Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600532
Judging when food is dry requires experience. Check food to be sure enough moisture has been removed to make it impossible for mold and bacteria to grow and cause decay. It is better to overdry than to underdry. When in doubt, continue drying for additional time. Dehydrator drying generally takes less time than oven drying. Allow the product to cool before testing.
VEGETABLES Vegetables are sufficiently dried when they are hard and brittle or tough and leathery, depending on the vegetable. Edges will be sharp. Beans, corn and peas are hard and will shatter when hit with a hammer. Leafy thin vegetables should be brittle. Larger chunks or slices of vegetables should be leather.
FRUITS Fruits are adequately dried when moisture cannot be squeezed from them. Most fruits will feel leathery and pliable when properly dried.
FRUIT LEATHERS Fruit leathers may be slightly sticky to the touch but separate easily from the plastic wrap. For long term storage, dry leathers until they are no longer sticky.
HERBS Herbs are brittle when dried. Leaves shatter when rubbed together.
MEATS Meats and all protein foods should be VERY dry unless refrigerated or frozen for long-term storage. Meat is sufficiently dried when it is dark in color and fibrous.