Drying food is an ancient food preservation technique. It makes sense why: dehydrated veggies are delicious, healthy, and can last up to 25 years.
Best of all, dehydration reduces food waste. This way, you can feel good about doing your part for the planet while enjoying a tasty snack.
#1 Dehydrated Vegetables are (Almost) as Healthy as Fresh Vegetables
Dehydration is one of the healthiest methods of food preservation.
Since the dehydration process relies on moisture removal, dried vegetables retain most of their nutritional value.
Of course, like any food preservation technique, the food does undergo some nutrient changes.
However, blanching your vegetables before drying them can help maintain nutritional value during long-term storage — but we’ll get into the actual process shortly.
Here are some easy ways to compensate for the nutrients lost after drying vegetables:
- Pre-blanch your vegetables with lemon juice for added Vitamin C
- Add B-vitamin-rich nutritional yeast to your dish
- Take a B-complex and Vitamin C supplement
Don’t forget to drink lots of water if you aren’t rehydrating your veggies! We usually consume 20% of our daily water intake from food.
#2 It’s Easy to Dehydrate Vegetables
It may sound intimidating at first, but dehydrating foods isn’t rocket science. Anybody can do it.
How to Dehydrate Vegetables
Prepare your ripe vegetables by rinsing them under cold water. Remove any undesirable pieces like seeds, stems, and bruises.
Slice your vegetables in roughly equal pieces, so they dry at the same rate. Around ¼-½” thickness is optimal. Slice long, thin veggies lengthwise. Remember, moisture escapes from the cuts, so the more sliced area exposed, the better.
Some vegetables need blanching before dehydrating. Blanching helps maintain freshness while your food is in storage.
Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Optionally add three tablespoons of fresh lemon juice per 2 cups of water to preserve vitamin C content in your food better.
Wrap your vegetables in a cheesecloth, secure the corners, and drop the bundle in the boiling water.
Carefully remove the cheesecloth bundle from the pot and set it in an ice bath for the same amount of time.
Thoroughly dry the vegetables before dehydrating.
Food Dehydrator Method
Set your dehydrator in a dry room with excellent airflow.
Place your vegetables in single layers on the trays. Separate each piece to ensure nothing is touching.
Dehydrate at 140°F checking your food often. Optionally flip your vegetables every few hours for a more even dry.
Since most ovens don’t go as low as 140°F, you can maintain this temperature by leaving the door partially open (2-3”) and placing a fan in front. Use an oven thermometer to ensure you’ve reached the correct temperature.
Arrange vegetables in single layers across baking sheets. Carefully check that no pieces are touching each other.
Check your food often, and never leave your oven unattended while it is running. Optionally flip your vegetables every few hours for a more even dry.
#3 You Can Store Dehydrated Vegetables Up to 25 Years
If you dehydrate your food correctly, there’s no way for bacteria or mold to disturb your food for quite some time.
Microorganisms rely on water to grow. Successfully dehydrated vegetables have a mere 5-25% water content. That’s why dehydration is such a reliable preservation technique!
Other enemies of long-term food storage include oxygen, heat, light, and pests. Storing your dried veggies in the dark, cool, airtight, and pest-resistant places stretches your food’s shelf life.
#4 Dehydrated Vegetables Taste Delicious
It’s no secret that dehydrated foods taste different from their originals. Still, that doesn’t make them any less delicious!
Textures and flavors change throughout the drying process, just like in cooking. It may take some getting used to, but this is entirely normal.
While some people may choose to dehydrate veggies for storage purposes, then reconstitute them later, you can also enjoy them as is.
Dried vegetables make great hiking snacks, healthy chip substitutes, or powdered flavor enhancers. The possibilities are endless!
To rehydrate your vegetables, let them sit in boiling water for 10-60 minutes or in cold water overnight. Your veggies are ready once they appear plump.
#5 There Are Many Forms of Dehydrated Vegetables
So far, we’ve only discussed conventionally dehydrated vegetables. You know, the ones dried in an electric dehydrator or an oven.
However, there are other forms of dried vegetables that you may even have in your pantry right now!
If you’ve ever eaten Special K Red Berries, you’ve had freeze-dried strawberries.
Freeze-drying removes up to 15% more water than dehydrating. Plus, it often results in food that lasts longer, tastes better, and maintains greater nutrients.
Purchasing a freeze-drier can be pretty pricey, but luckily you can do it in your freezer at a much lower cost.
How to Freeze-Dry
Your freezer must be empty before beginning the drying process. Start by removing any other foods.
Place your sliced vegetables on a tray at the bottom of your freezer. Set it to the coldest temperature possible.
