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Home > Food Preservation Articles, Reviews, & Buyers Guides > How do I prepare foods for dehydration?

How do I prepare foods for dehydration?  Item Number: How-to-prepare-foods

Preparation of Foods For Dehydration (Pre-Treatment)

For best results, select the freshest foods available to dehydrate.  Note that immature fruits and vegetables do not have as much color and flavor as do those that are fully matured.  Foods should be dehydrated as soon after purchase as possible.  Foods high in sugar such as apples, pears, peaches and bananas are prone to darkening as a result of oxidation of sugars.  Below are some pre-treatments that will help reduce this effect.

Lemon and Pineapple Juice

Place the sliced produce in the juice for a few minutes.  Remove, drain and place on the dehydrator shelf.  For extra flavor, try sprinkling on cinnamon, Jell-O powers or other sweeteners.

Ascorbic Acid Mix

This is a form of vitamin C which is available at most health food stores, and comes in either a tablet or powder form.  Use about 2-3 tablespoons of powder or ground tablets in a quart of water.  Stir to completely dissolve powder.  Place fruit into the solution for 2-3 minutes.  Remove, drain and place on the dehydrator shelf.

Sodium Bisulfate

Available at local pharmacies.  If you or anyone who will be eating the food has any known chemical allergies, you should check with your physician before using this chemical.  Be certain to ask for food grade product only.  Mix 1 teaspoon of sodium bisulfate in 1 quart of water.  Bip the sliced fruit in the solution for a few minutes.  Remove, drain and place on the dehydrator shelf. 


Blanching is used primarily to prepare fruits and vegetables for dehydrating that have skins that will toughen during drying.  This process helps lock in the color and flavor as well as soften the skin of grapes, cherries, prunes and plums.  There are two blanching methods, water and steam.

  1. Water Blanching - Fill a large pan about half full of water.  Bring water to a boil.  Use tongs to place food directly into the water, cover pan and blanch for about 3 minutes.  Remove, drain and place on the dehydrator shelf.
  2. Steam blanching - Using a steamer pot such as one used in Chinese cooking, put 2-3 inches of water in the pan and bring to a boil.  Place food into the steamer basket, place in pan and cover.  Steam food for about 5 minutes.  Remove and place on the dehydrator shelf.


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