How to Dehydrate Seafood - Safely

Want to know how to dehydrate seafood safely? Read on! You, too, can have dried fish in a jiffy!

Salmon, Shrimp, and Tuna

Before starting the drying process, it's important to purchase fresh fish fillets of your choice from a specialty fish market, or a trusty local supermarket.

Read how to choose fresh fish here.

If you can "smell fish," don't buy it. Fresh fish does not stink! Yeah, a slight fishy aroma is allowed, but it shouldn't be overpowering.

Clean Fresh Fish Before Drying Fish on Your Dehydrator

Clean your fish by removing any bones or shells. Read on for Shrimp, Salmon, and Tuna specifically.


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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!"


TOP Frequently Asked Question:

Can you dehydrate fish?

Yes, and we show you how to dehydrate salmon, shrimp, and tuna on this page, further down.

Can you rehydrate dried fish?

Yes, you can rehydrate dried fish. To do this, simply soak the fish in water for a few hours or overnight. The fish will absorb the water and will be rehydrated and ready to eat.

Can you dehydrate frozen fish?

No. The reason why you should not dehydrate fish that has been frozen is because when you freeze fish, the ice crystals can form inside the muscle tissue which can essentially puncture the cell walls of the fish as it expands.

When cell walls are damaged, this can cause bacteria to form and the fish might not be safe to eat.

How to Dehydrate Seafood ~ The Drying Process

By having uniformly sized fresh fish, you'll get better drying results. If the fish is not properly blotted dry before dehydrating using paper towels, it will drip and could cause sticking issues.

If seafood is still dripping after blotting with a paper towel, it's still too wet! Dry fish are happy fish (in this case!)

Air drying the fish a little longer can eliminate the need for running the dehydrator longer than necessary.

Once the fish is dried, store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

a trio of shrimp

Dehydrating Shrimp

Here are simple steps for properly dehydrating shrimp at home:

  1. Start by ensuring your shrimp are very fresh. Clean thoroughly, removing shells, tails, legs, veins, and butterfly (cut) the shrimp as desired. Rinse well.
  2. Pat shrimp extremely dry before dehydrating using paper towels. Moisture is shrimp's enemy during drying.
  3. Arrange shrimp pieces evenly in a single layer on dehydrator trays without overlapping.
  4. Dehydrate for 4-10 hours at 145°F until completely stiff and brittle, with a slightly translucent, deep orange hue. The exact time varies on thickness and humidity.
  5. To test for doneness, fully dried shrimp will snap when bent rather than be flexible. No moist spots should remain inside.
  6. Cool completely then store dried shrimp in an airtight container for up to 2 months, or in the freezer for 6 months.

Rehydrate before eating by soaking for 10-30 minutes in broth, water, or sauce until pliable. Then enjoy!

Monitor closely to prevent case hardening on the outside before interior moisture fully evaporates. Rotate trays occasionally for even exposure.

Two fresh salmon steaks

Dehydrating Salmon

Here is an effective method for dehydrating fresh salmon at home:

Ingredients:

1-2 lbs fresh salmon filets, skin and pin bones removed

Marinade:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions:

  1. Slice salmon against the grain into 1/4-inch thick uniform strips.
  2. In a resealable bag or shallow dish, mix marinade ingredients. Add salmon strips, and toss to coat evenly. Marinate for 30 mins - 1 hour.
  3. Drain salmon well and pat dry with paper towels. Arrange in a single layer on dehydrator trays.
  4. Dehydrate at 145°F for 5-7 hours until salmon strips are slightly shrunken down, darkened, and brittle, with no moist spots remaining inside when cut.
  5. Cool completely then store dried salmon in an airtight container for 1 month refrigerated or up to 3 months frozen.

Enjoy dried salmon pieces as a healthy snack!

The key is slicing salmon thinly so it dehydrates completely without overly hardening. Rotate trays periodically for consistent results.

3 fresh tuna steaks

Dehydrating Tuna

Dehydrating fresh tuna at home creates a tasty, protein-packed snack in just a few easy steps:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb sushi-grade tuna, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger

Instructions:

  1. Slice tuna fillets against the grain into 1/8 to 1⁄4 inch thick uniformly sized strips.
  2. In a shallow dish, mix soy sauce, sesame oil, and grated ginger. Add tuna strips and toss gently to coat. Marinate for 30 mins.
  3. Arrange tuna strips close together but not overlapping on dehydrator trays lined with parchment paper.
  4. Dehydrate strips at 145°F for 5-7 hours, checking periodically. When done, tuna will be darkened, have shrunk slightly, be dry to the touch, and brittle.
  5. Cool completely then store dried tuna strips in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks shelf-stable or several months refrigerated/frozen.

