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Dehydrating TimesGo to page 1, 2 Next Page >>
Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:43 amNewbie "Fry Cook" Poster
I recently purchased the 700-watt Nesco food dehydrator. All of the reviews on Amazon and elsewhere mentioned how fast the dehydrating times were and I've seen YouTube videos where people using this machine cite 8 hours or less drying time for many different kinds of foods.
However, I am finding that I need at least 24 hours to dry even small, cut up pieces of things like sweet peppers, hot peppers and garlic.
I'm creating my own powders/rubs so I need the food to be crispy dry for grinding.
For example, I put in some small pieces of sweet pepper and green chiles yesterday morning around 9:00am, and now 24 hours later in the Nesco dehydrator, they are still rubbery and I can feel some moisture in them.
Could it be that my thermostat is broke in the dehydrator? I'm perplexed as to why so many people are reporting fast drying times with this machine, but I am needing 3x as long to dry food.
Thanks for any feedback you can offer.
Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:21 amForum Host
It is very difficult to give an exact time frame for dehydrating foods because of all the variables. Humidity in and outside the home, thickness and type of cut, how loaded the trays are, and even different brands of produce can all affect dehydration time. Also, the type of dehydrator you use plays a large role. If the fan is on the top or bottom of your dehydrator it will take longer for the food to dry because the circulation of air flow is disrupted by the other trays. If the fan is in the back of the dehydrator (where it should be) your food will dry faster and more evenly.
The most important part is not so much the length of time in the dehydrator, but the percentage of remaining moisture left. For long term storage, you want to stay at 95% and above. Testing for dryness will be your best barometer. Your food should easily snap and should not be sticking together.
See if you don't find this information helpful: NESCO HELPFUL HINTS (link)
There's a link on the left side of the page to contact them for further information and I'm sure some of our other members will have helpful input.
Welcome to the forum. It's nice to meet a new friend!
Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:42 pmNewbie "Fry Cook" Poster
I have a lesser quality Nesco that works great.
I need 8-10 hours on jerky meat.
18 hours on nut clusters.
herbs are two hours or less
veggie stix cut julian style are typically 12 hours for me.
Are you experimenting with thickness of the veggie? A super thin cut should be very quick.
Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:16 pmNewbie "Fry Cook" Poster
Thanks for your reply.
I cut banana peppers length-wise into long strips, about four strips for each banana peppers, so fairly thin. After about 8 hours, they had shriveled to twigs except they still had moisture, especially the fatter ends closer to the stem were still wet.
As of now, they've been drying 28 hours and the fatter ends STILL have moisture in them. They're not just bendable, but I can see and feel a film of water on my hands from touching them.
It just doesn't sound right. I can feel that the unit is blowing warm air. I just seem to be experiencing extraordinary long drying times compared to all of the other info that I've read online and watching videos on YouTube. I have not read in any place or watched any videos that state that it will take 24+ hours to dry this stuff.
I even called Nesco and they had no answer for this. They admitted that 24 hours to dry anything seems like a very long time. Then they asked me if I can feel that the unit is blowing warm air and I said yes. They had no other advice for me.
Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:21 pmNewbie "Fry Cook" Poster
Those little peppers should be crisp after 12 hours IMO.
I think your dehydrator is on the fritz. You can compare buy using a low oven temp or maybe track down a different dehydrator.
Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:09 pmFood.com Groupie
Keep in mind a great deal depends also on your local humidity. I live by the gulf and we have a high humidity level and that will cause my times to be longer. Molly is absolutely right that it is the amount of moisture in the end product that is important. How you cut and slice the product to be dehydrated also is a key factor, thick equals time in this case. I would add no one should dehydrate in a hurry, it is a slow food process. I own two 9 tray Excalibur and at least one is always going and during some parts of the year and holidays both are running.
Some things you could try are, add a thermometer to you tray and check the temps, be sure the fan is running smoothly at all times, and make sure that the air flow is not blocked somehow by walls or containers or clutter.
BTW, if you have never soaked and then dehydrated nuts, almonds, walnuts and others, give yourself a treat. First time do them plain so you can experience a really tasty pure nut, next time soak, then run through a seasoning of some sort and dehydrate. You will never buy those nasty salted things again!
I haven't used the Nesco but it looks like it will get the job done just work with it. I hope you get years worth of use out of you new tool, and mostly just don't give up. We are vegans and in the warm months mostly go raw to save on electricity and heat in the home. Now is the time to play with the dehydrator and make it your friend. lol
Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:11 pmForum Host
have you tried putting a thermometer in to see if it's maintaining the temps shown in the article Molly linked?
Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:04 pmNewbie "Fry Cook" Poster
I'm in Toronto, Canada plus the air in the house seems to be very dry as we have dry skin, etc. I assume this is from dry air from the furnace heating the place. The dehydrator is on the floor in the dining room about three feet away from a floor vent.
I just tried putting in some frozen peas to test another kind of food and after only an hour, many of them are already shriveled and close to dry so that's encouraging. I noticed that the dry peas were all around the outside of the round try and moist peas were around the inside of the round tray so there seems to be a kind of air circulation/temperature difference within the round trays of the Nesco machine.
