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Drying Fruit and Meat Without a Dehydrator

Category Drying
We have been drying fruit and meat successfully long before the availability of dehydrators. Options include the oven and even outside in dry warm weather. This is a page about drying fruit and meat without a dehydrator.


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Is it possible to dry your own fruit? I do freeze some, but would dry them if possible. I am not sure if you can do this without some special equipment. Many thanks. Helen xx

By helen from U.K


June 22, 20101 found this helpful
Best Answer

Yep! Just slice the fruit or veggie very thin. Place on a piece of covered tin or cookie sheets, then cover with a thin sheet and place out in the sun and let Mother Nature do her work. I've been doing this for years. I was taught by my grandmother when I was a child. You can also put them inside a vehicle and keep the windows up, they tend to dry faster when done this way. It takes several days of putting the items outside to dry them thoroughly. If they aren't dried completely, they will mold.

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June 28, 20101 found this helpful
Best Answer

Yep, I have a couple dehydrators and when I have just a few items to do, I don't drag them out. I keep separate ones for meat that are not used for the other foods. Contamination is something I am not willing to contend with. Intense bleaching of the screens between food items and it would be o.k.


I have a digital regular oven and use that a lot. Set at 190 Degrees and that is the fruit/vegi temp also on the larger dehydrators. Meat has a minimum temp for safety, check a meat thermometer, it states that on it.

I love 'sundried' tomatoes. I do not do any of it outside, just quickly toss it into the oven.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

June 19, 2010

Does anyone know how to dehydrate fruit (especially plums to make prunes) without a dehydrator? We are dry here until mid-october at least! Is there another way for jerky, too?

Hardiness Zone: 8a

camo_angels from Willamina, OR


Drying Fruit and Meat Without a Dehydrator

I have great luck with "oven jerky". I usually use leftover slices of cooked beef, marinated overnight. I use a mixture of soy, brown sugar, garlic, and red pepper. You can add a little scotch or Wild Turkey (alcohol) if you like. London broil cut on the diagonal works especially well. Cut in strips no wider than 3/8 inches.


Line a pan with tin foil, place an oiled rack on the pan and place in an oven set to 225 degrees F.

Prop the oven door opened a bit with a wad of tin foil or a crushed disposable pie plate. Depending on humidity, this should take between 1 - 3 hours. Happy munching. (08/26/2006)

By Doggy U*u*U

Drying Fruit and Meat Without a Dehydrator

Here are directions on how to build a solar food dehydrator from

They also have a wonderful bunch of helpful people in their forums.

By Gardenho

Drying Fruit and Meat Without a Dehydrator

My mother used to put fruit on a cookie sheet in the back of the car, under the rear window. She checked it at least once a day. We took it out when we had to go somewhere so that it didn't spill. It worked great. (08/26/2006)


By Patty

Drying Fruit and Meat Without a Dehydrator

My grandma used to put apple slices on a sheet on the tin roof of the shed out back. She covered that with cheesecloth to keep flies off. I used to work for a solar heater plant (in the 70's oil "crisis") and we had a solar dryer that worked well. You can get plans in old Mother Earth news or Countryside magazine or Backwoods Home magazine. You can internet search, too.

An oven on about 150 to 200 degrees F should work, too. There are library books on the subject that should tell you all you need to know. The old Foxfire series tells how the old timers did it. Good luck. (08/28/2006)

By Carla

Drying Fruit and Meat Without a Dehydrator

Many years ago I made an electric dehydrator that worked very well. Just take a cardboard box, some heavy-duty aluminum foil, an old grill rack or cooling rack to fit the box, and a small lamp with a 40 or 60 watt bulb (bulb wattage should depend on the box size; smaller box, use lower wattage). Line the inside of the box with foil, shiny-side to the inside of the box. Fashion a cover for it with another piece of cardboard and line it with foil in the same manner. I laid two bricks, one in each end of the box, to support the rack. Then position the small lamp inside the box so it doesn't pose a fire hazard or sit too close to the food.


Personally if your climate permits I'd (now) go with the natural, sun-dried idea. You might still find the foil-in-a-box idea helpful: use a somewhat cone-shaped box (tapering smaller at the bottom), line it with shiny-side-showing foil, place the grill rack inside and cover with clear plastic or cheese cloth.

If drying meat (I've never tried that) I'd be very careful with it. I'd probably either salt the dickens out of it or marinate it in something heavy in whiskey. Good luck! (08/28/2006)

By Warren D. Lockaby

Drying Fruit and Meat Without a Dehydrator

The easiest fruits to dry out are bananas, apples, cherries, peaches, apricots, pineapples, pears, and strawberries.

  1. Clean the fruit and slice into quarter inch slices.
  2. Preheat oven to 140 degrees.
  3. Put fruit on cookie sheet then put in, leave oven 3 inches open (easier for water to dehydrate).

  4. Take out when it is all dry.

By Bridget (bee for short)

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