Making yummy dry snacks at home is a great way for the whole family to eat better. Imagine no more store-bought food laced with nasty preservatives and chemicals. Making snacks in the comfort of your own home, allows you to take back control of your health and that of your family. Dried fruit and veggies boost our fiber and nutrient intake and supply our bodies with much-needed antioxidants. When it comes to dry snacks, not only do we want them nutritious but with just the right amount of flavor and crispiness. The good news is that food dehydrators make food crispy enough as if they were store-bought.
How do food dehydrators make food crispy?
Average drying times for fruit and veggies may vary according to the guidelines set out by your particular dehydrator. Usually, it takes about 6 to 12 hours to dry well. Vegetables usually need a lower temperature than fruits do for dehydration. Set the temperature to 115º F for veggies and between 125°F and 135°F for fruits such as apples, strawberries, bananas, and peaches.
Monitor the progress every few hours and rotate the tray to ensure even drying throughout. After 12 hours in the dehydrator, take a sample to test, once cooled. If you are happy with the desired texture, remove the food chips from the trays and let them cool to room temperature before enjoying them, or store them for snacking later, using moisture-proof resealable bags. Note that it is possible to over-dehydrate fruit and veggies at a too high temperature for too long. You may have to experiment a few times with your food dehydrator to make food crispy enough.
(Find our list of recommended food dehydrators at the end of this article)
Common snacking foods to achieve the best crispiness with?
To start with always use the freshest produce you can find to achieve the best crisp with a food dehydrator. Always slice your fruit or veggies as thinly and uniformly as possible. Using a mandoline or food processor can help achieve this with no effort at all. To help dehydrators make food crispy, distribute the sliced pieces as a single layer across the mesh tray, making sure they do not overlap. Snacking foods that crisp well include radish, beet, zucchini, potato, kale, onion, bananas, kiwi, and apple.
- Slice potatoes paper-thin to ensure good crispiness. You can achieve this with a julienne peeler or a spiral vegetable slicer.
- Sprinkle the potato slices with some sea salt, paprika, or any other seasoning you prefer. At first, you may want to go lightly on the seasoning due to the fact that dehydration tends to concentrate flavors.
- Place the slices on the mesh sheet and dry at 145°F. After 2 hours, turn the temperature down to 105°F and continue dehydration until desired crispiness is achieved.
- Cool at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- Peel the apples, core, and slice them about 1/3 inch thick.
- Use a medium-sized bowl to put your apple pieces in and generously spray them with lemon juice.
- Lay the pieces on the tray making sure they do not overlap.
- Set the temperature at about 130°F or as per the dehydrator instruction guidebook.
- The drying time required is usually about 10 hours. Make sure to check in every 3 hours or so to monitor the progress and rotate the trays for even drying.
- Let the apple slices cool at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
- Opt for bananas that are firm and not overripe. They should be yellow with slight brown speckles for best results. You may want to chill them before, for easier and even slicing.
- Peel and slice bananas evenly with a thickness of 1/5 inch.
- Carefully place the banana slices into a medium-sized bowl and lightly spray with lemon juice. This keeps them from turning brown during the drying process. Lemon juice also acts as a natural preservative.
- Place your slices on the mesh spray. Arrange them out so that the pieces do not touch.
- Allow the banana pieces to dehydrate at 135°F for about 10 to 12 hours. Half way through the process, you can check back in, rotate the trays and flip the pieces if needed.
- Remove when crispy enough and let cool at room temperature.
- Store in a air-tight container.
- Choose kale that is fresh with no rotten leaves.
- Make sure to thoroughly rinse and dry your kale before use.
- Cut out the tough sections with kitchen scissors to help them dehydrate evenly.
- Brush a little of your favorite olive oil evenly onto the leaves and follow with a light sprinkle of fine sea salt for taste.
- Gently place the leaves on the trays to dehydrate at about 115°F for 6 to 8 hours or until crispy.
- Store this delicious snack in a airtight container.
Last thoughts on whether food dehydrators make food crispy.
Using the right food dehydrator to make food crispy can quite possibly change your life. They are not all equal. People are often disappointed with less expensive brands. Some even consider successful food hydration an art. If getting just the right degree of crisp for your snack-making is important to you, then consider investing in a high-quality dehydrator.
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