If you’ve been looking at purchasing a dehydrator then you may have noticed some of the accessories that can be purchased alongside the appliance. One of the most popular are dehydrator sheets.
Dehydrator sheets are made of either silicone or parchment paper and sit on the trays of a dehydrator. They are used for less concentrated foods which may otherwise slip through the dehydrator trays and can help increase the rate in which water is removed from the food.
In this post, I’ll be explaining everything you need to know about dehydrator sheets. This should help you to decide the right materials and the right brand of dehydrator sheets for your appliance.
Are Dehydrator Sheets Safe
Dehydrator sheets are definitely safe. When considering materials which are going to get heated, or have the moisture removed from them, it’s worth considering a couple of things:
Will this substance stand being heated?
Will it gain or lose any properties at a high temperature?
Will it gain or lose heat quickly enough to be useful?
So, to answer the first question: will this substance stand being heated?
The answer is a fairly conclusive yes. This product is designed to be used in a controlled environment where the temperature will regularly rise and fall. As such, you can be sure that it has been designed to be heated, and therefore it will be safe.
Our second question: will it gain or lose and properties at a high temperature?
The answer to this question is a simple, resounding no. dehydrator sheets won’t gain or lose properties at different temperatures, as their inert nature is what makes them a useful component in a dehydrator.
Furthermore, as they heat up they may actually have to do less work. Rather than liquids leaking out onto the surface of the sheets and then having to dehydrate thereafter, at higher temperatures liquids are more likely to evaporate directly from the fruit.
Finally, we have to ask ourselves whether the substance that we’re hoping to use will gain or lose heat quickly enough to be useful in a hot environment.
The ability of something to lose or gain heat is based entirely around how dense it is. These sheets are not very dense at all, and they also have a high surface area.
This means that they will be able to easily and quickly lose or gain heat, depending upon the environment they’re in.
This is useful when you’re dehydrating food as it will allow you to remove your dehydrated food from your dehydrator without worrying about it burning on, for example, a baking sheet which is still very hot.
Are Silicone Dehydrator Sheets Safe
This is another question that is worth asking, as, on the surface, silicone dehydrator sheets may not seem like the safest option. After all, wouldn’t plastics start to melt at high temperatures?
This isn’t the case with silicone dehydrator sheets. The silicone which is used in the process of making these sheets is completely safe up to 180C, a temperature far above what people might typically dehydrate at.
On top of this, they have the added benefit of being non-stick! If you’ve ever cooked or baked with silicone-based implements, you’ll know how convenient they can be. If you’ve used, for example, a silicone cake mold, you’ll know that you can simply flex the silicone a little and pop the cake out.
This is really convenient for dehydrating, as food is likely to shrink as it loses water molecules. Ordinarily, this could mean that food may start to stick, as it is shrinking around the silicone cookware, which remains the same size.
Instead, the silicone has a non-stick quality, which ensures you will be able to lift your newly dehydrated food out of your appliance with minimal effort.
To answer our previous questions: silicone will stand being heated very well, as it will not burn or melt until it begins to approach higher temperatures than a typical dehydrator could produce. Silicone won’t gain or lose any properties at a high temperature, as it is naturally very inert. This ensures that your food will be safe to eat no matter what temperature you use to dehydrate it.
Silicone is very thermally dynamic, which is to say that it will gain and lose heat at an ideal rate for cooking. A silicone, reusable dehydrator sheet is sure to lose heat at a good rate when it is removed from the dehydrator, making it cool enough to handle after ten to fifteen minutes on the counter.
However, always approach potentially hot items carefully in the kitchen: it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Dehydrator Sheets Vs Parchment Paper – Which Is Better
It’s tough to say which is better in a battle between dehydrator sheets and parchment paper. The main difference between the two is that dehydrator sheets are reusable, after being washed and dried. On the other hand, parchment paper is a single-use item.
Forgetting the damaging effect of single-use items on the environment for a second, using parchment paper in this situation does have its benefits.
Say, for example, that you’re dehydrating something that’s particularly sticky, and likely to leak all over your sheets. In that situation, it may simply be easier to use parchment paper once and then throw it away.
It will allow you to save a lot of time on cleanup, and, from a lazy point of view, it will almost certainly be easier.
After dehydrating sticky foods, you would need to remove and store the individual pieces of food, and then clean the sticky residue left on the sheets. This is understandably annoying and difficult. It may involve a long soak period, as well as a large amount of scrubbing at the residue.
This would take a lot of effort, and that becomes especially obvious when you consider the alternative: using part of a roll of parchment paper, only to crumple it up when you’re done with it and throw it in the bin. That’s definitely a lot easier.
Therefore, it really isn’t my place to say which is better, because it depends so much on what you’re planning to do with them. If you’re planning to dehydrate messy things regularly, then parchment paper might be a better choice for you.
On the other hand, if you’re planning to not make much mess, then dehydrator sheets may be a better choice for you.
Best Dehydrator Sheets
It can be another tough call to pick one, individual, dryer sheet to be the best one. The reason for that is that they may tend to be a more personal purchase.
The reason for that is that you may try one brand, only to discover that they don’t work quite as well for your personal favorite recipes as others do.
Through this period of streamlining, you can often find which the best dehydrator sheets are for you, as you’ll come to know which ones offer the best deal for your budget, as well as which sheets suit your cooking style best.
That said, there are certain sheets which stand out thanks to the modern marvel of internet reviews. These dehydrator sheets on Amazon are a popular choice, and they have a 4.5/5 star rating, which is tough to argue with.
They appear to be suitable for a large number of different dehydrators, as well as being easy to clean and reuse when you need them. Both of those things mean that these sheets are sure to be a safe bet for your first pack. Don’t be afraid to try different ones until you find which ones are right for you!
How To Use Dehydrator Sheets
Dehydrator sheets are very easy to use. Because of the nature of them, all that you need to do is cut them to size and put them into your appliance.
There is one thing to look out for though: make sure you buy sheets which are at least the same size as your trays, or bigger. The reason for this is that you need to make sure that the sheets you pick will be able to fit into your machine, while also taking up as much space as possible.
It wouldn’t be useful to have dehydrator sheets the size of postage stamps in a dehydrator the size of a football field.
Instead, you can make sure you buy sheets that are bigger than your dehydrator so that you can cut them down to size and use them in the safe knowledge that there’s no piece of your tray that isn’t covered with a sheet.
An important part of using dehydrator sheets is making sure that you take good care of them, going forward. Thanks to the makeup of dehydrator sheets, they’re unlikely to retain any food from previous uses as you go forward and dehydrate more food.
Therefore, all you really need to do when you clean them is run them under hot, soapy water. After that, they’ll be clean and ready to use again. Of course, before you use your dehydrator sheets again, you need to make sure that they’re completely dry, in order to ensure you aren’t making food wet when you’re hoping to make it dry.