A food dehydrator is a small electrical appliance for drying foods indoors. It has an electric element for heat and a fan and vents for air circulation. Dehydrators are efficiently dry foods fast at 140ºF.
Costs vary depending on features. Some models are expandable and additional trays can be purchased later. Twelve square feet of drying space dries about a half-bushel of produce. The major disadvantage of is its limited capacity.
Features to Look For
Double wall construction of metal or high grade plastic. Wood is not recommended, because it is a fire hazard and is difficult to clean.
Enclosed heating elements.
Counter top design.
An enclosed thermostat from 85ºF to 160ºF.
Fan or blower.
Four to 10 open mesh trays made of sturdy, lightweight plastic for easy washing.
UL seal of approval.
A one-year guarantee.
A dial for regulating temperature.
A timer. Often the completed drying time may occur during the night and a timer could turn the dehydrator off and prevent scorching.
Wash and pit pie cherries. Heat 2 cups of cherries and 1/2 cup of sugar until the liquid boils for 1 minute. (Cherry-sugar mixture will form own juice.) With a slotted spoon, transfer cherries to a dehydrator. Dry at 140-150°F until moisture decreases to 80% solids. Cherries will be firm and rubbery to the touch. For best results, base the drying on the final solids content of 80%. Freeze or vacuum package to avoid mold growth.
To calculate desired final cherry weight for 80% solids:
Weigh a container for fresh and dried cherries on a scale. Note weight.
Add fresh cherries to the container. Weigh. Subtract container weight.
Calculate desired final weight. (Fresh cherry weight) times (.175) = desired weight of dried cherries.
Add calculated desired final weight (#3 above) and weight of container (#1). When dried cherries reach this point, they are ready.
A Clarkson, WA establishment has recalled beef jerky products due to under processing and potential survival of pathogens in the meat. This recall is a reminder to those who dehydrate jerky at home to heat the meat to 160°F to eliminate potential E. coli bacteria. There are two methods to heat the meat. Choose one of the following:
Boil the meat strips in the marinade prior to dehydrating for five minutes.
After dehydrating, place the jerky on a cookie sheet and place in a preheated oven at 275°F for 10 minutes.