Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600518


  1.  Trays must be at least 1 1/2 inches narrower than  the
inside  of the oven to allow for air circulation.  Allow  at
least 2 1/2 inches between trays and 3 inches of free  space
at the top of the oven.  Cheesecloth may be spread over  the
trays (under the food) to prevent small pieces from  falling
between the slats.                                          

  2. Load two to four trays with no more than 4 to 6  pounds
of  prepared  vegetables distributed among  them.  Vegetable
pieces  should be in a single layer.  More than one kind  of
vegetable  can be dried at the same  time.   Strong-smelling
vegetables should be dried separately.                      

  3.  Place an accurate and easily read thermometer  on  the
top tray toward the back.                                   

  4. Preheat the  oven to 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees
Celsius),  and then  add  the  loaded trays.  Prop  the door
open at least 4 inches.                                     

  5.  Place a fan outside the oven in such a  position  that
air  is  directed through the opening and across  the  oven.
Change  the position of the fan frequently during drying  to
vary the circulation of the air.                            

  6. Maintain the temperature at 140  degrees Fahrenheit (60
degrees   Celsius).   It  takes   less  heat  to   keep  the
temperature at 140 degrees  Fahrenheit as drying progresses,
so watch  the  temperature carefully  toward  the end of the

  7.  Examine  the  vegetables often,  and  turn  the  trays
frequently.   At the start of the drying process,  there  is
little danger of scorching, but when nearly dry, the product
may  scorch  easily.   Even slight  scorching  destroys  the
flavor and may lower the nutritive value, so be careful  not
to  allow   the  temperature  to  rise  above  140   degrees
Fahrenheit, especially during the latter stage of drying.   

  NOTE:  Tests for dryness will come with  experience.   The
approximate  drying  times  are merely a  guide  to  judging
proper  dryness.    Most vegetables will be brittle when dry
and would shatter if hit with a hammer.                     

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