If you’re not dehydrating yet, you should be! Dehydrating is an easy, effective way of preserving food. It’s one of my absolute favorite ways to preserve food.
Dehydrating is simple and efficient. Prepare food, place food in dehydrator, turn dehydrator on, walk away for 3-12 hours.
How long will dehydrated foods last?
Dehydrated foods will last anywhere from 1-5 years, depending on how they’re stored. And also depending on who you ask! I’ve had dehydrated foods last several years, when everyone said they’d only last a few months. Dehydrate them properly and store them properly to extend the life for as long as needed/wanted.
The two best ways to store are:
- In a mason jar with an oxygen absorber.
- In a mylar bag with an oxygen absorber.
Remember, that whenever you open your jar or mylar bag and intend on closing it back up, a new oxygen absorber needs to be added. The same oxygen absorber cannot be reused.
Once sealed, the jar or mylar bag should be placed in a cool, dark place.
Some of the main keys to making dehydrated food last as long as possible is to get rid of all the fats and properly preserve food when preparing it. I’ll talk more about that with each food.
I love to make snacks and meals with my dehydrated foods. I’ll link to my favorite food recipes below.
How to rehydrate dehydrated foods
For cold rehydrating, measure out a cup of the dehydrated food, then fill water up to the 2 cup mark. Essentially, it’s usually about twice as much water is needed to cold rehydrate. It usually takes about 1-2 hours to full rehydrate using the cold water method.
To rehydrate using boiling water, add 1 cup of dehydrated food then 2 cups of water. Bring to a full boil for about 5-10 minutes. They should plump up pretty quickly.
Here are the 25 best foods to dehydrate:
Corn – Corn can be dehydrated from fresh or frozen. No prior work needs to be done before placing in the dehydrator, unless you’re cutting straight off the cob. If you’re cutting it off the cob, be sure to boil the cobs for about 10 minutes before cutting the corn off. Spread the corn evenly among the trays. Set temp to 125-135 degrees F for 6-12 hours. Dehydrated corn is great for stews, soups, pastas and other mix-ins. No need to rehydrate first, though
Carrots – Use fresh or frozen carrots. Frozen carrots won’t need any prior preparation unless you’d like to cut them up smaller/thinner. Fresh carrots will need to be peeled and sliced into thin pieces. I’d recommend tossing the carrots in some lemon juice or citric acid juice. Dehydrated carrots are a great addition to many dehydrated pasta meals, soups, stews and other mix-ins. Drying time is anywhere between 6-12 hours on 125-135 F.
Broccoli – Can use fresh or frozen broccoli, but frozen broccoli may not come out as good. When buying frozen broccoli to dehydrate, get the loose florets. For frozen broccoli, if they’re big sizes, let it thaw for about an hour on the counter then cut up into small-ish pieces. For fresh broccoli, cut up into small pieces then blanch in a small amount of boiling water for 2 minutes. Broccoli is great for stews, pasta, soups and other mix-ins. Drying time is usually 6-14 hours on 125-135 F.
Garlic – Dehydrating fresh garlic is very easy. But be sure there’s plenty of air flow/ventilation in your home, the smell is very strong! Separate and peel the cloves then cut into about 1/8th inch pieces. It will dehydrate on 125-135 for 6-12 hours. Dehydrated garlic is perfect to grind up into a powder for your own seasoning!
Green Beans – Feel free to use either frozen or fresh green beans. When using frozen green beans, simply place them into the dehydrator from the freezer. If using fresh green beans, wash them then cut the ends. Blanch them in a small bit of boiling water for about 3 minutes. Place in dehydrator at 125-135 F for about 6-8 hours.
Peas – Frozen or fresh peas can be used. If using frozen peas, simply place into the dehydrator. If using fresh peas, shell, wash and lightly steam the peas for about 5-10 minutes. Dehydrate at 125-135 F for 5-14 hours.
Tomatoes – Dehydrated tomatoes are great to grind up and use to make your own dehydrated pasta meals that call for red sauce. Can also used dehydrated tomatoes in any add-ins or even for homemade pizza. Wash and slice the tomatoes about 3/8th inch. You can skin or not, I usually leave the skin on. Dehydrate at 125-135 for 5-12 hours.
Potatoes – Dehydrating potatoes is one of the best ways to preserve them and use in a variety of ways. The best way to prepare them is to wash them, then place into boiling water for 20 minutes. Take them out and you can either cut them up right then and there, or leave them in the fridge overnight and cut them up in the morning. Cut them into about 3/8th inch slices. Dehydrate at 125-135 F for 6-14 hours.
Zucchini – Wash, cut the ends off and slice the rest of zucchini in 3/8th inch slices. Steam the zucchini for about 5 minutes. Dehydrate the zucchini at 125-135 F for 5-11 hours.
Apples – Sprinkle some cinnamon on those apples before dehydrating, you’ll thank me later! You can peel or not, up to you. Core and cut up into as even slices as possible. Place the slices into a bowl and apply lemon juice or water with citric acid. Dehydrate for 4-10 hours on 125-135 F.
Bananas – Peel the banana and slice into even slices, not too thin and not too thick. Apply lemon juice on the slices or place slices in a bowl of citric acid and water. Dehydrate 6-12 hours at 125-135 F.
