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When you’re looking for a healthy afternoon snack for you and your family, dried fruits and veggies can be the perfect solution. Veggie chips, apple slices, and dried banana chips are delicious! However, those store-bought brands can be really expensive and contain some extra yucky ingredients you want to avoid.
So, why not dehydrate your own food at home for healthier (and cheaper) snack options?
Electric dehydrators are a great way to dehydrate your own food; however, those can be really expensive. They’re also big and bulky, taking up a lot of space in your kitchen. And some people may only use this appliance once in a blue moon.
There is a better way to dehydrate your fruits and veggies – your oven!
Not only can you make your own snacks, but it’s a great way to use up excess amounts of food before it spoils and retain much of the nutritional value. Dried food is also great to make ahead of long trips, camping adventures or add in later to oatmeal, muffins, soups or other dishes.
How to Dehydrate Food in the Oven
- Once you’ve selected your fruits and veggies, wash and slice each piece, removing seeds and cores.
- Next, blanch your vegetables. You do so by boiling them first, then cooling them in ice water, which helps to preserve the texture and taste. You want the veggies soft but not cooked.
- Once the veggies are no longer warm, spread them evenly in a single layer on a pan or cookie sheet.
- If you’re using fruits, instead of blanching them, dip them into a mixture of lemon juice and water for 1 minute before placing them on the pan or cookie sheet. This will help keep the flavor and color.
- Turn on your oven to the lowest setting, usually about 140-150 degrees F. You want a temperature hot enough to dry the food but not so hot that it cooks it. However, if your oven doesn’t have a setting that low, set it to the “warm” setting.
- Note: In some ovens, the lowest temperature is 170 degrees F, so in this case, you might need to play around with propping the door open slightly. I recommend always using a separate oven thermometer. They are really cheap and easy to find at your local store or even online at Amazon, like this one by Rubbermaid.
- Place your tray(s) inside the oven but prop the door open a few inches to help circulate the air.
- When you’re done drying the food, store it in airtight jars or baggies in a cool, dark area.
Foods Perfect for Dehydrating
Here is a list of fruits and veggies that are perfect to dehydrate:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Green Beans
Have you ever used your oven to dehydrate food? What is your favorite food(s) to dehydrate? Leave a comment below!