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Using a dehydrator to process fruit and veg

tessagardenbarmytessagardenbarmy York,North YorkshirePosts: 346
Does any one having experience  with using these.  Just bought one as freezer rammed and full up on jams and preserves so I'd thought to try drying. Very mixed results  first time. The guide that came with it isn't  very detailed. 
Any hints or tips about temperature and time takenand what works well would be appreciated .
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  • tessagardenbarmytessagardenbarmy York,North YorkshirePosts: 346
    This is a photo of it. Think I made the mistake of having too many different  things drying at same time.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 31,561
    @Pat E uses a dehydrator. She should be able to help.
    Devon.
  • Pat EPat E Posts: 11,030
    Hi Tess. I’ve been using a food drying machine for several years. It looks very different from your machine. 
    I find it very convenient to dry my Vegs and herbs etc and store them in jars in a cupboard as we are always scrambling for space in our freezer.
    Im not sure why yours looks so wet. I always slice my tomatoes fairly thinly. Maybe you could try putting less in. I don’t think they would store well if they aren’t thoroughly dry. 
    Hope this helps.

    S. E. NSW
  • Pat EPat E Posts: 11,030

    This is my Machine.

    S. E. NSW
  • SkandiSkandi Northern DenmarkPosts: 1,438
    edited August 2018
    I do a lot of drying at this time of year, using my grandmothers 30 year old harvest maid! (which works exactly as the picture above shows just 4/20 trays)
    I do mix things in mine, but (for my machine yours may be different) things at the bottom dry faster so I either rotate the trays round or put stuff that needs less time at the top. As for temperature fruits can take 40-50c but herbs you want to do as low as it goes. It also depends on the humidity of the air, I normally do my apple slices overnight (around 10 hours) but the last lot turned into apple crisps as I also had the dehumidifier running in the same room.
    I have found that timings vary, from 3-4 hours for rosepetals to 24hrs for grapes.
    I would make a guess that you have too much in there (because of the condensation) try it with about half that load and see how it goes, remember you should only have a single layer in each tray, and if you have a roll up tray (solid silicon sheet) put it on the bottom tray even if whatever you have in there doesn't need it, it'll save a lot of cleanup at the end.
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,088
    I don’t have a machine but I find if you peel and core apples, thread them onto lengths of dowelling and suspend them in a fan oven at its lowest setting (40°C) they will dry in a few hours. I also hang some, the same way, over the wood burner and they dry well there quite quickly.

    Obviously not for enormous quantities and only for apples and not very beautiful, but it works for me.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 7,480
    I use a similar machine to Pat but mines a Lazer 2000 or something like that. It's my second one since my first one died but at least I can reuse the trays from the broken one so I have the full 10 trays now. Having more trays is so useful it makes me wonder why they don't just come with 10 to start with... It has 2 functions: on and off. Nice and simple but I can't help with your settings I'm afraid. I find that it's best to do one type of food at a time as everything take a different time to dry. You need to make sure everything is laid out with good gaps to allow the air to flow and everything is cut to a consistant thickness. Perhaps that's why you're getting condensation forming? I find I have to rotate the trays top to bottom every few hours and flip the food over to make sure it dries evenly.

    I do jars and jars of dried apple every year and that's my main use for it now. I have a tool that peels, slices and cores apples so I can process a box full in no time at all. I do tomatoes if we have a lot but they're very wet and take a long time to do. I made ostrich jerky with it once too and that was excellent. 
    A great library has something in it to offend everybody.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 19,855
    Does anyone use a microwave for drying, I dry herbs in mine but have had a very hot 50c conservatory this year?. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • ZeroZero1ZeroZero1 Posts: 576
    I think it is also possible to dry fruit using a conventional oven on lowest setting- quite what this does for energy bill and environment i don't know....
  • tessagardenbarmytessagardenbarmy York,North YorkshirePosts: 346
    Thank you all for your very very helpful responses.  Will try again bearing in mind all your advice.
    The reason  it looked so wet was the guide said certain veg had to be blanched first and it was obviously  too wet.
    Have tried oven drying with mixed results which is why I've  gone onto a dehydrator. Have kilos of borlotti  beans  this year. In the first year just stored them having dried on the vine and I  got mould in the storage jars.  Last  year I blanched them and oven dried and still got mould. So desperate  to  get  mould free results. 
    Cheers everyone x
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