Good Books on Dehydrating

Aagaard Farms asked our Facebook community for any advice on books or websites on dehydrating.  We love requests like this – it makes coming up with ideas for new posts that much easier.  And we do love to share…

Before reviewing a few of the books we have on the topic, I have to emphasize that dehydrating is a far simpler science than many other types of preserving.  Don`t run out and buy a bunch of books – the book that comes with your dehydrator is often more than enough to get you started – and once you`ve started you`ll figure out a lot of this on your own (the exceptions being when you are working with meat or dairy which take more guidance.

The three essentials of dehydrating:

  • Control of temperature and knowing which temperatures to use.  If you dry herbs too hot they`ll brown – do fruit too cool and it`s won`t dry (or will take a very long time).
  • Precise thickness.  I use a mandoline.  A 3 mm slice of berry will dry 50% after a 2mm slice.  Using a hand slicer saves a bunch of time checking each product individually.
  • Space between the product for air circulation (if I`m using a slicer I cheat this and it adds time but does not interferes with completing the process)

With all that being said, here`s 3 books we have (and occasionally refer to):

Preserve it Naturally (3rd Edition) – The Complete Guide to Food Dehydration – Excaliber
This came as a `gift`with our dehydrator.  I particularly like that the photos and references match my dehydrated (although it could easily be used by others).  There`s a coding system that shows dehydration times and temperatures that took a while for me to learn but once I found the legend, it became very useful.  There is nothing glamorous or romantic about this book and it looks like it`s from 1970 – but it`s a workhorse and it`s lack of fluff makes this a solid guide to find what you need as you need it.  It`s a great resource.

How to Dry Foods – Deanna DeLong
A very thorough guide that will take you from beginner to expert by the time you reach the end of the book.  I appreciate that it`s well organized by ingredient and includes more updated recipes than what may be in the resource above – but this extra benefit can make finding core information (like temperatures) more difficult to find.  A good tool if you lack the confidence or want to be handed recipes that will yield dependable results.

The Dehydrator Bible – Jennifer MacKenzie, Jay Nutt, Don Mercer
This one`s an encyclopedia.  It`s a good resource for `recipes on the spot`but may be overwhelming if you`re starting out.  I like to have it on the shelf in case I`m looking to expand ideas but it`s recipes are so literal (an advantage to many) that I prefer to use this to brainstorm my own ideas from rather than to use it each piece.  This could apply to all levels of home preservers but I like it best as an on-demand reference as opposed to a manual.

We`ll also get a better list of recipes and articles here in the future – in the meantime here`s a link to a Google search of a bunch of our articles on dehydrating.

What are other great sites and books out there about dehydrating that you`d like to share?

Comments

  1. Aagaard Farms says:

    Awesome info, thank you! My dehydrator came with a very basic little ‘pamphlet’ so I’m looking for other ideas, recipes, combos. I’ll also check your other articles, of course! You’re becoming my go-to source!

  2. Whenever I have a dehydrating question, I head on over to http://www.dehydrate2store.com …her videos are fabulous and chances are, if it can be dehydrated, there’s instructions on how to do it. No books required.

  3. I too refer to http://dehydrate2store.com/ whenever I have dehydration questions. Fantastic website and videos…

  4. The Ball Blue Book, which my dad picked up at a farmers market in the nineties. It’s okay, but not especially helpful for working in New Jersey, where all summer, there is no such thing as a cool, dry place. I would love some advice that is specific to dehydrating in a humid environment.

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