Dehydrating Tips

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Some general info you might find helpful if you’re considering dehydrating for your birds. The information about the actual process of dehydrating and storage is on the conservative side, but these are the guidelines I follow for my own birds.

  • There are lots of dehydrators on the market, but the Excalibur has long been a favorite of raw food fans. We have both the 5 tray and the 4 tray model and have been very pleased with them.
  • Don’t worry about following the recipes exactly. The most important part is the spices & flavorings. These make the healthy foods more palatable, like masking the bitterness of greens.
  • Feel free to add your usual supplements to the recipes if you will be using the food as an occasional meal.
  • We generally grind everything up. The best method we’ve found for grinding dry seeds and grains is in a chopping attachment for our hand blender, but an unused coffee grinder works as well. Everything else goes through the food processor. Small seeds like amaranth or quinoa can be added whole.
  • One large batch of food (enough to fill the 5 tray Excalibur) takes about 1 – 1.5 hours to get ground up & spread out on the trays.
  • We always use parchment paper on the dehydrator trays as this makes for super easy clean up.
  • We use the back of a large serving spoon to help spread out food on the trays.
  • If you live in a humid area, try dividing the food up into two or more sections on the dehydrator tray, then score it help it dry more evenly. The scoring can be done with a butter knife.
  • The general rule is that food can be dehydrated for up to 24 hours.
  • Dehydrating at temperatures below 110 degrees will help ensure beneficial enzymes remain intact. To speed up the drying process, you can dehydrate for the first 2 hours at 155 degrees and then decrease the temp to 110 degrees. The moisture in the food keeps the food from reaching the higher temperatures during those first 2 hours.
  • We always flip the food about half way through the dehydrating time and remove the parchment paper at this time to speed up the drying process.
  • When the food is completely dry or you’ve been dehydrating for up to 24 hours, turn off the dehydrator and allow the food to come up to room temperature. This can take up to an hour, but don’t let the food sit longer than that.
  • Be sure to check for dryness by breaking the food up into smaller pieces before storing it. You should be able to tell if an area isn’t completely dry and this food needs to be stored separately from the dry food.
  • Food that has been thoroughly dried can be stored in an air tight container away from light at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.
  • Any food that isn’t completely dry can be stored in the fridge to be served within a few days or in the freezer for up to a couple months.
  • Be sure to always indicate the date on the containers you store your food in.