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My wife has been wanting a dehydrator and our conventional microwave just went up. I did some research and found a new breed of microwave that I was previously unaware of, namely, the convection microwave oven. I'm wondering if I can kill two birds with one stone here and get both with my new purchase.

Can a convection microwave be used to dry fruit?

Previously, to dry fruit, she has just been setting the oven to a really low temperature for a couple hours and cracking the door ever so slightly. This has a mediocre level success and makes our house smell funny.

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I would guess that you will get a the same limited success for a couple of reasons.

You might not have the correct heat required. Food dehydrators usually have an operating temperature around 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If you can get your convection oven to go that low, I don't think you would have a problem with accidentally cooking the food.

Heat however is only the first step. Dehydrators only use heat to coax the moisture out of the foodstuff. The key ingredients you are going to be missing is the air-flow and ventilation. A crucial component to de-hydrating is quickly removing the moisture (released by the heat) from the air surrounding it. The air flow allows for a higher evaporation rate since the moisture inside the food will be in a disequilibrium with with air surrounding it. The ventilation supplies the surrounding space with a constant supply or dryer air effectively maintaining disequilibrium. The greater the disequilibrium, the faster the food be de-hydrated.

If I were you, I'd make her happy and go get a good dehydrator with adjustable fan-speeds.

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My convection microwave does go that low, and does have a fan for the airflow. So, if you are still to go shopping, it is possible to find such microwaves. –  MSalters Nov 15 '11 at 11:46
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