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Category: Kitchen: Veggies and Salads

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The Benefits of Dehydrating Produce

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 with 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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Category: Kitchen: Veggies and Salads

Related Links:  | Recipes | Frugal Tips | Barbecue | Dessert | Fruit | Homemade |
 | Meal Planning | Meat | Organization | Sauces | Veggies |

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