Can we talk about Dehydrating? For those that might not know what dehydrating is, let me explain. Dehydrating is the art of removing the moisture content out of food at a very low temperature. At least 95 percent or more is desired. Once the moisture has been removed the food item will be very small and firm.
Dehydrating is just one more layer to food storage and it has several advantages over freezing and pressure canning.
- Unlike canning or freezing one of the biggest advantages is the food item will retain most all of its nutritional value and does not deteriorate over time.
- The food items can be stored in canning jars, repurposed glass or plastic jars or vacuum packed. If you use any type of jar an oxygen absorber needs to be placed in the jar to prevent moisture inside. Jars will also need a tight fitting lid for proper storage.
- If you have a limited amount of storage space you are in luck! With dehydrating you can store at least 3 to 4 times the amount of food. As an example I dehydrated a 10 LB bag of potatoes cut into cubes and I stored them in 2 – quart and -1- pint jar. Now I could have just vacuum seal them in a bag so I could stack them on the shelf as well. Another example is a 1-LB bag of cut green beans = about 2 cup of dehydrated beans. Crazy good – right!
- If packaged in a vacuum bag they travel easy or store in a go bag well.
- Make specialty items: Dry your own herbs and have a custom blend cup of tea for yourself or as gifts.
Save all your leftover breads to make a custom blend of bread crumbs, dehydrate then grind in the blender with any spices or herbs then package.
- Pre-package all the ingredients for a soup or stews except the meat, label and store.
- Customize the pre-package for one or two people.
- Make snacks like granola, fruit leathers (fruit roll ups) and jerky.
- Save money by purchasing in season fruit and vegetables and dehydrate.
- Make tomato powder to flavor soup, stew, or to make tomato sauce or paste.
These are only a portion of what you can do with dehydrating.
Now like with anything there are pro’s and con’s so this is the downside as I see it.
- You need a dehydrator. You can use an oven but it would not be cost efficient and it would possibly take much longer to dehydrate the food.
- You will need oxygen absorbers if using anything other than a vacuum sealer (some people even use them in the vacuum bags).
- You will need water to rehydrate the food and preferably hot. But with the space you save you can store more.
- Need to save jars. I have a thing for glass jars- I just have to save them. A 32 oz. pickle jar holds a 1LB box of elbow macaroni, but could be used for green beans or broccoli.
- Cost to acquire the items above.
So what type of dehydrator do you need?
I’ve been dehydrating for about 10 years now and I started with a Oster from Walmart it was inexpensive about $30.00 but it is still going, I have three trays of cut green beans in it right now.
After I was sure I liked dehydrating I found the Excalibur, this is by far my favorite. This is the reason why. It has 5 nice size trays that slide in. It has a timer and a temperature setting and more importantly the fan is in the back so the warm air blows across the food making the food dry evenly and faster. With the Oster it does not have any of these features, it has an on /off switch and I rotate the trays because the fan is on the bottom and it blows the warm air up. For a small investment it pays big dividends for sure.
Now please don’t miss understand, I still pressure can meats. I do not dehydrate any meat. I also order dehydrated eggs, butter, milk and cheese to have on hand.
Just one more thing, I learned everything I know from Tammy Gangloff at Dehydrate2store.com
Tammy is the go to person on Dehydrating, she is a walking encyclopedia and even though I have never had the pleasure of meeting Tammy, I think you will agree she appears to be a selfless, honest and caring person that just wants to help people be prepared for any emergency that comes our way. Watch her videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/Dehydrate2store
Please leave any comments or questions below. Thank you for stopping by.