Dehydrating your food not only gives you space and lets you keep your food longer; it can also double the amount of antioxidants in some fruits. You have to do it right in order to make the food safe and nutritious.
This includes using the right temperature. Your dehydrator temperature is essential, but why? Find out everything you need to know from this helpful guide.
Why Dehydrate Foods?
Dehydrating foods lets you preserve them for months. The dehydrator produces a gentle heat that slowly bakes your food. The best part is all the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes stay in your food.
You can keep the food longer because removing the water prevents bacteria and mold from growing. Your food gets contaminated with bacteria and mold that grows in the water.
After the dehydrators warms the food, a fan pushes the water out. Once the food’s water content decreases to 15 to 20 percent, it is dehydrated.
Dehydrating foods heats the food slowly. You don’t want to cook food with too high of temperatures because it can:
- Kill healthy enzymes
- Eliminate vitamins
- Disrupt the pH level
When a food reaches a certain temperature, enzymes die. Enzymes will die when food temperature is above 140-158 degrees in a wet condition. Enzymes are stronger when food is dry.
Dehydrator Temperature Guidelines for Certain Foods
Meats should be dehydrated around 155 degrees Fahrenheit or 68 degrees Celsius. Fruits and vegetables do not need to be dehydrated at a high temperature, so the general rule is to dehydrate them around 130 degrees Fahrenheit or 54 degrees Celsius.
Meats contain microorganisms because it was once living tissue. It’s imperative to cook meat at a higher temperature to destroy and prevent bacteria or mold growth.
You need to be careful not to turn the heat too high because the meat will be hard on the outside and the inside will have too much water. Remember, bacteria grows in water, so the meat can spoil if you don’t cook properly.
On the flip side, you have to cook the meat at a high enough temperature to kill the microorganisms. The meat may look likes it’s done, but if it’s not cooked at a high enough temperature, it could still contain bacteria.
You may need to cook poultry at a higher temperature because raw chicken has lots of bacteria. You may want to cook chicken around 165-170 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fruits and vegetables don’t need as high of temperatures. They are good around 130-135 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel, cut, and then place them in a dehydrator anywhere between 6 to 12 hours.
For fruits with higher water content, like melons, you may need to dehydrate longer. Watermelon may take 12 to 24 hours to dehydrate.
Want to Learn More About Dehydrated Foods?
With the right dehydrator temperature, you can enjoy food for months. Check out our site to learn more dehydrator tips like finding the right dehydrator. Find the best recipes and also get some helpful tips on backpacking.