#TipTuesday | Dehydrator 101: Pre-Treating Foods

Spinach chips make for an awesome dehydrated snack!

As with most types of cooking, proper preparation is essential for successful results. Adhering to a few basic guidelines will greatly increase the quality of your dried foods and decrease the amount of time necessary to dry them.
Pre-treated foods often taste better and have a better appearance than non-treated foods. There are several methods to pre-treat food to prevent oxidation, which will darken apples, pears, peaches and bananas while drying - here are eight great ways to achieve dehydrated perfection:

1. Remove any pits, skin or cores.

2. Shred, slice or dice the food uniformly. Slices should be between 1/4” (0.6 cm) and 3/4” (1.9 cm) thick. Use a Mandoline Slicer for fruits and vegetables.

A Mandoline Slicer slices foods, like these soon-to-be Blue Potato Chips, uniformly

3. Meats should be cut no more than 3/16” (0.5 cm) thick. A Meat Slicer or Jerky Slicer helps.

Using a Jerky Slicer to make perfectly thick and even slices

4. Drying fish into jerky requires a lot of attention. It must be cleaned and de-boned properly and rinsed thoroughly to ensure that all the blood is washed away. Steam or bake the fish at 200˚F (93°C) until flaky before dehydrating.

Salmon Jerky

5. Soak cut fruit in either lemon or pineapple juice for a few minutes before placing out on the Dehydrating Trays.

6. Use an ascorbic acid mix which can be purchased in most health food stores or pharmacies. It may come in either powder or tablet form. Dissolve approximately 2-3 tablespoons into 1 quart (1 liter) of water. Soak the fruit slices into the solution for 2-3 minutes, then place on the Dehydrating Trays.

7. Fruits with a wax coating (figs, peaches, grapes, blueberries, prunes, etc.) should be dipped in boiling water to remove the wax. This allows moisture to escape easily when dehydrating.

These prunes are about to be pureed and stuffed into Prune Pierogi
8. Blanching is a great way to ensure that foods crisp up while dehydrating. Blanching does not destroy helpful enzymes and helps retain nutrients. There are two ways to blanch food:

  • 1. WATER BLANCHING: (Water Blanching will leave a cooked flavor) Use a large pan; fill it half way with water. Bring water to a boil. Place food directly into boiling water and cover. Remove after three minutes. Arrange food on the Dehydrating Trays.
  • 2. STEAM BLANCHING: Using a steamer pot, bring 2-3” (5-7 cm) of water to a boil in bottom section. Place food in steamer basket and steam for 3-5 minutes. Remove steamed food and arrange on Dehydrating Trays.

Sample Product Label
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