How To Dehydrate Sour Cream

A lot of people might ask the question, “Why dehydrate sour cream?” While it is true that dehydrated, or powdered, sour cream is not commonly found on store shelves, there are actually many good reasons people like to use it. It can be added as a flavoring agent to baked goods, sauces, dips and casseroles to bring out richer flavor levels. It takes up less storage space when dried as opposed to it’s regular form, and many people dehydrate it to have on hand in case of severe emergencies.

Commercially made dehydrated sour cream can be hard to find and rather expensive. A better alternative is to dehydrate it yourself. It is easy to do and dried sour cream will last a long time if stored properly. Here are the basic steps for dehydrating sour cream and safely storing it.

To dehydrate sour cream, simply spread it out thinly on a non-stick cookie sheet and place it in the dehydrator on the lowest possible setting. For best drying, the thickness of the sour cream on the sheet should be less then ¼ of an inch. Be sure that the temperature of the dehydrator is set as low as possible or a slight browning of the powder may occur during the drying process.

Drying times will vary based upon where you live and atmospheric conditions. The amount of time needed will be determined by the the amount you are drying, temperature and humidity levels and altitude. Do not worry about over drying. You will know the sour cream is completely dehydrated when it achieves a dry, powdery feel.

When dried sour cream comes out of the dehydrator it will be clumpy. You can easily break apart the clumps into a more powdery texture or grind it in a food processor for a very fine texture. If the clumps do not break apart easily or have any feel of moisture, place the sour cream back into the dehydrator for more drying.

Dehydrated sour cream must be stored under very stringent conditions to avoid both spoiling and possible human health concerns. Sour cream contains a large amount of lactose which can quickly spoil (think of the taste of very rancid milk) if exposed to oxygen and moisture. It must be stored in very air-tight containers and is best kept in the refrigerator or freezer. If refrigeration is not possible, make sure the container is totally air-tight and place in a cool, but not damp area. It is also best to avoid exposure to sunlight. If the dried sour cream has any rancid odor or taste, discard it immediately.

Dehydrated sour cream can be re-constituted by slowly blending it with warm water. Never use boiling water as this will curdle the cream. It will usually not return to it’s original thickly creamy texture, but can be whipped into a strong enough texture for thin dips or for blending it into baked goods and other dishes.