#Tip Tuesday | Dehydrator 101: Drying Tips

As simple as using a dehydrator may be, there's always room to learn. Take a gander at these nine dehydrator tips and start drying smarter...

1. Foods Will Shrink
Remember, foods will shrink to approximately ¼ - ½ of their original size and weight during the dehydration process, so pieces should not be cut too small or too thin. One pound of raw meat will yield approximately ⅓ lb (0.2 kg) to ½ lb (0.2 kg) of jerky.

2. Follow the Drying Guide... It Works!
You don't ever have to guess at temperature. Use the Drying Guide on the Control Panel as a reference for proper temperature settings. Don't try to speed up the process by cranking up the heat. Adjusting the heat higher than recommended is likely to yield poor results: If the heat is set too high, food may harden and dry on the outside... yet be moist on the inside. If the temperature is too low, the food will take much longer to dry than necessary. 

3. Remove Excess Moisture
If you're looking to decrease drying time, simply start with a drier product. Pat jerky strips, fruits, and veggies dry with a paper towel. Be mindful of how much liquid you add to your jerky marinade. Rather than using juice for fruit leather, make jam first, then dehydrate. 

4. No Touching!
Do not overlap foods. Lay foods flat on the Dehydrating Trays.

5. The 6 Hour Rule
Check dryness after 6 hours, then check every 2 hours until crisp, pliable or leathery depending on the product.

6. Dehydrate Until... Dry
Check foods to make sure they are completely dry before removing. Open or cut down the middle of a few samples to check internal dryness. If the food is still moist, dehydrate longer.

7. Take Note
Keep a journal to help improve drying techniques. Record the food name, temperature, drying time, original weight, end weight,and ingredients used. 

8. Proper Storage
Be sure to label foods with the name and date of drying. Package the food when cool. If it's still warm when you seal it, it will sweat, then mold quickly. Foods can be kept longer if stored in a cool, dark, dry place. The ideal storage temperature is 60°F (16°C) or lower.

9. Vacuum Seal It
Vacuum sealing is ideal for keeping dried foods. Even when storing in airtight metal or glass containers, it's best to vacuum seal first. Use Zipper Seal Vacuum Bags so that you have the option of storing both short and long term.

Sample Product Label
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