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How to dehydrate food without a dehydrator?

Food dehydration is a slow process. It takes out the water from the food without breaking down the nutrition values. Dried foods can be preserved for a long time. We can use the dried foods for future use. Dehydrated foods are good snacks as well. But what if you do not have a food dehydrator? In this article, I am going to discuss how you can dehydrate food naturally without a dehydrator. 

Sundry the foods naturally

Food dehydration is a slow process. Drying up the foods in direct sunlight is even slower.  You should make small slices of the foods and keep them in direct sunlight.  It may take few days to complete the drying up.  However,  the time depends on the size of the slices.  You should also keep spaces in between the slices.  I also recommend you flip the pieces every three to four hours. 

The sun-drying method is not equally good for all kind of foods. Herbs, tomatoes, potatoes and vegetables have proven results using this method. You may also try dehydrating some fruits such as apple using the same technique.  But for others, I  would suggest you give it a try. 

Using an air fryer 

Nowadays air fryers are in every kitchen.  There are so many variants of air fires you will find in the market.   It is a great option for dehydrating foods at home without a dehydrator. But all your fires are not equally good to accomplish this job. 

Some air fryers have dehydrator preset mode.  They have a low temperature of around 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  Therefore,  if your air fryer does not have a dehydrator option,  then check the minimum temperature you may get with it.  120 degree Fahrenheit it is ok for food dehydration.  But a normal air fryer may have a low temperature of around 180 degrees Fahrenheit which is not good for food dehydration. 

If your air fryer meets the requirement then the process is similar.  Slice the foods into small pieces. Make the pieces as thin as possible. Peel off the food if necessary.  Finally, arrange the slices on the tray and set the temperature and timer. 

Instant Vortex 10 Quart air fryer is a good example of an air fryer that can dehydrate as well. It has a large capacity cooking chamber. Therefore, you can cook for moderately large batches. If you want to read the full review on it, you can read the article about Instant Vortex air fryer here.

Using a convection toaster oven

You may also use your convection toaster oven for food dehydration. As with the air fryer, make sure that the oven has a dehydrator option. Otherwise, if you can set the temperature manually, make sure that the oven gives you a lower temperature of around 100 to 120 degrees fahrenheit. 

The advantage of using the convection oven is that it has a higher capacity than the air fryer. Therefore, you can dehydrate more food at a time. If the oven has multiple racks, then use all of them so that you can maximize the capacity and dehydrate more foods at a time. 

Dehydration process using a convection toaster oven is nothing different. Make the slices of the foods like before. Then set the parameter and let it dry out for 10 to 12 hours or as per the requirements. 

COSORI 12 in 1 convection toaster oven and air fryer combo is a good example of such a kitchen appliance that can dehydrate as well. The wider temperature range of 100 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit has made it possible to not only dehydrate but also toast, broil and other versatile cooking. You may read our full article on COSORI air fryer and toaster oven here.

Dehydrating using fire

Fire drying of foods is a primitive process. If you have a consistent source of fire, then you may place the sliced fruits or vegetables around the fire to dry them up. However, it may not possible to control the temperature in this process. Therefore, it is not the best way to dehydrate foods. Fire drying is usually done in an open space. Therefore, protect your food from the animals as you need to let the foods on the ground for a long time. 

However, a good dehydrator is the best option for food dehydration. If you don’t have it yet, then you may see our recommended dehydrators for fruits and vegetables. Dehydrators are not expensive, you may also check the best dehydrators under or around $100.

Final words

Whichever process you follow to dehydrate food, the basic principle is that the temperature has to be as low as possible. In the dehydration process, we get the water out of the food without breaking the nutritions. At high temperature, the water removing process gets faster, but the food gets cooked. Therefore, they can not be preserved for long. 

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