Canned Foods

Did you know that many commercially canned foods can be dehydrated?  You might ask why anyone would take food already canned and dehydrate them.

So glad you asked that question!  There are a variety of reasons:

One Pound Can of Green Beans

Reasons for Dehydrating Commercially Canned Foods:

  1. Canned foods usually have a lot of moisture in them, making them heavy to move about. In addition, they take up a lot of space. If, like me, you live in a small mobile home, storage space is at a premium. A one pound can of green beans will dehydrate down to abound ½ cup of dried green beans.
  2. If you have a limited income, it is far more economical to buy in bulk than one or two at a time when needed.  For example, instead of paying $1.85 per can for red kidney beans, I found them on sale for 55¢ per can!  I bought a whole case and brought them home.
  3. If you are traveling or camping, it’s easier to take dehydrated food than water-packed food.
  4. If you are packing lunches for yourself or your family, again, it’s easier to bring a dehydrated meal that won’t be at risk for spoilage. Depending on what it is, simply add water and microwave.
  5. Speaking of those carry-in lunches, you can toss an assortment of your favorite veggies and seasonings into a thermos bottle. Add hot water and seal. Give it a few shakes to make sure everything is completely wet. By lunch time, you have a piping hot meal ready to eat.
  6. This can be a major time saver for a busy homemaker.  You can store a variety of dehydrated foods and when you have enough, combine them for wonderful soups, stews, and casseroles.
  7. Think in terms of crock-pot meals with all the ingredients for one meal (including seasonings) in one bag.  Imagine, open a bag, plop the ingredients into the pot, add water, and Voila! By supper you have a complete meal ready to serve. What can be easier than that? And BTW, it is profoundly cheaper than buying those commercially prepared ones!

Some Tips on Dealing With Commercially Canned Foods:

  1. Read your labels carefully. Make sure they are not prepared with fats. Fats go rancid very quickly and will affect the taste. 
  2. Try to buy only real foods. Make sure there are no chemical additives or extra sugars and such.  Water and salt or just plain water is the best.
  3. Watch for those “loss leaders” at your grocery store. They usually are fantastic buys just to draw you into the store.  Take advantage of them. Don’t worry about storage, dehydrating will deal with that.
  4. Use your salad spinner to remove extra moisture from your canned food before dehydrating.  Save that broth! It’s rich in nutrients. Use it as a seasoning in sauces or gravies, add a few spices and use it as a v-8 kind of beverage, add it to your latest batch of soup.  It’s good for you!
  5. If it’s something thick that you might use in a specific recipe, measure out portions and separate them so you’ll know how much goes in each bag. For example, with applesauce, I measure out ½ cup portions and plop them onto my fruit leather trays. That way, when I am eating a snack, I know exactly how much I’m getting for my diabetic diet. With loose things like beans and such, use one rack per can or divide and separate two cans on one rack with a space between them. If you need smaller portions, simply measure out ½ or 1 cup portions with spaces between them. 
What Kinds of Canned Foods Dehydrate Well?
  • Just about any plain vegetable
  • Plain vegetables
  • Plain beans
  • Fruit canned in its own juice, pear juice, pineapple juice
  • Fruit cocktail
  • Applesauce
  • Cranberry sauce – please avoid those with high fructose corn syrup.  You may have to make your own… and that’s pretty easy, too!
  • Pumpkin pie filling – the plain canned pumpkin is best


  1. Thanks for this post. I've been thinking about dehydrating industrial size frozen vegetables and those that come in #10 cans. You've answered my questions.

    I love this blog. It has everything I need to goose me into getting started dehydrating.

  2. Thanks so much for the compliment! I love sharing information, it makes such a difference in people's lives.

    I feel a little guilty at the moment. it's been weeks since I've posted anything. I've been really ill and haven't had access to the internet for several weeks. However, I did manage to dehydrate some fresh cranberries. Soon as I have the energy, I'll be making several posts on the topic.

  3. Hi I am new to dehydrating and I just don't know when they are "done" I experimented with canned green beans at 125 degrees(too hot?) for 12 hours. If the bean isn't black and shriveled then it doesn't feel dried. the ones that aren't totally shriveld and black, are still bendable and soft. what am I doing wrong?

    1. HI, personally, I'm thinking your temperature is too high. Generally I dehydrate at around 115 degrees for fruits and veggies. The books recommend a higher temp, but there is a risk of CASE HARDENING. See my post on case hardening by typing it into the search box.

      Are you draining your beans well before dehydrating them? Are you talking about green beans or something like kidney beans? They should be crispy when dry.

      Are you getting beans that are black and some flexible in the same batch on the same tray or is it on different trays?

      If your dehydrator does not have a blower, could be you are not getting consistent drying. You will need to rotate your racks if you don't have a blower. Keep me posted and we'll try to figure this out.

      Good Luck!

  4. Just found your site and am loving it. My wife is a canned food hoarder and I've been looking into ways to reduce the space we use for them and you have given me the answer,dehydration. We live in a mobile home in Ohio so space is a premium for us and this is going to help out SO much. I'm borrowing a dehydrator off my sister in-law till i can get one of my own but until then i'll study your site top to bottom.
    Thank you for a great resource and great helping ideas.

    Central Ohio

    1. HI Michael,

      So glad you found my site. I also live in a dinky trailer with almost no storage space. My husband though I was a nut-case because of my dehydrating, but he has gotten on board.

      Before you buy one, you might want to check my post on comparing different types of dehydrators. Don't get duped into buying a fancy expensive machine with lots of bells and whistles. Most of that stuff just isn't necessary. If you don't have a lot of money to spend, just remember, you need a THERMOSTAT and a BLOWER. Basically, that's all there is to it. You don't need a timer. There is no set time on dehydrating different foods. Too many variables.

      See my post on Variables in Dehydrating Times for more information.

  5. What a great site! I dehydrate canned fruits and veggies for all the reasons you do, as well I also dehydrate them before the expiration dates so they will preserve another couple of decades. But we do eat them before the decade changes to a new one!

    I discovered dehydrating the No. 10 canned fruits and veggies is about the same price I'd spend on fresh and adding in my prep work -- which takes a very long time. The canned is so easy to do.

    Again, you have a great web site and I thank you for all the efforts you put into it.

  6. I have some cherries I canned last year...but find I will be more likely to use them if they were dry, like in breads and cakes....what are your thoughts on dry home canned fruits?

    1. Go ahead and dehydrate them. They will take far less space and will rehydrate just fine.