Leave your vegetables as is for 7-10 days. Do not open the door at any point, as this can disturb the entire process.
Remove the tray from the freezer and secure your dried vegetables in vacuum-sealed bags for storage.
Powdered veggies are an easy way to add more nutrients and flavor to your meals. Pour them into boiling water to make delicious vegetable broths and soups, or add a tablespoon into your morning smoothies. The options are endless!
All you have to do is add your dried vegetables to a blender, food processor, or clean coffee grinder, and pulse.
#6 You Can Dehydrate Most Vegetables
Drying a vegetable naturally changes its taste and texture. This is normal, but it means some hold up better than others.
However, most vegetables are just as delicious dried as they are fresh - but don’t be surprised if they taste slightly different from what you’re used to!
Here are some of the best veggies to dehydrate, tips to follow, and how to use them in your food.
Dehydrated Green Beans
Slice your green beans lengthwise or cut them into short pieces prior to dehydrating. Blanch for 2 minutes and dehydrate for 8-14 hours.
Tossing your beans in the freezer for 30-40 minutes between blanching and drying them can improve the texture of your final product.
Dehydrated green beans work well in soups, stews, or boiled and enjoyed butter and salt.
You can also season the beans before dehydration to make delicious green bean chips!
Dehydrated Sweet Corn
To dehydrate sweet corn, begin by husking and trimming the cob. Then, blanch it until the kernels no longer release milk when sliced, about 1.5 minutes.
After you’ve blanched the sweet corn, cut the kernels off of the cob and compost the rest. The kernels are the only pieces you’ll dry. Dehydrate for 6-10 hours.
Dried sweet corn goes well in soups and stews. You can also make homemade cornmeal, though it will provide a sweeter taste than more store-bought varieties.
Tomatoes are one of few vegetables that don’t need to be blanched prior to drying — unless you want to remove the skins.
If you’d prefer to have your tomatoes peeled, start by using a knife to cut an X into the bottom of each tomato. Then, blanch for about 30 seconds, and the skins should fall off easily.
Next, slice the tomatoes (or half them lengthwise if using small varieties like cherry tomatoes). You can also opt to remove the seeds at this point if you’d like.
Dehydrate for 8-10 hours.
Dehydrated Tomato Powder
Making tomato powder requires just one additional step.
Grind your dried tomatoes in a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder to form a powder.
Enjoy the tomato powder as a yummy popcorn seasoning, toast topper, or add a bit of water to make your own tomato paste!
Like tomatoes, peppers don’t require blanching before drying.
If you’re working with bell peppers, remove the stem, core, and slice into strips, disks, or cubes.
Prepping other varieties like habaneros is slightly different. Small peppers can be dehydrated whole but will dry faster if sliced. To reduce the pepper’s spiciness, carefully remove the core and seeds. Be sure not to touch your eyes before thoroughly washing your hands!
Dehydrate for 8-12 hours.
Reconstitute your dried peppers and add them into sauces, stir-fries, or chili.
Start by removing the outer papery layers of your onions and cut off the top and bottom pieces. Slice into rings and dehydrate for 3-9 hours.
Dried onions have a more potent flavor and taste than their fresh counterparts, so a little goes a long way if you’re using them as-is.
They’re a delicious add-in to dips, eggs, sauces, burgers, and more!
Instant mashed potato flakes may be the ultimate store-bought food, but it’s possible to make your own at home.
Begin by peeling your potatoes and boil them — not blanch — until fork tender.
Then, mash your potatoes until smooth. Line your dehydrator with parchment paper and spread your potato mixture on the paper in a thin layer. Dehydrate for 24-36 hours.
When reconstituting your potatoes, add butter, milk, salt, and all of your favorite mashed potato fixings!
Dried mushrooms enhance the umami flavors in any dish you add them to.
You’ll want to remove any woody stems before dehydrating, but feel free to include tender stalks cut into short strips.
Peel and slice large mushrooms, but leave small button mushrooms untouched.
Dehydrate for 8-10 hours.
Dried mushrooms add a deep flavor to broths and sauces. You can also rehydrate and include them in pasta dishes or risotto.
All summer squash follows the same easy preparation guidelines — zucchini included!
Trim any flowers or stems, then slice into ¼” pieces.
Blanch your zucchini for 1.5 minutes and dry for 10-12 hours.
If you want to make delicious, healthy zucchini chips, season your slices before dehydrating.
Alternatively, you can spiralize your zucchini to create dehydrated zoodles!
Dehydrating cucumbers is similar to drying zucchini — and neither could be simpler!
You’ll have to blanch your cucumber whole for 30 seconds to remove the waxy coating.
