Dehydrating food is one of my favorite ways of preserving; I love it so much I’m teaching a class on dehydrating foods! So if you’ve got a dehydrator in the closet that you bought for just making jerky–get it out! Because let me tell you, it can do so much more than just make jerky!
Maybe you don’t even have a dehydrator yet and are wondering if dehydrating is for you. I hope I can convince you to give it a try because it’s fun, easy and so versatile. You can build a complete food storage easily, quickly, and safely.
Dehydrating is a very old method of food preservation. If you remove 90 to 95% of the water content from food then bacteria that aid in the decomposition process can’t survive. Your food is preserved in a sort of suspended state waiting for you to add the water back in order to nourish your body. Here are some important facts you should know about this great food preserving method.
Facts About Dehydrating Food
Easy To Do
Dehydrating is fun and easy. Most foods can be dehydrated and there aren’t a ton of rules you have to remember like other food preservation methods. There are techniques that help your food be at its best through the dehydrating process but it’s really hard to “mess up” when dehydrating.
Risk Factor Is Low
There is a risk factor with all preserved foods. After all, they are not fresh, so something had to make them safe to eat at a later time. The risk of your food not being safe to eat after you have preserved it is very low with dehydration. There is also a low risk of your food not tasting good after you’ve dehydrated it, provided you’ve used the correct pre-treatment.
Dehydrating preserves more of a food’s natural enzymes than other forms of food preservation. Dehydrated food can be as nutritious as fresh food provided the food is dehydrated at low temperatures. This is especially handy for preserving herbs for natural remedies since all of the herb’s healing properties can be preserved.
Light and Portable
Dehydrated food is light and portable. All the heavy water content has been removed so the food is super light. This makes stuffing it in a backpack, a bug-out bag, or a 72-hour kit a great choice. You can carry considerably more dehydrated food than fresh or other food preserved by a different method.
Easily Add Food To Your Food Storage
Since dehydrating is such an easy process you can quickly build up food storage for whatever emergency might come along, or just for a rainy day.
Takes Up A Smaller Amount Of Space
Since dehydrated food is missing water content, not only is it light and portable, but its size is greatly reduced. So your food storage takes up less space. This is great for people who don’t have a lot of storage space. Also, it can be stacked, unlike home-canned food.
Preserve Your Organic Garden
You worked hard on that organic garden. Dehydrating is a great way to preserve your harvest. You can simply put things in your dehydrator as they become ripe. You can dehydrate in large or small batches.
You can create some great-tasting recipes even if you’re not trying to build food storage. Have you ever had homemade crunchy spiced corn or kale chips? They make great healthy snacks.
Less Running To the Grocery Store
This one is kind of a no-brainer if you have food storage. But the thing is that sometimes you’d rather run to the store before opening a case, jar, or can of something in your food storage. But when you dehydrate you can open almost any container, take a little out, and seal it back up with little or no trouble.
Uses A Minimum Amount Of Energy
Other forms of food preservation use a lot of energy either for the process itself (canning) or to maintain the environment (freezing). Dehydrating takes very little energy to process food and none to store it.
Dehydrated Food Is Easy To Cook With
Dehydrated foods are really easy to cook with. Most of the time you can throw them into soups or stews without even reconstituting them. Even if you need to rehydrate them for a recipe it usually only takes a quick soak in a bit of water.
Save A Ton Of Money Making Powders
Not only can you save a ton of money by preserving things from your garden but you can save a ton of money by not having to buy so many items from the spice aisle. You can make your own garlic and onion powder. Dry your own basil and rosemary. You can even make some of your own spice powders like ginger and turmeric powder.
Equipment Is A Good Investment
A good dehydrator is not super cheap but it’s probably not the most expensive thing in your kitchen either. The thing is if you buy a good dehydrator (I recommend an Excalibur) then you’re likely to have it for years. They are excellent dehydrators and mine has paid for itself many times over.
Can Be Done In Any Location
You can dehydrate almost any place on earth. All you need is either a bit of electricity or the sun. Sun Oven makes a dehydrating kit for their solar oven, and you always have the option of making your own solar dehydrator. So dehydrating is a great off-grid food preserving option.
Children Love It
Kids love bite-sized snacks, and dehydrating different foods can give them a variety of healthy snacks. They are no longer limited to just raisins. You can dehydrate most any food and kids love the sweet (most fruit is sweeter once it’s dehydrated) chewy bites.
Dehydrated Foods Can Be Stored At Room Temperature
Although any food will last longer the cooler, darker, and dryer it stays, dehydrated food will last a good long while at room temperature as long as it stays dry. So that means you can store it in a closet or bedroom.
Did I leave any dehydrating facts out? What’s your favorite reason for dehydrating food?