Can We Put Wax Paper in a Dehydrator?
To begin with, for those wondering what is a wax paper and why are we discussing, whether or not to use it in a dehydrator and how to use it?
Let’s begin with, what is a wax paper? Wax paper or paraffin paper is a paper which is rendered moisture-proof by applying wax. Now, coming to what is the need to use a wax paper in the dehydrator – there are many dehydrators available in the market which do not come with accessories like fruit roll sheets or nonstick mesh screens. This could be a problem when you are looking to make a fruit roll or fruit leather or other similar things.
A common query by new dehydrator users is – If they can use a wax paper while dehydrating their food items? As a wax paper is quite handy and saves you the effort to search for fruit roll sheets compatible with your dehydrator model (as not every manufacturer of different dehydrator models offer compatible fruit roll sheets that can be ordered separately).
Buying the fruit roll sheets separately also causes you to spend extra money. So, a wax paper is intended to use for making fruit leather or rolls, as the mesh of the dehydrator trays are big and spreading the fruit leather on them is not possible.
Drawbacks of Using Wax Paper
However, using wax paper in your new dehydrator is highly not recommended. There are many reasons of why not to do that? Let’s go through each of them one by one –
1) Fruit or Vegetable Pieces Stick to It
If you do not want to keep the fruit/vegetable pieces directly on the dehydrator trays, to either save them from getting dirty or prevent the food from sticking to it and use a wax paper instead. It is a bad idea. As when the fruit or vegetable slices put on to the wax paper are dehydrated, they stick to the paper and do not come out easily. This is annoying as it results in breaking or tearing of the fruit pieces. You can use parchment instead, as it does not require wax to qualify for being non-stick.
2) Chemicals in the Wax Paper Leach into the Food
During the process of dehydration, the wax paper gets heated and the chemicals in the wax paper leach into the food slices being dried. This totally spoils the taste of the food or dish being made. This is also not a good idea health wise.
3) The Wax Can Melt
As most of the dehydrator operate at really high temperatures like 160 to 180 degrees F or higher. This can sometimes cause the wax to melt. This spoils the entire dish being prepared like, fruit leathers etc as the wax mixes with the food, and spoils its taste. This can lead to total waste of the entire food being dehydrated.
4) Interference with Heat Circulation
Using wax paper is not a good idea as this also hinders the circulation of hot air to some extent. It is better to use parchment paper instead. As the main idea behind dehydrating is proper circulation of hot air to ensure even and uniform drying. Parchment paper allows the warm air to seep and penetrate easily.
Alternatives to Wax Paper
The best alternative wax paper is using parchment paper as it holds the similar benefit as of the wax paper – both are cheap and save you the cost of buying expensive fruit roll sheets or clean-a-screen sheets. Additionally, parchment paper does not have the above-mentioned disadvantages.
Another cheap and affordable hack is to purchase plastic embroidery mesh or stiff plastic canvas as an alternative to expensive clean a screen sheets. Their fine mesh size allows good airflow for smaller food items and prevents them from falling onto the next tray. They are available in different size, you can cut to the shape of your dehydrator and cut out a hole in the center. These are available on Amazon.
There are many problems that arise in using a wax paper for drying the fruit or vegetable pieces in the dehydrator. It spoils the taste and appearance of the food. There are suggestions like using natural wax paper and not the white wax paper may yield little better results. You can brush some olive oil onto the natural (brown) wax paper before laying down the food pieces unless they are not oily enough.
Having said that, wax paper is definitely not the best choice to use as spreadsheet for drying food items, like fruit leather or fruits or vegetables. It is recommended to opt for parchment paper or plastic embroidery mesh or stiff plastic canvas.