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Nov 2, 2013 10:48 AM

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

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. 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. 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 Reply
      1. re: Raffles

        "Below 212" as indicated above is waaaay too high. Most fruit is dried at 135 degrees. I have a Nesco freestanding food dehydrator and use those trays in my Bosch oven to dehydrate fruit. Nesco has very informative online information on food prep and drying times that I refer to all the time.

        Also, remember food shrinks considerably (sometimes as much as 50 percent) during dehydration so cutting fruit into pea-sized pieces is too small — unless your desired end result is itty bitty pieces. Again, this Nesco information will guide you towards the correct preparation.

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

        1. 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

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

            1. re: CindyJ

              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. 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


              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

                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

                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

                  What about mushrooms? This is wild mushroom season.

                  1. re: Chowrin

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

                    1. re: chefj

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

                      1. re: Chowrin

                        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.