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what to make with food dehydrator


How to Get Creative with Your Food Dehydrator


A food dehydrator is a fantastic kitchen appliance that allows you to preserve and transform a wide variety of foods. Beyond just drying fruits and vegetables, there are endless opportunities to get creative with your dehydrator. In this article, we will explore five exciting ideas to make the most of your food dehydrator and create delicious, nutritious snacks.

Unleashing the Flavor of Dehydrated Fruits

One of the most popular uses of a food dehydrator is to dry fruits. Dehydrated fruits are not only a tasty snack but are also ideal for baking, making on-the-go trail mixes, and even adding to savory dishes for a hint of sweetness.

To begin, wash and slice your chosen fruits evenly. Apples, bananas, strawberries, and pineapples are all excellent options. Arrange the slices on the dehydrator trays, ensuring they don't overlap. Depending on the fruit and dehydrator model, the process can take anywhere from 6 to 24 hours. Remember to rotate the trays occasionally for even drying.

Once your fruits are perfectly dried, you can enjoy them as is, or get creative by coating them with cinnamon, melted dark chocolate, or a sprinkle of salt for a contrasting flavor. You can also blend them into a fine powder to use in smoothies or as a natural sugar substitute in baking.

The Versatility of Dehydrating Vegetables

While fruits are commonly dehydrated, vegetables are equally versatile in a food dehydrator. Drying vegetables not only extends their shelf life but also concentrates their flavor and nutrients.

Begin by washing and preparing your vegetables. Options like tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, zucchini, and onions work great for dehydrating. Some vegetables may require blanching to preserve their color and texture. Once prepped, slice the vegetables into even thickness and arrange them on the dehydrator trays.

Dehydrating vegetables take a bit longer than fruits, usually ranging from 8 to 24 hours. Be sure to set the temperature according to the specific vegetable and the dehydrator instructions to achieve optimal results.

Once dried, you can use dehydrated vegetables in various ways. They are perfect for making homemade vegetable powders or adding depth to soups, stews, or sauces. Dried tomatoes can be packed in olive oil with herbs, making a flavorful addition to sandwiches or pasta dishes.

Meaty Treats for Jerky Lovers

If you love protein-packed snacks or are following a low-carb diet, making homemade jerky with your food dehydrator is an exciting option. By using lean cuts of meat and controlling the ingredients, you can make delicious jerky without any added preservatives or excessive salt.

Start by choosing your preferred meat, such as beef, turkey, chicken, or even fish. Remove any visible fat and slice the meat into thin, uniform strips. Marinate the strips in a combination of your favorite flavors like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, or chili powder.

After marinating, arrange the meat strips on the dehydrator trays, making sure they are not touching or overlapping. Dehydrate the meat at a slightly higher temperature, around 160°F (71°C), to ensure safe and thorough drying.

Once fully dehydrated, homemade jerky can be stored in airtight containers for months. It's a convenient, protein-rich snack for on-the-go or a delicious addition to charcuterie boards and camping trips.

Dehydrating Herbs for Enhanced Flavors

Preserving fresh herbs is a wonderful way to extend their usage and retain their intense flavors. A food dehydrator offers a simple yet effective method to dry herbs without losing their essential oils and aromatic compounds.

Harvest your chosen herbs from your garden or purchase them fresh from a local market. Rinse them gently with water and pat them dry thoroughly. Arrange the herb sprigs on the dehydrator trays, leaving space between them for the air to circulate.

Set the dehydrator temperature to around 95°F (35°C) to prevent heat damage to the delicate herbs. It usually takes several hours, up to 24, for the herbs to dry completely. Ensure they are fully brittle before removing from the dehydrator.

Once dried, remove the leaves from the stems and crush them into fine granules. Store the herbs in airtight containers away from direct sunlight. They can be used to add flavor to a wide range of dishes such as soups, salads, sauces, and marinades or blended into homemade seasoning mixes.

The Unexpected Delights of Dehydrated Dairy

While drying fruits, vegetables, and herbs is more commonplace, dehydrating dairy products may surprise you. Certain types of cheeses, yogurt, and even milk can be transformed into unique, long-lasting delights using a food dehydrator.

To make dehydrated cheese, start with slices of your preferred hard cheese, such as cheddar or Parmesan. Arrange the cheese slices on the dehydrator trays, leaving space between them. For added flavor, consider sprinkling herbs, spices, or garlic powder onto the slices.

Dehydrate the cheese at a low temperature, between 95-125°F (35-51°C), for several hours until the slices become crispy. Once done, allow them to cool before transferring them to an airtight container to retain their crispness.

Similarly, you can also dry yogurt or milk by spreading them thinly on dehydrator trays lined with parchment paper. Set the dehydrator at the lowest possible temperature and wait for approximately 12-24 hours until the liquid has evaporated entirely.

These dehydrated dairy products can be used as crispy toppings for salads and soups or ground into powders to enhance the flavors of sauces, pasta dishes, or even popcorn.


A food dehydrator is a versatile kitchen tool that opens up a world of possibilities beyond just drying fruits and vegetables. From flavorful dried fruits to homemade jerky and dehydrated herbs, the creativity and potential for culinary exploration are endless. Embrace the versatility of your food dehydrator and start experimenting with these exciting ideas to make the most of your appliance and enjoy nutritious, delicious snacks like never before.


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