Useful dehydrating tools most likely live in your kitchen. Sharp knives, a cutting board, bowls, a rubber spatula, a peeler, measuring cups, and a blender may all come into play. But a few other items are essential or optional yet helpful when drying foods.
- Zip-close bags of various sizes: Clear, heavy-duty, well-sealed bags are easy to monitor and keep food dry, particularly if you squeeze out the air.
- Glass jars of various sizes: I store popular dried goods in spare canning jars, topped with a used canning lid and ring. Any glass jar or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid serves the same purpose.
- Permanent marker: Many herbs and mixes look similar when dehydrated, so it’s wise to label the bags or containers with the item and date stored.
- Kitchen scale: Most foods lose a significant amount of water weight during dehydration. A scale becomes essential if you are drying foods for storage and then repackaging them to rehydrate in the backcountry.
- String: Kitchen twine can tie and hang herb bundles. Strong thread or fishing line can be threaded through a needle and use to string up hot peppers.
- Mesh screen: Drying trays, essentially framed mesh screens, allow passive dehydrating. I use an old wooden-framed window screen, covered with a layer of clean cheesecloth to prevent the metal and food from interacting.
- Food dehydrator: An electric food dehydrator features a heater, fan, and vents. A dehydrator makes it easy to control temperature and air circulation, allowing for fast, efficient drying. Many affordable models are available.