Learn how to dry vegetables in the oven!
Dehydrated veggies are a unique way to store your favorite in-season produce for bleak winter days. Plus, the dehydrated vegetables make for a great snack that can replace beef jerky or chips with just as much flavor but not nearly the same number of calories and fat.
The great news is that drying vegetables in the oven is very easy. You don’t need any special equipment, just what you already have at home, and some patience as you prepare the veggies for drying.
If you’re looking to try out a new method of food preservation, here is an easy step-by-step guide that will ensure you can dry vegetables with no trouble at all.
The Best Vegetables for Drying
You can dry almost any vegetables in the oven, but there are a few that will yield the best results. Here are some that have been tried and tested for the best results.
Basically, you can dry any vegetables that you want in the oven. However, some require a little bit more prep than others (more on that later).
How to Dry Vegetables in the Oven
- The first step is to clean the veggies. Blanch the veggies if needed.
- Then cut your vegetables into smaller pieces.
- Preheat the oven to the lowest possible setting – 140°F (60°C).
- Arrange your vegetables on a lined baking tray.
- Drying vegetables in the oven will take anywhere from 4 to 8 hours.
Let’s take a look at each step.
How to Prepare Vegetables for Drying
The most time-consuming part of drying vegetables in the oven is preparing them. Luckily, once you get done with this step, it’s smooth going.
- The first step is to clean the vegetables. Rinse the veggies clean. Remove any inedible peels, stems, seeds, or bruised bits that you don’t want to see in the final project.
- Some vegetables need to be cooked before you can dehydrate them. These include onions, root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes, and broccoli. A good rule of thumb is that if you’d cook them before eating, you should probably cook them before drying. You don’t need to go to a lot of trouble to cook them; just blanch the vegetables until slightly tender.
- Finally, the last step before you can put your vegetables in the oven is to cut them into small slices or pieces. Vegetables dry better when they’re in smaller pieces because it exposes more of the surface area to the hot air.
Video: How to blanch vegetables
Some people recommend seasoning your vegetables before drying with olive oil, salt, and pepper, but that will add time to the drying process. You can always season them later.
Drying Your Vegetables in the Oven
After you’ve prepared your veggies, you can get ready to use the oven.
- First, preheat the oven to the lowest possible setting – 140°F (60°C). Higher settings will dry out the vegetables faster, but they will also cook or even burn the vegetables, which is what you don’t want. Lower settings take longer but achieve the goal of drying out the vegetables.
- Then, arrange your vegetables on a lined baking tray. You can mix and match vegetables on the tray since they should take around the same time to dry. Line with parchment paper if you want to make cleanup easier after you’re done dehydrating, but you can also put your vegetables directly on the tray. Ensure the veggie chunks are spread out evenly so there’s plenty of room for the air to hit all the food.
- If you have a convection oven, turn the convection settings on because circulating air dries the food faster. Even if you have a regular oven, you can dry vegetables in there; it will just take longer.
- Drying vegetables in the oven will take anywhere from 4 to 8 hours, depending on the strength of your oven and the moisture content of the vegetables. Check on the vegetables every 30 minutes and rotate the trays to ensure equal exposure.
You will know that the vegetables are done drying when they shrivel up and have a brittle texture.
Storing Oven-Dried Veggies
Once you’re done drying your vegetables, it’s time to store them. First, let them cool completely. The vegetables will heat up after spending so much time in the oven, and putting them in storage while hot will make them form condensation, which is bad for long-term storage.
Once the vegetables are completely cool (preferably after being left out overnight), put them in an airtight container or vacuum-packed bag. The most important thing is to keep moisture and air away from the vegetables.
After you put your vegetables in the containers, you can store them in the fridge or freezer for months.
Dehydrating vegetables in the oven is a great way to have nutritional food available all year round. Drying vegetables in the oven preserves nutrients and flavor, plus makes it easy to put together fast meals such as soups and curries. Just prep your veggies, pre-cooking if necessary, and put them in the oven at a low setting to dry.