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How good is an oven's "dehydrate" setting?

CindyJ Nov 2, 2013 10:48 AM

I never even noticed this setting on my oven until just a few minutes ago. Now I'm wondering how well the oven can dehydrate foods. Have you ever successfully dehydrated foods in your oven? I'm skeptical, and not willing to waste a lot of money on failed attempts. I suppose I could try some apples and other (relatively) inexpensive fruit, but I'd love to hear your firsthand experiences. FWIW, my oven is a Bosch. Thanks!

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  1. chefj RE: CindyJ Nov 2, 2013 11:20 AM

    If it is an electric Oven and has a Fan it is pretty much the as a Dehydrator and should work fine. Sorry not firsthand experience but a Dehydrator is a pretty simple thing.

    1. r
      Raffles RE: CindyJ Nov 2, 2013 11:29 AM

      I don't know but.....should be below 212 degrees for 6-8 hours.
      We have a dedicated dehydrator we use to prepare foods for backpacking. I'll give a few hints from what we have learned.

      All food pieces must be cut very small, think pea size,or very thinly, think chips.

      You will need some sort of screen(think air circulation),cleanable, to rest the food on.

      Read Linda Yaffee's "Backpacker Goumet"

      1. tcamp RE: CindyJ Nov 2, 2013 11:40 AM

        No dehydrate setting on mine. I have the oven set at 200 right now to dry out some herb mix and sliced pears.

        1. s
          sedimental RE: CindyJ Nov 2, 2013 11:55 AM

          I use mine. It has multiple settings. The lowest temp is 140, the same as a designated, freestanding dehydrator. No difference, however you need the food on a rack for air circulation.

          The only drawback is that it ties up the oven for so long :(

          2 Replies
          1. re: sedimental
            CindyJ RE: sedimental Nov 2, 2013 01:00 PM

            Do I need a special type of rack? Would a cake-cooling rack work?

            1. re: CindyJ
              s
              sedimental RE: CindyJ Nov 2, 2013 02:32 PM

              Yes, that is what I use, over a baking sheet pan with a few cans to get it higher for better circulation. I think it works best if you can lift it up higher -or just turn it half way through.

          2. c
            Chowrin RE: CindyJ Nov 2, 2013 12:06 PM

            All depends on what you want to do.
            It's fine for apples, but you're risking your life with beef (or god forbid, fish or pork).

            8 Replies
            1. re: Chowrin
              s
              sedimental RE: Chowrin Nov 2, 2013 12:14 PM

              ?

              The new ovens (convections) are expensive and have many settings. Dehydration/drying is just one of them. They work the same way as a dehydrator. They circulate air, not just warm it.

              Mine has settings for proofing (rapid rise and regular rise, keep warm, thaw/serve, roast, broil, bake, probe, cook/hold, delay cook, and pastry). Mine is a new Jenn-Air.

              Not yo mamma's oven :)

              1. re: sedimental
                c
                Chowrin RE: sedimental Nov 2, 2013 01:49 PM

                Nu, so test the temperature.
                But make sure you do it around the entire oven.

                (I have two convection ovens, but I don't expect them to keep the temperature constant).

              2. re: Chowrin
                r
                Raffles RE: Chowrin Nov 2, 2013 12:15 PM

                I beg to differ, we regularly dehydrate beef chili and stews, as well as beef jerky. I have seen recipes for drying fish also.
                That said be sure to have good reliable directions.

                1. re: Chowrin
                  CindyJ RE: Chowrin Nov 2, 2013 12:58 PM

                  What about mushrooms? This is wild mushroom season.

                  1. re: CindyJ
                    chefj RE: CindyJ Nov 2, 2013 01:18 PM

                    A any oven can dry Mushrooms
                    http://foodpreservation.about.com/od/...

                  2. re: Chowrin
                    chefj RE: Chowrin Nov 2, 2013 01:20 PM

                    Please...
                    The Sun has been used for a very long time to dry Meats and Fish with out killing People.

                    1. re: chefj
                      c
                      Chowrin RE: chefj Nov 2, 2013 01:50 PM

                      Rates of stomach cancer show otherwise.
                      (also, rates of ecoli on meat have increased dramatically, no?)

                      1. re: Chowrin
                        chefj RE: Chowrin Nov 2, 2013 02:05 PM

                        What does Stomach Cancer have to do with eating dried Meats or Fish?
                        As far as Escherichia coli Bactria it is a concern but if you use salt or acids before drying it pretty much takes care of it.

                  3. t
                    travelerjjm RE: CindyJ Nov 2, 2013 12:19 PM

                    My micro-convection (25 years old) has a dehydrate setting. I use it for jerky and mushrooms, mostly. It works very well. It beats drying the meat on a rack in the sun...

                    1. f
                      ferret RE: CindyJ Nov 3, 2013 08:07 AM

                      I was making jerky in my oven back in the 80's, well before the "dehydrate" setting was available. The trick then was keeping the setting as low as possible and propping the oven door open to get an even lower temperature and allow for air circulation. The results were always great. The newer ovens should be as good or better (my Thermador has the setting but I haven't made jerky since getting the oven).

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