Dehydrating Foods – My Favourite Method of Food Storage
With or without a Dehydrator, drying your own food has many advantages…
Are you thinking about drying foods to preserve them?
Just about every season has some food you can dry, and the variety of dried foods is significant… While many choose to dehydrate animal foods, and you can certainly do that, whether it is your more common beef and chicken to wild game jerky in the fall.
My preference is to store Vegan foods, so what I will be covering are almost any and all vegetables from corn to green beans. I will also be looking at drying all sorts of fruits – including bananas & apples which are available pretty much year-round in most grocery stores to berries you can grow or even harvest wild.
Of course the other things that I want to focus on are drying fresh herbs… not just for use in cooking but also for medicinal purposes, and herbs are great dried and stored providing it is done correctly.
But why bother? Are there any benefits to dried foods?
Here are some of the benefits of drying foods.
1. It’s Economical
Have you taken note at the prices of dried fruits and vegetables in your grocery or health food store? You might have had to look twice – they’re expensive. They are particularly pricey if they are healthful versions, such as organic or free of preservatives, artificial colors and flavors.
Drying your own wholesome food is much less expensive, especially if you dry foods that are in season and/or on sale and you can buy bulk… Local produce markets are good for this. And of course don’t forget you can grow your own, and make sure you grow extra so you can dehydrate some.
Also, when you go on car trips and family vacations, bringing along some of your own dried foods can save you a lot of money on snacks and meals while traveling. Especially good if you enjoy camping or hiking
2. Long Shelf Life
Dehydrated food is perfect to store for use in an emergency situation. Because it can last such a long time, when stored correctly, you should include it in any emergency kits you may have for yourself and your family. Or in your general food storage, especially if you are Prepping for anything unexpected that might happen.
Even if you are just storing food for short emergency situations, such as if the power goes out during a summer storm or due to some other act of nature… Having a stash of dehydrated foods along with other life necessities like fresh water or other items you might need, means you can still have fruit, vegetables, and meats (if you choose) available to prepare meals.
As I already mentioned, if you like hiking and camping, dehydrated food makes a great addition to your packs – as well as being high in nutrition, it’s lightweight and can last for an extended period of time because there is no need for refrigeration.
I think it is probably obvious, from just what I have already mentioned that dried foods are very convenient.
They are really good if you have children and need to grab something quick on the way out the door. There are many situations that can occur in life unexpectedly, especially when you have children, such as if one of them needs to go to the ER, and you don’t know how long you’ll be waiting there? You and the other children will likely need something to eat at some point, so it is great to have some dried snacks on hand.
Even when you are out running errands, it’s nice to have some food in the car just in case something unexpected causes your trip to be longer than expected. In fact, you can have a take-along bag with dried foods that you always take with you in the car and in addition to the fact that you have available quick and easy healthy food, it also saves you money buying from fast food outlets.
Dried food is also convenient when you can’t get to the store, such as during a bad storm, and in the US there were some really good examples of this during some record breaking snowstorms over the past winter.
It’s also nice to be able to have dried produce on hand for soups and stews and other recipes, it can save having to go out to buy produce at the time, and end up having some go to waste in your refrigerator.
Don’t forget having ‘out of season’ treats… During winter you can serve up a fresh-tasting raspberry sauce or have on hand some other vegetables that would normally only be easily accessible during spring or summer months.
Dried food retains most of the nutrients, except those that depend on the presence of water. All of the fiber remains intact and providing you know how it has been grown, it’s chemical free, devoid of preservatives and artificial flavors and colors.
Think of being able to reap the health benefits when, for example, you feel a cold coming on and you can treat yourself with your own dried herbs and even foods that can help ward off colds and flu.
5. Easy and Inexpensive to Prepare
Dehydrating food is relatively simple to do… There’s no need to fuss over sterilizing jars, or using a pressure canner, not to mention spending money on extra ingredients like sugar and vinegar which are not healthy anyway.
You start and end with just the food, only in a more concentrated form – it’s simple, and most of the food can be restored to a ‘fresh’ state by the addition of water, or water and heat.
Check out Dehydrators on Amazon… I own the 9 Tray Excalibur Below:
Excalibur 9 Tray Dehydrator
- 9-Tray dehydrator, 15 square feet of drying space
- Built in on/off switch and adjustable thermostat with 26 hour timer
- Include flexible polyscreen tray inserts to prevent foods from sticking
Get Started Dehydrating!
So there you have just some of the many advantages of using dehydration as a way of preserving and storing fresh foods. If you have not tried it for yourself, then I encourage you to start, even if it is just using an air drying method to dry some fresh herbs. If might surprise you just how easy it can be…