Making Dehydrated Food Gifts:

A Unique, Healthy, and Thoughtful Gesture

If you are looking for gift ideas that are one-of-a-kind that have your personal touch, consider making dehydrated food gifts for health-conscious family members, and friends!

Heck - make them for yourself too!

Citrus in Mason jarsCreated with Midjourney

It's time to say "goodbye" to summer and welcome cooler temps (depending on where you live on the globe). In the US and Europe, the cooler festive season is fast approaching and the supermarkets and local roadside stands are brimming with fresh fruits and vegetables. The timing couldn't be better.

These gorgeous handmade dehydrated food gifts - that you're about to create - won't sit and spoil on your recipients' countertops any time soon.

Why not?

"Ball" brand Mason jars with an oxygen absorber inside each of them

You see, dehydrated food - when dried and packaged properly - has a long shelf life. Simply tuck in an 'oxygen absorber' package right inside your gift that keeps your dehydrated food feeling fresh! Seriously, oxygen absorber packets inhibit mold growth. Sorry to get all serious on you there. But it has to be said.

I know you're eager to get going, so let’s leap right into crafting your very own DIY dehydrated food gifts in Mason jars and baskets!

Why Give Dehydrated Food Gifts?

As we twirl into the holiday swirl, (yup, I've had too much coffee...) it's such a blessing to see supermarkets and local roadside stands bursting at the seams with their bounties of fresh fruits and veggies.

Bear in mind: Dehydrated food gifts are not just unique; they are also a healthy and useful alternative to the usual (boring) gift options of socks, scarves, and underwear.

Unhappy man with socks for a giftCreated with Midjourney

Plus, the anticipation of giving a homemade gift that you've put so much thought and effort into is simply unbeatable. Your friends and family will love you (even more) for it!

If you're at all worried about your lovely edible creations spoiling... well don't be. When foods are dried carefully, dehydrated food has a surprisingly long shelf life - so no fretting over your gifts going bad! And that's why adding the oxygen absorber in the Mason jar prior to screwing on the lid works to make sure your food doesn't go moldy.

No one wants a moldy gift.

Choosing the Right Foods to Dehydrate
for Making Dehydrated Food Gifts

The first step in making dehydrated food gifts is choosing the right foods to dehydrate. For the record, most fruits and vegetables dehydrate well.

Fruits make exceptional fruit leathers, aka rollups. Think citrus (oranges, lemons, and limes), along with bananas, pears, and peaches... (Stop it, I'm getting hungry!)

The key is to choose ripe produce. Again, it doesn't matter what "shape" the fruit is. We have to slice'n'dice and dehydrate it!

Riper is Better...

The reason for the ripeness is this: Ripe fruits have higher sugar levels, resulting in sweeter and more flavorful dried fruit. Make sure they're ripe before dehydrating. The ripeness of a fruit drastically affects its sugar content which will impact the taste of the final dehydrated item.

Juicy red and green applesCreated with Midjourney

Bear this in mind: the actual process of dehydration doesn't ripen fruit further, so starting with a ripe fruit is crucial. Avoid overripe or bruised fruits as they will 'darken' too soon and are more prone to potential spoilage. Again, misshapen is not to be associated with 'bruised.'

Side note: If you're making smoothies from ripe fruit, then by all means use the bruised and misshapen fruits! (I don't want to hurt their feelings...)

Go ahead and experiment with different fruits. The joy in learning a new skill is in the journey, not just the destination. (Frustrating as that might be sometimes). Test out a few combos on yourself first, before gifting!

The Dehydrating Process

Now, let's talk about the dehydrating process itself. Try not to get impatient waiting for the dehydrating process to finish. Remember, good things take time.

Tools and Stuff:

All you need is fresh produce, an oven - or a dehydrator. Check out these pages on Nesco and Excalibur dehydrators, and What Are Food Dehydrators too. My choice - every time - is to use a dehydrator, I tried the 'oven-drying' method - once. (That ought to tell you all you need to know about oven drying). So: Get a dehydrator! You can "set it and forget it" and not worry about burning down the house...

The key to successful dehydration is to make sure the food is dried fully - and correctly. Dried foods should be allowed to cool and packed in airtight containers or vacuum-sealed bags.

For short-term storage, plastic food storage bags (specifically manufactured for use with a food vacuum sealer) can work well. But for long-term storage, you'd want to use glass Mason jars to keep your dehydrated food safe and fresh.

Seriously, adding your dehydrated slices of fruit to lovely glass Mason jars is the way to go. I wouldn't be overly ecstatic to receive dried food in vacuum-sealed bags as a gift, to be honest. 

How about putting three filled Mason jars nestled in a basket?

Keep on reading!

Creating Your Dehydrated Food Gifts

How about creating themed gift baskets or jars filled with your dried goodies?

For instance, you could make a 'Tropical Delight' basket filled with dehydrated pineapple, mango, and coconut.

Or how about a 'Veggie Crunch' jar with zucchini and beet chips... (now you're talkin').