I absolutely love nuts so I am going to try your idea. When I first started researching the health benefits of foods I was delighted and excited to discover how healthy nuts were because they're one of my favourite things to eat.
I also think dehydrating nuts and adding them to rubs for meats and vegetables could add a very unique flavour along with the spices, dehydrated onions and garlic so I'm going to take your advice and experiment with the nuts.
Thanks for all of the replies. Very helpful.
Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:49 pmNewbie "Fry Cook" Poster
Yes 24 hours is a long time for what you are trying to dry. But I'm sure that you read that drying times will vary by size/type of what you are drying plus your humidity and temp in your house. Is the dehydrator a round or square one? Can you feel air coming out and is it warm, warmer than room temp?
It must have a thermostat to adjust the air temp. If you have a small meat thermometer that won't block where the air escapes try putting it in and see what kind of temps you are getting compared to what the thermostat is set to. Move the temp up ten degrees after about ten minutes and see if it increases.
You certainly don't want to dry veggies and fruits to fast as they will case harden and not dry properly. In fact what you are describing might be from to high a temp. Is the outside seem dry but the pieces still seem rubbery? It could be to high a temp.
Let us know what you find, once you get it working right you will love it.
I just saw the other replies and saw where you have the dehydrator on the floor by a vent. If you furnace is kicking on blowing warm/hot air on it that might not be a good thing. Floor temps are generally 4-8 degrees different than at head level. The dehydrator is making what it thinks is say 130*F and then you add 100*F coming from the vent and then the temp drops off when the furnace stops. You need to put it somewhere where the temp and air flow is stable.
Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:33 pmFood.com Groupie
Soak all nuts overnight or 12 hours. If daytime soaking feel free to rinse a time or two and don't freak out about how yucky that water is, especially with walnuts, your soaking out the bitter acids. I hated and would not eat a raw walnut and didn't like them in my dishes but now they are one of my favorite nuts... go figure. lol So nuts that are soaked and dehydrated will be totally different and have a clean, sweeter, more vibrant taste. After soaking rinse well and put on your trays. I dehydrate nuts at around 125 until I like the crunch, usually 12-24 hours. Like I said I don't get in a hurry.
I noticed the Nesco is a closed system or close meaning low air flow. I mean it seems to stack the trays directly with this style and the fact that you are seeing a difference in the trays we may be talking a system design issue.
If your doing occasional dehydrating this machine looks like a fun one and an inexpensive way to get started. If you decide to really get into it for camping, long term storage, sprouted grain cooking, vegan or raw food diets it is well worth the investment to get one with a good circulation system, especially if you figure out that is what is going on here.
Keep us posted and let us know how you get along.
Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:01 pmNewbie "Fry Cook" Poster
Thanks again for all of the information.
Would the Excalibur be the next step up in dehydrators?
I'm actually testing recipes for rubs and dry powders to retail at a food shop that I work with. If the rubs sell well, I'll need to invest in something more professional grade with either a faster drying time or a much bigger volume of food so that I can yield more powder per drying cycle.
Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:11 pmForum Host
I don't know what the best commercial dehydrator might be, but residential food preservers really like the Excalibur. The fan is in the back of the unit (as opposed to in the bottom). See if you don't find this thread helpful: http://www.food.com/bb/viewtopic.zsp?t=357026
Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:33 pmNewbie "Fry Cook" Poster
I've used both the Excalaber and still have a 25 year old Nesco. Either will do what you want. The excalaber being square can fit more food per level. But after 4 years mine went to heck. The nesco is nice because you can add trays from one to twelve depending upon the amount you are drying.
You won't find one that will dry much faster than another. Temperatures have to be just right to make the product properly along with air flow. If something calls for 115*F you can play with it a little but for the most part these are tried and true numbers to go by for a good result. Drying times are what you will find different depending upon air temps and humidity.
Oh and the nesco isn't totally inclosed the air flows from the outside rings through the middle and out the top hole.
Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:47 pmNewbie "Fry Cook" Poster
Very interesting. Yeah I think I'll load the Nesco that I have with all 12 trays and then just be patient. Like you said, its about maintaining the right temp. and just letting time do its thing.
I do a lot of slow smoking and enjoy long cooking processes so the time itself doesn't both me. It's just getting a large enough yield per drying cycle to meet my needs whether it be personal use or commercial use.
I've also decided to experiment by using my Kitchen Aid warming drawer. I'm going to try a two-step process of using the Kitchen Aid warming drawer to do some of the initial drying, therefore shrinking the product a little bit then move it over to the Nesco. This way I'm getting more product into the Nesco from shrinking it a little first in the Kitchen Aid warming drawer. Kitchen Aid states that the Low setting on the drawer is around 100 degrees and medium-low setting is around 140 degrees.
Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:32 pmFood.com Groupie
I'm sorry to say I had the same probem with the drying times and I have pretty much given up on getting anything bone dry to make a powder. I tried forest mushrooms and onions with no success. I only do tomotoes now because they dont need to be so dry.
The only thing I can figure out is that maybe the dehydrator that was given to me is defective in some way.
I do have a distant niece who dehydrates food and I'll try to get in touch with her and see what she has to say., If I can get any helpful advice from her i'll come back and let you know. DAR
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