What's the difference between a dehydrator and an oven? Can you dehydrate in an oven? It's tempting to try to dehydrate in your oven, but will you get the same results?
The Rawtarian answers these burning questions for you in this red-hot post!
How hot is too hot?
First off, let's review a very basic definition of raw food. Raw food is preferably organic, vegan food that isn't cooked above 116°F (47°C). This is to prevent valuable dietary enzymes from being killed off, as well as ensuring the food is fresh and retains all its nutrients.
Ovens are designed to cook HOT, while dehydrators most definitely are not! Even the 'keep warm' setting on an oven is 275°F(140°C). So you can see where this is going...
In this corner: the Dehydrator!
- Doesn't kill enzymes.
- 'Cooks' evenly with proper airflow and temperature.
- Effectively pulls moisture out of the food for optimal drying.
- Minimal supervision required.
- Energy efficient.
In this corner: the Oven!
- Even at a "keep warm" setting, temperature is too high.
- Kills vital food enzymes.
- Most ovens don't have an air-circulating fan.
- Expensive to run.
- Can't leave it unattended.
The Rawtarian says...
Would you try to barbeque with a microwave? Would you try to vaccuum your floors with your hair dryer? Probably not. One tool is not like the other! So when your dehydrator recipe doesn't turn out because you've used an oven, don't be shocked. So instead, why not forget about dehydrating until you get a dehydrator? Or, instead, if all you have is an oven, look for baking recipes instead, since that's what an oven does!
You can certainly try dehydrating in your oven... if you have a convection oven, and you're willing to keep checking that the temperature doesn't get too high (usually by leaving door ajar and continual monitoring). People have done it - I've heard the stories!
But if you want to ensure successful dehydrating, it's best to use a dehydrator. Because... well... that's what it's specifically made for! And you want those Raw Kale Chips to turn out crisp and perfect and yummy, don't you?