Depending on the food and dehydrator settings, you can enjoy chewy to rock-hard results and everything in between, year round, without refrigeration. A food dehydrator uses a fan and low temperatures to remove water from food over prolonged periods of time. Nutritional values remain intact. The appropriate reduction in moisture content inhibits the growth of yeasts, molds, and bacteria that cause spoilage. So you can enjoy your favorite foods all year round by drying them.

Use a dehydrator for all kinds of foods. First blanche your veggies and light-colored fruit. Puree overripe fruit for tasty fruit leathers. Slice foods in thin layers for chips. Fruits and veggies are generally dried at medium temperatures, nuts and spices at the lowest temperatures, and meats and fish at the highest temperatures. Follow the product's guide on drying temperature and time guidelines for your desired results. You will need to experiment a bit, since the moisture content of the food to be dried is variable. We thus recommend that you keep records of your experiments for future reference.

Storing dried foods: Dried food should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place, preferably in an airtight container. Most dried fruits can be stored for 1 year at 60°F, 6 months at 80°F. Dried vegetables have about half the shelf-life of fruits. Fruit leathers should keep for up to 1 month at room temperature. Jerky can be stored for 2 weeks in a sealed container at room temperature. To store any dried product longer, place it in the freezer. To keep out oxygen, moisture, and pests, use a Vacuum Sealer. More Resources:

In cooking dehydrated foods, remember to soak first and/or adjust your recipe with additional moisture content to help rehydrate them. Rehydrating them properly will keep them from being chewy.