Strawberries – You can use frozen or fresh strawberries, however, fresh strawberries tend to come out better. Cut the tops off the strawberries then slice into halves or thinner pieces. Dehydrate for 6-15 hours at 125-135 F.
Blueberries – Frozen blueberries are easier as you just take them out of the package and onto the dehydrator trays. If using fresh blueberries, it’s recommended to blanch them in boiling water until the skin begins to crack. I’ve dehydrated blueberries without blanching and they also came out just fine, but needed to be dehydrated a bit longer. It’s up to you. Dehydrate between 10-18 hours at 125-135 F.
Blackberries & Raspberries – Can use frozen or fresh, though fresh berries will come out a bit better, from my experience. I love grinding up the dehydrated berries into a powder and adding them into my oatmeal or even my water. Place on your dehydrator trays and dehydrate between 10-18 hours at 125-135 F.
Grapes – Love raisins? Then you should be dehydrating grapes! They’ll need to be blanched in boiling water for a few minutes. Then cut the grapes in half and place in the dehydrator for 6-10 hours at 125-135 F.
Cranberries – Fresh cranberries are essentially the same process as blueberries. They’ll need to be blanched in boiling water until skin begins to crack. However, if you buy frozen cranberries, they can go directly onto the trays, no fuss. Dehydrate between 10-18 hours at 125-135 F.
Pears – Slice pears into quarter pieces, removing the core. Can peel or not, up to you. Fresh pears need to be placed into citric acid water or splashed with plenty of lemon juice prior to adding to the dehydrator. Dehydrate for 6-16 hours at 125-135 F.
Citrus – Citrus will be brittle when dehydrated completely. Cut the citrus in even, fairly thin slices. They will need to be dried between 2-12 hours at 125-135 F.
Tuna – Break the tuna up into small pieces and spread onto your dehydrator tray. Dehydrate at 145 F for approximately six hours until crispy.
Chicken – Many say you should cook the chicken first, but I’ve done it both ways, cooked and uncooked, and both ways work. Uncooked will take longer to dehydrate, but it still works. Cut the chicken up into 1/4 thick pieces. Cut off any excess fat pieces. Season or marinate the chicken if desired. Try to blot the chicken to remove as much excess liquid as possible. Dry at 145 F for approximately 8 hours. It should be brittle when done. Dehydrated chicken also makes great dog treats!
Beef – Same as chicken, many say you should cook first, but I’ve dehydrated raw beef before and it’s dehydrated just fine. Cut up or mince up ground beef. Make sure to get the leanest ground beef and/or cut off all excess fat. Dehydrate at 145 F for 4 to 6 hours until completely dry and brittle.
Cheese – I like to dehydrate cheese to make my own cheese powder. Technically, any cheese will work, but the drier, harder cheeses will last a bit longer as they’ll have less fat content. But my powdered cheese made from cheddar cheese has lasted a couple years with no trouble. I like to shred the cheese then press the cheese between paper towels to remove as much fat content as possible. Dehydrate shredded cheese for about 12-16 hours at 135 F. If dehydrating cheese cubes, they may take up to 36 hours to dehydrate.
Eggs – There are two ways to dehydrate eggs. First, cook and scramble the eggs then place in the dehydrator at 145 F 3-5 hours. The other way is to crack eggs into a bowl, beat them together, then pour the liquid eggs onto your trays (with parchment paper or with a solid tray). To prevent potential salmonella poisoning, they need to be dehydrated at 165 F for about 10 hours.
Herbs – Place your favorite herbs evenly on the trays and dehydrate at 95 F to 115 F for 1-4 hours.
Marshmallows – You know the cereal, Lucky Charms? No need to buy the cereal just to eat the marshmallows; make your own lucky charms marshmallows by dehydrating fresh marshmallows. They’re so yummy! The mini marshmallows are much easier to dehydrate. If you try to dehydrate the large marshmallows, you’ll need to cut them up first and that can be messy. Stick with the mini marshmallows. Dehydrate at 160 F for around 2-4 hours.
Some of my favorite dehydrated meal recipes:
Fruit Leather – There are many varieties of fruit leather. An easy one to try out first is a simple strawberry fruit leather. Click here to see one of my favorite recipes. You can essentially make fruit leather from any type of fruit by simply pureeing the fruit, mixing in a little bit of lemon juice and honey then placing it on the tray (either on parchment paper or on a tray made specifically for fruit rolls).
Jerky – Who can resist making their own jerky? Great treats for yourself and for dogs. What’s your favorite recipe? There are so many different ways to make jerky. You can marinade it, add whatever seasonings you want, grind it or just cut it up. Turkey, beef, chicken, salmon, bacon, pastrami. Spicy, tangy, sweet, mild. The options are endless! Start experimenting today! Here are some ideas to get you started.
Smoothies – Dehydrated smoothies? Sign me up! Here are some ideas to get you started. Basically, to make a dehydrated smoothie, you just make a smoothie…then dehydrate it!
I think that’s enough information overload for ya. Hah. I love to dehydrate and I hope that this list has inspired you to start dehydrating or to up your dehydrating game.
What are some of your favorite things to dehydrate and/or meals?