preservation Proper Dehydrator Temperature Settings

Later today, I will be buying this - or something similar:


http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?SKU=14099344

From the product description:


Thermometer adjusts from 95° to 155°

I am first going to be dehydrating Bhuts that I purchased. At the end of the season, I will be dehydrating a lot of Superchiles from my garden.


What is the proper temperature and time that I should be using?
 
You are probably going to get a few different answers on this. I keep mine at about 115. I will go as low as 105 if I have a small batch.

A full batch will get crispy dry in about 24 hours but if its really humid it might take longer.
 
If you plan to keep the seeds for future planting, would it be useful to extend the drying time and lower the temps to like 95 deg? I think I read somewhere that temps over 95 F can kill the embryo within the seed.
 
It would make more sense to remove seeds that you plan to use next year before drying, that way no risk in killing them. That is if you plan to dry above 95 degrees. 95 will get it them dried, just a little more slowly.
 
remove seeds before drying if you plan to grow them next year. I've found that at 100-105F, the chiles keep their color the best, MAYBE go up to 110F. I've dried orange habs at 105F and they stayed nice and orange. Did another batch of orange habs at 115F (cuz I was in a hurry) and they turned a darker color, almost brown. If the color isn't an issue, then go for 115 and get 'em done faster.
Have Fun~~~~
 
remove seeds before drying if you plan to grow them next year. I've found that at 100-105F, the chiles keep their color the best, MAYBE go up to 110F. I've dried orange habs at 105F and they stayed nice and orange. Did another batch of orange habs at 115F (cuz I was in a hurry) and they turned a darker color, almost brown. If the color isn't an issue, then go for 115 and get 'em done faster.
Have Fun~~~~

Yeah I should mention you may want to do a test run, each dehydrator is likely to be different. I doubt my dehydrator is actually at 115 degrees thats just what the dial says. Like Salsalady's experience, any higher setting in mine and they start to brown.
 
I like to keep mine at 95. Split the pods in half and dry open end up. When dry just break out the seeds if you want to keep them. I have excellent germination with seeds dried in pods at 95f.
 
Checking the dehydrator for actual temps is the best advice. This way you know what you are actually drying at. Also depends on what you are trying to dry in there and how fast you want it dried.

The only thing I can say about seed viability at high temps, is that I had seeds germinating in a domed seed starter and didn't realize but the temp inside got to about 110 degrees for around a week. Once I fixed the problem with my heating tray and brought the temps down, all of the seeds started hooking. So for me, it's really up in the air. I would feel comfortable now that I've experienced this, to dehydrate at 105-110 and still use the seed from it. If you want to know. Dehydrate a pod with some seeds in it. Once it's done. Germinate those seeds and see what you get for germ. rates. It would be a cool experiment. Just chuck the seedlings once they hook. (Blasphemy!) If you don't want to grow them.

Good luck with the new Drier.
 
Thanks for all the advice. I ended up getting this:

http://www.amazon.co...uct/B000FFVJ3C/

It will be delivered tomorrow.

I understand the heat and germination issues. I'm planning on deseeding a few first, and not bothering to save seeds from the rest after I dehydrate them. I am such a low volume grower that germination rates mean a lot to me and I am not going to risk lowering that rate. In addition I enjoy trading, and don't want to trade any batches of seeds that may have a lower percentage germination gate than what I could have sent.

I am more concerned with the time than the temperature. I don't want the pods to get burnt too much, while the dehydrator is running and I am away at work. I am thinking of starting the process late Friday, or on the weekend, so I can check the progress and stop when necessary. I'll read the booklet and might call Nesco tomorrow.
 
I've been looking around, thinking about getting a dehydrator. That is the same one I was thinking of. Please write up a brief review after you try it.
 
Will do - I'm gonna dry the Bhuts on Saturday. I'm probably going to do a slow run at 95f. This unit goes from 95 f to 160 f. The manual says that Hot peppers will take between 3 to 20 hours to dry. That is a hell of a variance! I'll have to figure out how to carefully remove a pod and test if it is ready. Any suggestions for this?
 
If running at 95F a few extra hours will not hurt them -- figure we get hotter than that when air drying them outdoors. with Bhuts it will probably be more the lower to mid range of the time since they are fairly thin skinned.
 
It depends on your preference. If you are going to make powder, you are going to want them crispy like a potato chip. If you plan to rehydrate them for use, or cook with them you can let them stay just a bit flexible. The drier they are the longer they keep, in my experience.
 
Looks awesome, but for my small needs, the $60.00 model I bought is fine. The only flaw is that it does not have a timer. No big deal, as I can use it with a normal light timer.
 
Thanks for all the advice. I ended up getting this:

http://www.amazon.co...uct/B000FFVJ3C/

It will be delivered tomorrow.

I understand the heat and germination issues. I'm planning on deseeding a few first, and not bothering to save seeds from the rest after I dehydrate them. I am such a low volume grower that germination rates mean a lot to me and I am not going to risk lowering that rate. In addition I enjoy trading, and don't want to trade any batches of seeds that may have a lower percentage germination gate than what I could have sent.

I am more concerned with the time than the temperature. I don't want the pods to get burnt too much, while the dehydrator is running and I am away at work. I am thinking of starting the process late Friday, or on the weekend, so I can check the progress and stop when necessary. I'll read the booklet and might call Nesco tomorrow.

I have had this one and it works perfect, slow and low is the tempo....
 
SLOW is the word. At 95f, after 57 hours, a little less then half the pods were ready. I left the rest in and the dehydrator is still running. The good news is that dehydrating does not remove any of the heat or flavor. I ate a few bites from one. I'll write back with the final time necessary to dry the remaining pods.

I do however have a followup question:

Assuming that I am not planning on saving the seeds and I don't care if the pods change color, is there any reason why on the next run, I can just max out the temp at 160f and dry these much faster?
 
I have never tried it, but yes, it is all a personal preference. If you don't mind them losing color and killing seeds I don't see why not. You may want to test it on just a few peppers just in case something goes wrong.
 
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