eBook and learn the quick Six Simple Steps on how to safely dehydrate fresh fruits 'n' veggies (and cooked meats). Not only that, you need to know how to safely store it too!

Opt in today using the form on this page. The free eBook covers the six necessary steps to dehydrate food safely at home.

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