This is a list of food drying resources from reputable sources whose directions we have found result in good quality dried food products. The list will grow as we have time to evaluate and assess more resources.
The search for reliable food drying information is different from reliable home canning resources.
With home canning, safety is the critical factor. As well, ongoing evidence-based research is continually advancing knowledge in the field, so it’s important to use the most recent editions of various reputable sources. Opinions about canning resources are largely based on how well they instruct users in following tested, research-based methods of home canning.
With food drying, quality is the critical factor. Not a lot changes about what we know about optimal safety / quality factors in this field, so it’s okay if you look at a source from the 2000s or even 1990s (though if they release an update, prefer that, as they may have changed recommendations based on quality feedback from users.) Opinions about the resources are largely based on quality and preferences.
Some preliminary research is being done sporadically about a possible role that preparation methods might play in reducing the risks of salmonella, E. coli, listeria, etc in dried foods, but as no solid recommendations have floated to the top yet on that, it’s difficult to say what to make of it.
Suggested print books
Andress, Elizabeth L. and Judy A. Harrison. So Easy to Preserve. University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Bulletin 989. Sixth Edition. 2014. Page 55. (38 pages on dehydrating. In depth advice.)
Ball Blue Book. Muncie, Indiana: Healthmark LLC / Jarden Home Brands. Edition 37. 2014. (9 pages on dehydrating).
Butcher, Meredith L., Ed. The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving. New York: Oxmoor House. 2016. (6 pages on dehydrating).
Excalibur. Preserve it naturally. Sacramento, California. 4th edition, 2012. (Entire book is dedicated to dehydrating, 194 pages.) [Ed: be wary of editions on Amazon, they appear to be older editions. You might as well get the most recent, which as of November 2017 is 4th edition, 2012.]
Note that all of the books above give information on how to preserve foods by drying, in various depths of coverage. The Preserve it naturally book, however, also has a very extensive recipe section for using your dried foods.
Suggested online reading and reference
(All links valid as of January 2018. Please let us know if you find that any of these links have gone bad over time.)
How do I dry? National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Drying Foods at Home. University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension. Powerpoint presentation. 2013.
Drying Fruits and Vegetables. Swanson, Marilyn A. et al. Pacific Northwest Extension. PNW 397. Third edition, 2009. [Ed: Fruit pretreatment suggested dip ratios differ from most other sources]
Drying Fruits and Vegetables (Dehydration). LaBorde, Luke and Martha Zepp. PennState Extension. Code EE0065. August 2017.
Preserving herbs by freezing or drying. Driessen, Suzanne, ed. University of Minnesota Extension Service. Reviewed 2018.
Drying Project Manual. (Drying for ages 8–18). Lanting, Rhea, et al. Pacific Northwest Extension Publication PNW 651. Sept 2013. [Ed: Fruit pretreatment suggested dip ratios differ from most other sources]
Drying Vegetables. P. Kendall, P. DiPersio and J. Sofos. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension. Publication no. 9.308. July 2004.
Drying Vegetables. Garden-Robinson, Julie. North Dakota State University Extension Service. FN1588. 2012.
Methods for drying food at home. Driessen, Suzanne, ed. University of Minnesota Extension Service. 2016.
Preserving Food: Drying Fruits and Vegetables. Harrison, Judy A. and Elizabeth L. Andress. University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service. FDNS-E-43-10. July 2000.
Using Dehydration to Preserve Fruits, Vegetables, and Meats. Rene Boyer. Virginia Cooperative Extension. Pub # 348-597. June 1999.
Educational videos on food drying
Academic level series – University of Guelph
This is a series of background information lectures accompanied by slides.
Introduction to the Dehydration of Foods. You Tube presentation learning series, technical and science overview. Donald G. Mercer. Department of Food Science, Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph. August 2017
Drying vegetables – University of Alaska
Drying herbs – University of Alaska
General drying advice – University of Minnesota
Basics of food drying – University of Missouri
General information on drying foods – Michigan State
Drying vegetables – University of Georgia
Testing dried fruit for doneness – University of Georgia