Dehydrating can be a very time consuming endeavor. For example, if you feel like having raw pizza tonight for dinner, unless you can go back in time then it’s not going to happen because it’ll take around 24 hours or so just to dehydrate pizza crust alone!

So in the real world, how can you make this work without frustrations and being a slave to your dehydrator?

The answer is what I call “batchwork.” To me, batchwork basically means dehydrating in batches every two weeks or so-- on what I call a “dehydrator day.” Your dehydrator day has nothing to do with eating dehydrated goods on dehydrator day. Think of it more like a hunter/gatherer who has to collect/prepare food to be eaten over the next couple of weeks.

Obviously, a hunter/gatherer would be in big trouble if they let themselves run out of food and they had to hunt an animal for their next meal! Likewise, if you feel that there is “nothing to eat” in your household you have failed to adequately prepare in advance!

The idea is that you separate “dehydrating” from preparing meals the same way that you separate grocery shopping from preparing meals. They are both connected, but they are not the same thing. For example, it is not possible to come home from work very hungry and use your dehydrator to make anything that night for dinner.

If you come home from work and need to make a quick dinner, either you turn to dehydrated snacks/entrees that you have already made on a previous dehydrator day and stored/refrigerated, or else you have to look to other non-dehydrated options that night for dinner, for example, a nut pate, salad or a raw soup. It is not realistic to expect that there are any dehydrated recipes that can be whipped up from scratch and ready to eat in an hour or two.

Sample Dehydrating Schedule

In general, I suggest having two main “dehydrator days” per month, and then if you wish to dehydrate some smaller batches for treats and snacks on the fly (ex. kale chips) in between your big dehydrator days you can go ahead and do so if your schedule and cravings permit!

I find kale chips to be super quick to make so I often make a batch of kale chips on their own just for fun. Other than that, I generally only dehydrate on “dehydrator days” to prepare in advance for the next week or two.

In this next section below, I will set out the steps for you to follow a similar dehydrating pattern.

Here is a sample three-month schedule of my personal dehydrating preferences:

Month Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Month 1 Savory day: Veggie burgers and two batches of crackers Savory day: 3 cracker recipes and a small batch of kale chips Savory snack: More kale chips: I usually make a double-batch (2 large bunches of kale) when making kale chips.
Month 2 Savory day: Veggie burgers and meatballs Savory day: Pizza crusts: A huge batch of pizza crusts to store in the freezer. Savory snack: More kale chips… Small batch, just thrown together quickly on a weekday evening.
Month 3 Sweet day: Sweet kale chips, lemon cookies, dehydrated bananas. Sweet snack: (Quick snack - weekday evening) Small batch of granola Savory day: Crackers, meatloaf and marinated vegetables.

The Rawtarian’s Way:

In general, I dehydrate 2-3 times per month using my 9-tray dehydrator. That’s enough to keep me (raw family of 1) more than satisfied for one month, because I don’t eat dehydrated foods for every meal. I usually make Sundays my “dehydrator day” because I tend to stay home on Sundays. However, I do my grocery shopping in advance because I find it bothersome having to shop AND prepare food on the same day.

I prepare the recipes and set them in the dehydrator first thing in the morning so that I can monitor my food’s progress every few hours.

I don’t make a lot of sweet items in my dehydrator. When it comes to sweets I actually prefer many refrigerated/frozen recipes rather than dehydrated sweets. I usually use my dehydrator to make savory entrees and crackers and salty snacks, and I could not live without my savory dehydrated goodies!

Whenever I’m dehydrating a sweet bunch of recipes, I usually fill any extra empty dehydrator trays with dehydrated bananas.

Also, once I’ve dehydrated a bunch of stuff I enjoy eating them pretty much every day for dinner until they are all consumed. After I run out, I don’t have dehydrated food for about a week or sometimes even two weeks–instead, I will rely on my non-dehydrated recipes until I get the urge for something more exciting then I will dehydrate again. This is the cycle that I am in.

Of course, you might find a better rhythm! However, it’s important to also have some non-dehydrated entrees that you can make and enjoy.

By preparing in advance with a big dehydrator day, I can easily come home and whip up the following:

  • Take a thawed dehydrated pizza crust out of the fridge, spread some veggies on it and throw it in dehydrator for an hour or two;
  • Take a veggie burger patty out of the fridge, throw it on a romaine lettuce wrap, top with sprouts and tomatoes and raw ketchup if I have a batch in fridge;
  • Make quick sandwiches out of dehydrated crackers or wraps;
  • Make a quick soup in my blender and serve with crackers;
  • Make a quick pasta sauce and throw some meatballs on top of kelp noodles;
  • Have a slice of meatloaf and serve with a big green salad.