Enjoy as is for a salty *umami kick or reconstitute briefly in water before use.

Proper slicing and rotating trays help ensure even, complete dehydration. Play with different marinades like teriyaki or citrus/herb mix to suit your taste!

*The salty umami flavor of the dried tuna refers to the concentrated, enhanced savory and mildly salty fish flavors that result from combining the dehydration process with a soy sauce marinade.

Storing Dried Fish Using Vacuum-Sealer Bags

Dried fish can be an excellent addition to your food storage pantry.

If you have a seafood-loving family, then chances are good that you will want to have some fish on hand for those times when you can't make it to the store or when it's simply too expensive.

This is where the Foodsaver food vacuum sealer comes in!

Store your dried fish in food vacuum-sealer bags or make your own bags "to size" using vacuum-sealer rolls. Read more about bags here and rolls here.

How to Dehydrate Seafood: Fatty Fish vs. Lean Fish

FATTY FISH:
Dehydrate fatty fish at a lower temperature for a shorter time.

LEAN FISH:
Dehydrate lean fish at a higher temperature for a longer time.

When it comes to learning how to dehydrate seafood, there is a big difference between fatty fish and lean fish. Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, have a high oil content.

This oil helps to keep the fish moist and gives it its flavor. Lean fish, such as cod, flounder, and haddock, have very little oil.

The difference in oil content will affect how you dehydrate the fish.

Preserved Fish Can Last for Months

Properly dried fish aka 'preserved fish' is great for storing for the long term. When done properly, the shelf-life of dried fish is months or even years. Just be sure to follow the following tips to ensure that your fish preserved by dehydrating stays safe and tasty.

Have you dried fish before? What are your favorite tips? Do you have any favorite fish seasonings?

Lemon juice and garlic powder go a long way in adding flavor to baked fish.

Share your TIPS below on how to dehydrate seafood:

Tips on Producing Safe-to-Eat Dried Fish

Drying fish is a great way to preserve it and make it last longer. Here are a few tips on how to dehydrate it safely:

  1. Make sure the fish is completely dry before you dehydrate it.
  2. Don't dehydrate fish that's been frozen or contains ice crystals.
  3. Dehydrate the fish at a low temperature to avoid bacteria growth.
  4. Store the dried fish in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Dry Fish on Low Temperature for Best Results

Mason Jars

The drying process of fish at a low temperature is important because it helps to prevent the growth of bacteria. Bacteria can cause food poisoning, so by dehydrating fish at a low temperature, you can help ensure that the food is safe to eat.

The temperature for dehydrating fish is typically low, as the food item can spoil quickly at high temperatures. It is important to monitor the dehydration process closely to ensure that the fish does not spoil.

Check your specific dehydrator's instruction manual for the ideal temperature setting.

Best Storage Containers

The best storage containers for dehydrated food are airtight and moisture-proof. This will help to keep the food fresh and prevent it from spoiling.

Check out this page on vacuum-sealer bags as mentioned earlier and consider storing your fish in glass Mason jars. Both are ideal for long-term storage - and for keeping your newly dehydrated fish free from spoilage!

Cleaning Your Dehydrator After Dehydrating Fish

Cleaning your dehydrator is important to avoid bacteria growth and will also keep your dehydrator in good condition. After dehydrating fish, the best way to clean your dehydrator is to:

  • Unplug the dehydrator
  • Remove all the fish from the dehydrator
  • Wipe down all the interior and exterior surfaces of the dehydrator with a warm, soapy cloth
  • Rinse/wipe off the soapy residue with hot water
  • Then allow your dehydrator to "air dry"
  • Ensure that the dehydrator is completely dry before plugging it back in and using it again

For the trays: Rinse off any fishy residue in the kitchen sink, and then use your dishwasher for the trays!

Please note: Check to make sure your brand of tray is "dishwasher safe." I don't want them melting on you. In fact, in other posts, I suggest using the wash and rinse cycles only on your dishwasher, and taking out the trays BEFORE the heat/dry cycle starts.

Share your Seafood Dehydrating Tips

Do you have a great tip about dehydrating seafood? Share it!

FISHING:
Do You Have the Skill and Patience?

dozing fisherman, rod in hand, waiting patiently for that biteCreated with Midjourney

All you have to do now is simply have the patience to catch the fish.

Or do what I do... go to the store or fresh fish market!

Thanks for stopping by to learn how to dehydrate seafood. If you need to ask me anything, please drop me an email here.

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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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