Methods I use:
- Use the sun. In the summer this is a popular method and can even be done indoors, try to avoid humidity, though.
If you live in a warm climate or happen to have a very big sunny
window you could sun dry your dehydrator recipes. Keep in mind that
the sun may get hotter than the 112-120F degrees that is recommended
for eating raw. However, if the option is to eat something deep fried
or something sun dried I think the best option is pretty clear!
One thing to watch out for using this technique is that animals and
bugs may decide to have a bite or run off with some of your food.
Covering foods with nets, muslin or other light cloth works and watching them for being finished really helps.
If you already have one of those mini-toaster ovens then this is for
you. If you’re planning on buying one for this – then just get an
affordable dehydrator instead.
This is how you should go about dehydrating raw foods in your toaster
oven: place the foods you want to dehydrate on a plate or sheet in the
oven. Set the toaster oven on the lowest possible setting, and prop
the door open. At this point you may also want to put a fan in front
of the oven so there is no water condensation taking place. This
speeds up the dehydrating process and also makes sure your food won’t
- Use a fire. Grills, fireplaces, etc. Hang the food(placing to the side of the fire on a tray works to) about 6 inches or less above the fire, you should not use artificial woods as your food will then taste like them.
This method is best used for drying meats. Basically you’ll want to
hang strips of meat on a rack and place these in front of a fire.
Vegetables and fruits can be placed on the ground near the fire,
however be sure that you are protecting the food from nearby critters.
- Use the wind. This is the least favourable method as it takes longer and the food will have greater risk of spoilage. Meat should not be used by this method unless you use assistive devices(hair dyers, fans, etc) or have no other method.
Form a bag out of some netting (or use an existing netted bag) and
place the food inside it. This is then hung from a clothes line or
tree branch outside. This method also works inside the house in front
of a fan.
Using preservatives or treatments(lemon juice, etc) before drying helps prevent spoilage. Fire is usually the fastest method.
[The USDA’s] current recommendation for making jerky safely is to heat
meat to 160 °F and poultry to 165 °F before the dehydrating process.
This step assures that any bacteria present will be destroyed by wet
heat. But most dehydrator instructions do not include this step, and a
dehydrator may not reach temperatures high enough to heat meat to 160
°F. After heating, maintaining a constant dehydrator temperature of
130 to 140 °F during the drying process is important because: the
process must be fast enough to dry food before it spoils; and it must
remove enough water that microorganisms are unable to grow