Then, slice into ⅛” rounds. A mandolin works great to get this job done.
Dehydrate for 10 hours, then enjoy as veggie chips or add it to a tzatziki sauce in place of fresh cucumber.
There isn’t much prep work involved in dehydrating spinach — especially if you purchase pre-washed kinds.
All tender greens are dehydrated in the same manner: rinse thoroughly, blanch for 1.5 minutes, and dehydrate for 8-10 hours.
Dried greens are great additions to soups and smoothies. You can also grind them up and secretly add them into dishes.
This works great for picky eaters or anyone trying to include more greens in their diet.
Ideally, you should peel carrots prior to drying. You’ll also want to remove the roots and greens (you could dehydrate these too!) before cutting into ⅛” strips or slices.
Blanch for 3.5 minutes and dry for 10-12 hours.
Dehydrated carrots are tasty additions to sauces, casseroles, and bread.
Dried sauerkraut is a combination of two fantastic preservation techniques: dehydration and fermentation!
Since sauerkraut comes in a moisture-filled brine, squeeze out as much liquid as you can before placing it in your dehydrator.
It’s easy after that: let it dry for about 6 hours, and it’ll be ready for you to enjoy.
Enjoy your dried sauerkraut as a burger topping, in a salad, or anywhere else you’d like. For a little extra flavor, try dehydrating kimchi following the same method.
Before you ask: yes, dehydrated beans are different from the dried beans you can buy at the grocery store. Those aren’t cooked, but these are.
You can cook your own beans at home or purchase canned beans. Either way, you’ll want to dehydrate them for 6-8 hours.
Dehydrated beans are great to bring camping or to toss into chilis and stews.
#7 You Can Enjoy Dehydrated Vegetables Without Doing It Yourself
Your local grocery store’s shelves may not be lined with vacuum-sealed bags of dehydrated veggies, but they are available to buy online!
Harmony House Foods is a family-owned company that sells a wide range of dried emergency food great for long-term storage.
You can buy the classics: sweet corn, carrots, and legumes, but Harmony House also sells soup blends, meat substitutes, and sampler packs.
If you don’t feel like dehydrating your own veggies, you can also buy them from Mother Earth.
From leeks to sweet potatoes to bell peppers, Mother Earth sells a dried version of just about everything in the produce section.
You can even choose from ten kinds of instant legumes and ten different medley packs!
Not the type of person who wants to snack on dried veggies but still wanting to diversify your diet?
Many health food stores sell various greens powders that are easy to add to water or smoothies. Some are even flavored!
Check out these popular brands:
Dehydrated vegetable chips are another delicious, portable, healthy way to snack.
When you’re grocery shopping for veggie chips, make sure they’re made of real vegetables and are dried, not fried.
Here are some brands that do it right:
#8 Dehydration Can Save You Some Storage Space
Filling your pantry with dehydrated food doesn’t only save you fridge space but also shelf space.
Reducing the water content of vegetables shrinks them significantly so you can fit much more in a smaller space.
Of course, dried veggies do require particular storage for optimal shelf-life.
Vacuum sealers are the best way to shrink your storage footprint. Not only are they the best way to store dehydrated food, but they also reduce clutter.
Best of all, you can buy reusable vacuum-sealed bags to minimize your plastic waste significantly.
One of the greatest things about storing dried food in jars? Everyone has them lying around.
The airtight seal on glass jars prevents oxygen from entering and damaging the food you worked so hard to dry.
Plastic who? Silicone bags are the new Ziploc. These reusable, sealable bags are just as convenient as single-use options but much better for the environment.
Silicone bags make it easy to meal prep, portion out your dried veggies, or snack on the go.
It may seem weird to store your food in buckets, but they are the perfect vessel to keep your food safe.
Pests and light are two enemies of long-term food storage. Placing your vacuum-sealed bags, jars, or silicon bags inside light-blocking buckets is an ideal solution.
Did you enjoy learning everything you need to know about dehydrated vegetables?
It’s incredibly easy to dehydrate veggies. Plus, they’re extremely versatile, last up to 25 years, and can save you storage space.
Let us know in the comments what you loved in this piece! Have some dehydrator-curious friends? Share this piece with them!
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Dehydrate2Store. “Food Storage Tips: Short and Long Term Storage.” Dehydrate2Store,
Dehydrate2Store. “How to Dehydrate Cucumbers: Dehydrator Guide with Pictures.”
Calvin. “Dehydrating Habanero Peppers at Home - Easy Guide - PepperGeek.” Pepper Geek,
Dehydrator Review. “Black Beans.” Dehydrator Review,
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