Illustrations by Rachel Morris

Contrary to what infomercials tell you, you don’t need a fancy dehydrator to DIY healthy snacks. In fact, dehydration is one of the oldest methods of preserving food. Prehistoric people in China, Persia and Greece sun-dried seeds long before the era of commercialized food appliances.

Drying is a simple process, but it can be tedious. In order to get the desired product, you’ll need a bit of time (to monitor the operation), patience and fairy dust. (Okay, you can skip the fairy dust, but it does make good seasoning.)

Grab a candy bar from the vending machine? Nope, not you. Drive-thru Taco Bell? No need, because you have your very own dehydrated snack to munch on. Perks of making your own dehydrated foods include (but are not limited to): knowing exactly what ingredients you’re consuming, saving money on store-bought snacks, reducing waste by dehydrating instead of throwing out older foods and, of course, bragging rights. 

Dehydrating Methods 

what you’ll need

    • Ripe fruits & vegetables
    • Lemon juice
    • Kettle
    • Parchment paper
    • A microwave or oven & baking sheet
    • Tempeh
    • Storage container

blanching 101

Before beginning the dehydration process, you need to blanch your chosen fruits or vegetables to lengthen shelf life. The easiest way to blanch is to briefly submerge your chosen food in boiling water, then immediately after transfer it to a bowl with cold water. Blanching preserves color and nutrients.

Microwave drying (for apples)

Microwave on “defrost” for varying amounts of time until the apples are crisp and curled up on the edges.

oven drying

This method takes a few hours. Put your oven on the lowest setting (optimally 125-135 degrees Fahrenheit). Set it to convection or crack the door. We recommend popping a fan next to the opening to wick away moisture.


Fruit

before BAKING

Wash, core and cut the apple into thin rings or slices. Then blanch and coat in a mix of lemon juice and water – in a ratio of 1 tablespoon per cup of water – to prevent darkening during preparation.  

oven
  1. Arrange slices on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.
  2. Place in oven on lowest heat setting.
  3. Bake for 5 to 6 hours, depending on oven.
  4. Flip the slices when the edges of the apples start to curl up.
  5. Remove from oven once the edges are crisp. 
  6. Let Cool.
  7. Store and enjoy!
microwave
  1. Arrange slices on a microwave-safe plate covered in parchment paper.
  2. Microwave for 4 and a half to 5 minutes on defrost setting or until edges of apples start to curl up. 
  3. Flip each slice and continue to microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until edges are crisp.
  4. Remove from microwave and let cool.
  5. Store and enjoy!

Vegetables

BEFORE BAKING

Chop the cauliflower and blanch in boiling water for 5 to 6 minutes, then chill it quickly in an ice bath to keep it from continuing to cook. Set out on paper towel to dry.

OVEN
  1. Arrange slices on a cooking sheet covered in parchment paper.
  2. Place in oven on lowest heat setting.
  3. Bake for between 6 to 14 hours.
  4. Rotate the sheet regularly for even drying. 
  5. The cauliflower will be brittle when done. Let cool before storing.
*We recommend cauliflower 

Protein

 *We recommend tempeh
BEFORE BAKING

Thinly slice the tempeh, then marinate it in a mason jar overnight. For marinade, try soy sauce, sriracha, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup or garlic. Dry with paper towels before baking.

oven
  1. Place in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Bake at 200 degrees, for about 2 to 2 and a half hours.
  3. Store tempeh in a container with a tight-fitting lid to protect against moisture and bugs. You can pack your container as full as possible as long as the pieces don’t crush each other.