By Monica Resinger
Dehydrating produce is a great way to preserve produce that takes up less
space and is less work than canning or freezing. Dehydrating foods is a simple
process of exposing foods to heat and air which evaporates the moisture from the
foods. A food dehydrator will dry produce, meats, herbs and flowers. This
article will discuss drying produce.
Generally, to dry fruits and vegetables, you slice them thin, and depending
on if it browns or not when exposed to air, dip the slices in lemon juice. You
then place the slices onto the racks of the dehydrator and turn it on. My kids
have a good time helping me prepare the food for drying and are getting a
valuable lesson in food preservation not to mention quality time with mom. After
a matter of time (it depends on which fruit or vegetable you're drying), you
will have the finished product ready to be stored in glass jars, baggies,
canisters or whatever you'd like to store them in. It usually takes quite a few
hours for the produce to become dry. When you purchase a food dehydrator, it
comes with an instruction book listing approximate times, directions and a few
recipes that include the finished product.
Since the finished product is dried, the natural flavor is concentrated into
chewy, healthy snacks. Dehydrated vegetables are great thrown into soups,
casseroles and stews. Dehydrated fruit is good in muffins, cake, granola or
pancake batter to name a few. This is when you get to be creative and come up
your own great ideas.
Dried food is great for hikers and campers for the obvious reasons of lighter
food to carry and no spoilage. It's also great for people trying to get their
children or themselves to eat healthier and for garden growers that like to
preserve their harvest for later use.
A food dehydrator can save you a lot of money. For one, the cost of dried
fruit at the grocery store is pretty high, so you can save yourself quite a bit
of money by drying it yourself. For two, if you have purchased too much of
something, you can dehydrate it for use later instead of letting it go bad. Not
only will food dehydration save you money, but it will also save you valuable
shelf space in your kitchen. The finished product takes up a lot less space
compared to canning or freezing and you don't need expensive canning jars or
freezer containers. One last benefit is there is considerably less work involved
when compared to canning or freezing.
To sum it up, if you are a person that wants to eat healthier, save money,
cook creatively and/or have a great way to preserve food, then a food dehydrator
is for you.
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