What is the ideal temperature for dehydrating food?
If you have lost your dehydrators owners manual then don’t despair, as we will be providing temperature and preparation guides for some of the most popular fruit, vegetable and jerky foods in this article. Some popular Dehydrators such as the Nesco Dehydrator have done the most sensible thing and printed a very brief temperature guide to popular recipes on top of the machine itself, so there is no need to keep digging out your recipe guide each time you want to try out a new kind of food. For everyone else who perhaps bought their dehydrator second hand without a recipe guide, or for anyone who lost their recipe booklet we have a short guide below this.
Temperature Settings For Fruits – 135F
Fruits need a medium to high temperature to help dehydrate them to the correct texture. Most popular fruits will take around 7 hours to fully dehydrate at this temperature. Below are some of the popular fruit preparation choices.
- Apples: Remove core and cut into 3/8″ slices. These are a nice quick and easy snack to make, and generally take between 4 – 10 hours to dehydrate.
- Bananas: Peel, and cut into 3/8″ slices. These take slightly longer than apples to dehydrate, often taking between 6 – 12 hours in total.
- Melons: Get rid of skin and cut up into 1/2″ slices. Melons do take a while to dry out, taking between 9 – 18 hours in total.
- Peaches: These are best peeled and cut into eights or quarters. Drying times range between 6 – 12 hours.
- Pears: These can be peeled if necessary, but they must be cored and either sliced into eights or quarters. These take between 7 – 15 hours to dehydrate fully.
- Pineapple: Must be peeled and cored, then sliced into either 3/8″ or 1/2″ slices. Drying times vary between 6 -12 hours.
- Strawberries: These are quite easy to prepare, simply slice them in half or cut into 1/2″ slices. They should take between 5 – 11 hours to dehydrate.
Temperature Settings For Vegetables – 135F
Like fruit about, vegetables need a medium to high temperature for optimal dehydration results. The thick texture of most vegetables means that they will take on average around 9/10 hours to dehydrate. Lets have a look at some popular choices below.
- Carrots: Can be peeled, and should be cut no thicker than 3/8″ slices. Dehydrating times vary between 7 – 11 hours.
- Mushrooms: Mushrooms are very simple to prepare, and simply need to be cleaned with a thin brush before dehydration. They can take between 4 – 9 hours to dehydrate.
- Onions: These must be peeled, and the tops must be cut off. After that they can be sliced into 3/8″ thick. Total time takes between 7 – 11 hours.
- Potatoes: White potatoes should be used for this. Some folks blanch them, but it can be done without. Peel, then cut to 3/8″ slices. Dehydrate for between 6 – 12 hours.
- Tomatoes: These should be washed, then cut into quarters or eights, or sliced 3/8″ thick. After that they will need between 6 – 12 hours to dehydrate.
Temperature Settings For Jerky – 145-160F
Jerky needs a high temperature to fully dehydrate due to the density of the meat texture. In addition to this, it must also be dried at a high temperature so that bacteria cannot develop on the meat at any point. Any temperature above 140F is sufficient to prevent this. Prior to dehydrating, you must try to get as much fat as possible off the meat. Fat doesn’t dehydrate well, and doesn’t make the food very healthy. If you are making jerky from ground beef, try to find a decent lean meat mix for the best results. A bit of salt is a common way to season the meat, but there are a range of other options you can consider such as onion powder, garlic power or pepper to make some quick and flavorful choices. There are many different powder mixes sold online, so you will need to experiment and see which one is best for your tastes.
Drying times generally vary, depending on how thickly sliced the jerky is. Thin slices such as 1/4″ can be ready in as little as 5 hours, whereby thicker slices of around 3/8″ can take up to ten hours.
Hopefully this little guide will give you a rough idea of how to prepare and dry your food. If you are searching for a quality new dehydrator, then you can have a look at our top rated models section.