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Food Dehydration Problems: How to solve food drying problems

Common Food Dehydration Problems and How to Fix Them

Drying your own food, when done correctly,  is yields a higher quality and safer food than most commercially produced dehydrated fruit and vegetables. Here's how to solve some of the common problems in drying your own fruit and vegetables.

Observed Problem Likely Cause Solution
Moisture in the Jar or Container Some or all of the pieces are not dry enough. Ensure that drying is actually complete. Test several pieces for dryness before stopping the drying process.
If the pieces are not cut evenly (roughly the same size and thickness) some may not be dry. Cut food evenly.
Dried food was left at room temperature for too long after cooling and the foods absorbed moisture from the air. Cool quickly and package immediately when cool.
Mold on Food Some or all of the pieces are not dry enough. Test several pieces for dryness.
You did not check the foods for moisture within a week after drying. Check container within one week for moisture in containers. Re-dry food at 140 ºF until dry.
The containers are not airtight. Use airtight containers.
Storage temperature was too warm AND there was still moisture in the dried foods. Store foods in coolest area of home below 70 ºF.
Case hardening. Food dried at too high a temperature and food cooked on outside before the inside dried. Dry food at 140 ºF.
Brown Spots on Vegetables Too-high drying temperature was used. Dry vegetables at 140 ºF
Vegetables were over-dried. Check periodically for dryness.
Insects in Jars Incomplete sealing due to improperly fitting lids Use new canning lids or lids that exactly match the jars.
The foods were dried out-of-doors and then not pasteurized. Pasteurize foods in oven at 160 ºF for 30 minutes or in freezer for 48 hours.
Holes in Plastic Bags Insects or rodents ate through the plastic bags. Avoid use of plastic bags except when food can be stored in refrigerator or freezer, or put the bags in a metal, wood, or heavy duty plastic container with no opening, so no rodents or bugs could enter, or if they did eat through, it would be immediately obvious