Food Drying Methods

Clyde / April 28, 2016

There’s nothing quite like a crunchy apple chip. They’re fun and easy to make and can easily be made in any number of ways. In fact, just about any food can be dried and eaten in this fashion. It’s a fun healthy way to snack and it’s a great way to preserve food for future use. Many doomsday preppers favor drying foods over other methods due to the portability of dried foods.

Sun dried

One of the first methods used to dry foods was the sun. Foods were cut thinly and draped over drying racks outside in the full sun. Depending upon the foods some where lightly covered with a cloth to prevent birds or bugs from landing upon them. Sun dried foods are a great addition to any pantry, however, they do take longer to dry in the sun than foods dried by other methods. Sun dried foods can take from one to several days to dry. The thinner the food is sliced and the hotter the day the quicker the foods will dry.

Oven drying

Many choose to use the oven drying method to dry foods. This method works well for most foods and is fairly easy. Simply turn the oven on to a low setting between 200 Fahrenheit and 225 Fahrenheit and place the foods on a baking sheet. Check foods at least every hour and as they are drying check them more frequently. Be sure to turn foods as they dry so that they will dry evenly. Foods must be watched very carefully using the oven. If the oven is too hot they will burn and if it’s too cool the foods won’t dry properly. Foods dried using this method can take anywhere from 7 hours to 36 hours.


There are many commercial dehydrators available on the market today. Some are simple without a fan and the user simply places the foods on a tray and stacks the next tray on top. Most of this sort of dryer doesn’t have a fan and the drying can take a bit longer. Foods dried using this method usually take 24 to 36 hours to completely dry.

The other version of dryer has a fan that is usually in the back of the drying unit. The dehydrators with a fan seem to work the quickest and most efficiently for drying a lot of foods at one time. Additionally, most of the units with a fan also have a temperature gauge that can be set for specific foods. The types of foods are usually listed on the gauge and a temperature is easy to set to follow these guidelines. Food can usually be dried within 7 to 24 hours (depending upon the type of food) in this sort of dehydrator.

Foods that are dehydrated are lightweight and easily portable in case of an emergency. They retain their nutrients and are easily rehydrated for cooking or eating purposes. Some foods are absolutely delicious when eaten in their dried state such as apple chips and other fruits or jerkies. Dehydrating food is quick and easy and a great way to preserve an over abundant harvest.