A Quick Guide to Dehydrating Fresh Food
We all know that cooking with fresh ingredients is always the best way to go. The vibrant flavors offered by fresh ingredients are simply unrivalled. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to store fresh produce over an extended period of time. This is where a good food dehydrator comes in handy. With a home food dehydrator, you can actually preserve food and ingredients in a healthy way. In this article, we’re going to go over some tips that will help you get started.
Why Dehydrate Food?
Dehydrating food is much better than buying canned – or factory dehydrated – products. You still get to cook with fresh ingredients, but instead of accepting the short shelf life you now have the option to preserve the processed – or unprocessed – ingredients over a longer period of time.
The best food dehydrator is also very affordable these days. You can find a suitable dehydrator for your kitchen by browsing through catalogues online. There are different shapes and models too, but most of them work brilliantly in preserving food.
How do I use a food dehydrator?
Food dehydrators are easy to use. They come with clear user manuals; even those with no experience in cooking can easily use a food dehydrator. What’s more important is knowing how to dehydrate food properly.
For starters, always make sure food is 95% dehydrated. Take your time and let the machine do all the hard work for you. If the food still feels spongy or watery, let it dehydrate for a bit longer. 95% dehydration is key to prolonged shelf life.
It is also important to take all the time you need and let food dehydrate properly. Don’t try to speed things up. You can shorten the amount of time needed to dehydrate food by doing it in a warm and dry environment, but other than that you should just let the machine do the work.
Last but not least, make sure you prepare the produce you want to dehydrate properly. Preparation is 70% of the work when it comes to dehydrating food. Use an anti-bacterial soap to wash fruits and vegetables you want to dehydrate. For low-acid vegetables, it is also a good idea to steam them for 10 minutes prior to dehydration.
Storing Dehydrated Food
Once the foods are dehydrated, you can store them over a certain period of time. Whenever you want to consume the dehydrated food, all you have to do is open the packaging and start rehydrating. You can place 1 cup of dehydrated food with 1 cup of hot or cold water in the container and let it rehydrate for about an hour. You can then cook the food as you normally would.
Storing dehydrated food is relatively easy to do as well. Avoid areas with too much moisture or heat in order to prolong the storage time further. You should also consider using a vacuum sealer to protect the food from moisture. A Ziploc bag is usually more than enough for this purpose.
Dehydrating food is not only more affordable but healthier as well. Find a good food dehydrator to use at home and start enjoying the benefits of dehydration today.