Using a Food Dehydrator – Do's and Don'ts
Do slice food into 1/4 inch slices or strips prior to placing them in the food dehydrator. This will ensure that the maximum amount of food surface is exposed to the dehydrator's heat and air flows.
Do spread the slices as evenly and thoroughly as possible on the dehydrator sheets. Again this will help make the dehydrating process as complete and efficient as possible.
Do occasionally check the drying status of the items. Slices closest to the dehydrator's fan can dry more quickly than the rest of the food. Rotating drying trays every few hours can alleviate this.
Do dry items thoroughly and then allow them to cool at room temperature before sealing them in an air tight container. Dried items taken directly out of a dehydrator can "sweat" even though their moisture content is low. Allowed a post-dehydration cooling off time period, before sealing them in a container, will ensure that moisture is not trapped inside the container.
Do occasionally clean the unit with warm water, especially the bottom of the dryer where bits of food may gather.
Do not be afraid to experiment with different foods, recipes and food preparations.
Do not try and speed up the food drying process by raising the dehydrator thermostat above that food's recommended dehydrating temperature level. This can cause case hardening; an incomplete dehydration that can result in a hard food exterior, too moist of an interior and premature food spoilage.
Do not dehydrate different food categories together; dehydrate fruits with fruits and vegetables with vegetables. Dehydrating events or asparagus along with bananas or other fruit is not advised.
Do not forget to put dehydration date labels on the containers containing the dried foods. This will help monitor their age and shelf life.
Do not dehydrate food in a microwave oven.