Zucchini chips in Mason jarsCreated with Midjourney

More Basket Ideas:

  • Orchard Harvest (apples and pears).
  • Fruity Fiesta (bananas, apples, and berries)
  • Rollup Rainbow (different fruit leathers/rollups)
  • Crunchy Courgette Cascade (zucchini chips)
  • Zesty Zucchini Zing (for flavored zucchini chips)
  • Berry Bliss (mixed berries)
  • Exotic Explosion (for tropical fruits)
  • Citrus Symphony (for dehydrated citrus fruits)
  • Autumn Abundance (for fall fruits like apples and pears)
  • Delightful Dried Medley (for a mix of different fruits)
  • Veggie-Crunch Victory (for any mix of dehydrated vegetables)
  • Classy Crunchables (for a high-end assortment)
  • Healthy Heartful (include heart-healthy options)
  • Campers Crunch (could include a mix of fruits and veggies loved by campers)
  • Sunshine Snackables (fruits that are summer favorites)
  • Fiber-Full Feast (for fruits and veggies rich in fiber)
  • Sweet and Subtle Surprise (for subtly sweet fruits like apples and pears)
  • Light and Crisp Delight (for lightly flavored options)
  • Fruit Fun Fusion (for an eclectic mix)
  • Bountiful Berry Basket (for a basket full of different kinds of berries)

Side note: Apples and pears make excellent fruit rollups. Check out how to make rollups here.

Another side note: Did you know that "going up the apple and pears," is Cockney-rhyming slang for "going up the stairs?" Yup, Now your day is complete. (What's Cockney-rhyming slang?) Thought you'd never ask. Check that out here but COME BACK to continue learning how making dehydrated food gifts will make you the best gift-giver ever!

The oohs and aahs (gratitude) you'll receive from your loved ones when they receive these thoughtful, homemade gifts are priceless.

Tissue Paper and Clear Cellophane
Perfect for Making Dehydrated Food Gifts Sparkle

Looking to weave magic with some wicker basket gifts? Let's chat about just how to jazz them up!

Get ready to pull a rabbit out of a hat with the type of tissue paper you select.

Tissue Paper

Go for something that’s high-quality, sturdy yet soft, much like a giant marshmallow (OK, that's a bit of a stretch). Acid-free tissue paper is the star of the show here because it won’t fade or damage the super, secret goodies in your basket.

Now, when it comes to colors, it's your, er, their party! Pick something that complements the dehydrated goodies stuffed inside or matches the occasion. Think red and green for Christmas. Pastels for Easter. Orange and black for Halloween. Don’t be shy to stack more tissue paper if your present is playing hard to get or has a bit of an edge (literally).



Your gift of dried fruit deserves a stunning wrapping, right? So, let's talk ribbons and bows. Satin or organza ribbons can add that luxury touch. Wired ribbons can hold their shape even better than a well-behaved poodle, and you can pick a color that matches or contrasts your tissue paper. Just make sure your ribbon isn’t trying to hog all the limelight from your basket...

Last but certainly not least, that crinkly-sounding clear plastic. It's often cellophane, the unsung hero of gift wrapping!

Crinkly Cellophane

Not only does it give your gifts a lovely, see-through dress to wear(!), but it also keeps everything clean and secure, like bubble wrap’s classy cousin. Choose a clear or patterned sheet depending on your gift's theme and the vibe you want to portray.

Crinkly Cellophane Bags

How about using these cellophane bags?

Remember, everything you choose is a reflection of your great taste and the love you've put into the gift. Just like your favorite recipe, it's all the ingredients combined that make the end result magnificent. Happy gifting!

And if you do not want to go "the basket route," use these lovely clear plastic bags that measure almost 5.9" x 6.3" - use an assortment of smaller (half-pint size) Mason jars inside these bags!

Mason Jars -
Wide Neck Quart Jars

Mason Jars -
Wide Neck Pint jars

Mason Jars -
Wide Neck  1/2 Pint Jars

* As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases should you purchase any/all of the items shown in the above images. The price you pay doesn't increase.

Embrace the Journey - It's Worth Your Effort

Creating delicious, long-lasting, and unique gifts is worth the effort. And who knows? You might discover that dehydrating food becomes a regular part of your kitchen routine. It's not just for holidays!

After all, making dehydrated food gifts is not just about the end product; it's about satisfaction - and empowerment - that comes from learning a new skill and sharing (actually gifting!) it with others.

I hope you enjoyed the inspiring gift basket images above! Remember, all you need to do is learn how to dehydrate fruits and vegetables safely. Read our "How to dehydrate fruit" and "How to dehydrate vegetables" pages.

Once you've mastered the art of dehydrating food, you'll be well on your way to creating unique healthy, and thoughtful gifts.

Before I sign off, please check out these beautiful potato-beaded necklaces by Janetta here.

Dehydrated Potato beaded necklace in blue
Closeup of Dehydrated Potato beaded necklace in blue

And learn how to dehydrate potatoes here.

The author, Susan Gast, used GPT-4 by OpenAI, Bard by Google, and Claude2 by Anthropic, to research this topic. The author then wrote this entire article, optimizing its content and value for you the reader. As such, she takes ultimate responsibility for the content of this publication. Midjourney (and occasionally Leonardo) also helped her bring back stunning images for you to feast your eyes on. Also, utilizing AI as an assistant means she can write better, more interesting articles - just for you - on a regular basis.

Susan Gast owner, Easy Food Dehydrating plus and

Susan Gast began Easy Food Dehydrating in December 2010. Read Susan's story of what sparked her interest in all things related to "food dehydrating."

She is featured on Mother Earth News blog, and on Solo Build It (SBI) who host this site. Read her first SBI interview, and her second SBI interview.

Since 1980, Susan's involvement in publishing - in one form or another - led her to create a "review site" of products related to the publishing industry. Visit ePubTechReviews today, also hosted by Solo Build It. Susan also runs her namesake site on Solo Build It that showcases the books she has written since 2010.

Do you want to send Susan a quick message? Visit her contact page here. She'd love to hear from you!