Why Store Dehydrated Food?
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Are you looking for a food storage option that won’t break the bank and can last for years? Look no further than dehydrated food! Not only is it lightweight and compact, but it’s also easy to prepare and can be used in a variety of recipes. In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about dehydrated food, including how to choose the best options, how to store it properly, and even how to dehydrate your own food at home.
Dehydrated Food vs Freeze-Drying
Before we dive into the benefits of dehydrated food, let’s take a quick look at freeze-drying. As you know I am a huge freeze-drying fan! While freeze-drying is a great option for some foods, it can be expensive and requires special equipment. Dehydrated food, on the other hand, can be made with a dehydrator that can easily fit on your countertop. Plus, dehydrated food is often more affordable and can be stored without refrigeration.
It’s worth noting the differences between dehydrated food and freeze-dried food. Both are methods of food preservation that remove moisture from food to extend its shelf life, but they differ in how they do it.
Dehydrating food involves removing moisture from food by exposing it to heat and air. This process can take anywhere from several hours to a few days, depending on the food and dehydration method used. The result is a food that’s lightweight and compact, making it perfect for storing in emergency kits or taking on camping trips. However, dehydrated food can lose some of its nutritional value and flavor due to the heat used in the dehydration process.
Freeze-drying food involves removing moisture from food by freezing it and then using a vacuum to remove the ice crystals. This process preserves the food’s nutritional value and flavor better than dehydrating. Freeze-dried food is also lightweight and compact, making it a popular choice for emergency food supplies. However, as I said above freeze-drying is a more expensive and time-consuming process than dehydrating.
Choosing Dehydrated Food
When it comes to choosing dehydrated food, there are a few things to keep in mind. Look for foods that are low in moisture, such as fruits, vegetables, and meats. These foods will dehydrate easily and can last for years when stored properly. You can also choose pre-packaged dehydrated meals, which are great for camping trips or emergency situations.
Storing Dehydrated Food
To make sure your dehydrated food stays fresh for as long as possible, it’s important to store it properly. Keep it in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and moisture. Airtight containers, such as mason jars or vacuum-sealed bags, are great options for storage. And don’t forget to label your containers with the contents and date of dehydration!
Preparing Dehydrated Food
Preparing dehydrated food is easy and can be done in a few different ways:
- Rehydrate: Simply soak the dehydrated food in water for a few hours or overnight until it’s fully rehydrated. Drain any excess water before using the food.
- Use in Recipes: Dehydrated food can be used in a variety of recipes, such as soups, stews, and casseroles. Simply add the dehydrated food to the recipe as you would any other ingredient.
- Eat as a Snack: Dehydrated fruits and vegetables make great snacks. They can be eaten as is or mixed with nuts and seeds for a healthy trail mix.
Dehydrating Your Own Food
If you want more control over the quality and variety of your dehydrated food, you can dehydrate your own food at home. There are many good dehydrators out there from the very basic to some that have stainless steel trays and are programmable.
Follow these steps to dehydrate your own food:
- Choose Your Food: Choose fresh, ripe fruits and vegetables for the best results. Wash and slice the food into thin, uniform pieces.
- Blanch Your Food: Blanch your fruits and vegetables by placing them in boiling water for a few seconds before placing them in an ice bath. This will help preserve their color and flavor.
- Dehydrate Your Food: Place the blanched food on a dehydrator tray and set the dehydrator to the appropriate temperature and time for the type of food you are dehydrating. The process can take several hours to several days depending on the food and the dehydrator.
- Store Your Food: Store your dehydrated food in airtight containers in a cool, dry place. Label the containers with the contents and date of dehydration.
Recipe Ideas for Dehydrated Food
Dehydrated food can be used in a variety of recipes. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Trail Mix: Mix dehydrated fruits and vegetables with nuts and seeds for a healthy and portable snack
- Fruit Leather: I actually used my fresh jam and dehydrated it and it made perfect fruit leather!
- Soup: Add dehydrated vegetables to a pot of boiling water, along with some spices and a protein source, for a hearty and healthy soup.
- Jerky: Dehydrate strips of beef or turkey for a delicious and protein-packed snack.
- Granola: Mix dehydrated fruits and nuts with oats and honey for a tasty and filling breakfast option.
- Chili: Add dehydrated beans, vegetables, and meat to a pot of chili for a nutritious and flavorful meal.
Dehydrated Food is Perfect for Food Storage
Dehydrated food is a great option for anyone looking to prepare for emergencies or simply stock up on long-lasting, affordable food options. With a little bit of knowledge and some basic equipment, anyone can dehydrate their own food at home and enjoy the benefits of this versatile storage option. So what are you waiting for? Give dehydrated food a try and see for yourself just how convenient and delicious it can be!