Your whole food, plant-based life.

Dehydration Questions

One of the questions that comes up consistently both in the comments and your emails, is about dehydration. Are there alternative ways to make raw food recipes with out a dehydrator? Dehydration times and temperatures also seem to be confusing. I will attempt to answer your questions, but I also want to encourage you to do research on the subject so you get to a point that you are comfortable with. Let’s start with the most frequently asked question:


Can I make the recipes without a dehydrator, in my oven? If you wish to try this method, there are a couple of things that I suggest you think about.

1. How important is it to you to follow the raw method and protect the enzymes, nutrients and vitamins. Some of the nutrients can withstand the higher temps, but not all. If you are just wanting to make the recipe, but don’t care about adhering to the raw temperature guidelines, it would make more sense to just “bake” them at the lowest temp possible and check your times.

2. If you want to make sure you are sticking with the temperature guidelines, this method will be difficult. You could purchase an oven thermometer, prop open the door and see what kind of results you can achieve. One of the questions you will have to ask yourself is whether or not you are comfortable running your oven for hours with the door open. Not too energy efficient.

I thought I had to make sure that I didn’t go over 105 degrees for maximum health benefits. A lot of people wonder why I start many recipes at a higher temperature and then reduce the temp after a period of time. This is why:

1. The temperatures that enzymes are destroyed at are food temperatures, not air temps. Starting at a higher temperature will benefit in two ways. First, it reduces the time needed for dehydration. Second, it helps pull out the moisture quickly, reducing the chances of fermentation taking place over longer periods of dehydration.

2. There is some mis-information out there about dehydration temps. This is a very good explanation from the Excalibur site:

“Ann (Wigmore) tested different dehydrators,… She found that the best technique for saving enzymes was to set Excalibur on a higher food temperature setting in the beginning and then turn it down after a few hours. However because most people may not know when to turn it down, and by leaving it on the higher setting may kill the enzymes she said to set your Excalibur on 105ºF setting throughout the entire cycle. That way the food temp will never go above 120ºF even after it is dry.

We believe this is why many have come to believe that 105ºF air temperature is the temperature at which the enzymes are destroyed, which is entirely inaccurate.

Just recently we spoke with Dr. John Whitaker who is a world recognized enzymologist, and former dean of the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at U.C. Davis. He said that every enzyme is different and some are more stable at higher temperatures than others but that most enzymes will not become completely inactive until food temperatures exceed 140ºF to 158ºF in a wet state.”

Why don’t you state an exact time for dehydrating recipes? Because dehydration takes place over a longer period of time and at lower temperatures, your dehydration time will be affected by different variables. Humidity, the type of dehydrator you have, etc. will cause the times to differ. You should always check what you are dehydrating so that you get the best results.

In the summer, I hardly use my dehydrator at all. But in the winter, it is a life saver. You can buy a small dehydrator, the Excalibur 4 tray is good for most, for around 100.00. If you are really interested in incorporating raw healthy foods into your diet, it is a great investment. You can find them in the Rawmazing store!

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  1. Frances wrote on April 19, 2015

    I have just started making raw food and bought my dehydrator today. I’m attempting the cinnomon and raisin bread. I hope it works!

    • Susan wrote on April 19, 2015

      Have fun with it, Frances! Cheers!

  2. Carrie wrote on October 10, 2012

    Enzymes have a life span – just as with any living thing. So I’m wondering….if it takes 8,12, 14 and sometimes as much as 24 hours to prepare a raw dish via the dehydrator at 105 degrees, how many of those enzymes actually survive that amount of time? I’m not just asking about plain fruits and vegetables necessarily….my question also concerns more elaborate dishes like flax burgers (hemp burgers, veggie burgers, etc…), pizza, calzones – things are are blended, mixed, pureed, etc… and then dehydrated.


    • Susan wrote on October 15, 2012

      It is my understanding that heat above 118 degrees destroys enzymes. You can pick an apple, let it sit for months and still have an apple that has nutritional value, enzymes intact. You can also cook that apple immediately after it has been picked and destroy all of it’s enzymes. I think that it is not the time in the dehydrator, it is the heat. Cheers!

  3. amy wrote on April 14, 2012

    Might be silly questions but just got a dyhydrator. (Excalibur). The wired sheets go on top of trays always? Teflex sheets on top of that? If I am using only 2/4 trays should I remove others?


    • Susan wrote on April 14, 2012

      You can remove or leave them in. It is completely up to you. I am confused as to the stacking. The trays support either the non-stick sheets or the grids. I hope that helps!

  4. Terry wrote on August 31, 2011

    This is a great site with lots of good information. With regard to dehydrating … I’ve been 100% raw foodist for 8 years, and I dehydrate everything at the same temp and have never had a problem. My excalibur 9-tray is set at 110 — done. Many times I add other items when I’m in the middle of dehydrating a different recipe, so can’t be bothered with yo-yo-ing the temp up and down. Just put your stuff in, turn it when necessary. Keep it simple.

    • Susan wrote on September 1, 2011

      Starting with a higher dehydration temperature reduces dehydration time (using less electricity so it is better for the planet), and also helps prevent fermentation and the growth of bacteria that can happen when dehydrating at lower temps for longer periods of time. It is very humid in the summer where I live so the shortened times are very beneficial. But to each their own!

  5. Donna wrote on February 9, 2011

    Thanks for the info. My dehydrator has been my life saver this winter for raw foods. My problem has been using other recipe’s that say to dehydrate only at a lower temp. Some recipes ended up partialy fermented and took forever to dehydrate. Your recipe’s stated the higher temp. for a few hours then lower. I will try this next time and want to try some of your recipes to.

  6. Wind wrote on March 28, 2010

    I am very grateful to be educated on this subject. I have been playing with raw foods for seven years and have never come across this information. I thank you.

  7. Lisa wrote on February 23, 2010

    Very nice article! … It’s disappointing to dehydrate something forever just to find it fermented …

    K&M, freezing tends to just greatly slow both microbial and enzymatic action, rather than killing/denaturing either. Same for dehydrating at the lower temps.

  8. Elizabeth wrote on February 22, 2010

    Good info. I thought people turned up the temp on the dehydrator to save energy by finishing the food faster!

  9. Julie Lynn wrote on February 19, 2010


    Stop by my blog when you get a moment. I left you an award. =)

  10. Polly Raichert wrote on February 18, 2010

    but you can destroy enzymes with cooking, right? Susan what are those delectable looking treats pictured?:-)

    • Susan wrote on February 18, 2010

      Denature, kill, destroy…I think it is semantics….

    • Susan wrote on February 18, 2010

      They are the beginning of an amazing treat…more to come!!


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