Whether you’re a prepper or just a practical person, it pays to know the best foods to dehydrate. Dehydrated foods last longer and having these in your arsenal is a wise move. It’s best to be always prepared especially in our current economy.
What Foods to Dehydrate for Survival
Though an excellent food type, vegetables could take much longer to dehydrate compared to fruits. Vegetables contain lower volumes of acid. As mentioned earlier, food with higher acid content is easier to preserve using this method.
Before you put the vegetable on the dehydrator, make sure to wash it first. You then slice it into regular size. Some types of vegetables require blanching and soaking to icy liquid to break down enzymes. This is for texture and flavor preservation. Some of the best foods to dehydrate under this category are beets, carrots, celery, corn, onions, peas, and potatoes.
Whether for consumption on the go or long-term storage, fruits are an excellent food type for dehydration. The pre-dehydration process is similar to that of vegetables. An ideal preparation technique is slicing the fruit into thin even shapes. This will make the drying process a lot faster.
Fruits of smaller sizes can be dried without slicing. You can dehydrate them as is.
Some fruits such as pears and apples change color when dehydrated. Don’t be turned off though. The discoloration does not affect the flavor and the safeness of the fruit. But you can also dry the fruit using ascorbic acid to retain its color. Apples, bananas, cherries, grapes, plums, and tomatoes are just some of the best foods to dehydrate under this category.
One of the most efficient ways to make meat last longer is through dehydration. Dried meat, since time ancient times, has been an excellent source of protein during famine and war. The best type of meat to dehydrate is the lean variety. Lean meat has less fat which makes it easier to preserve.
Not all meat can be instantly dried. Some need to be treated first to eliminate harmful microorganisms. Wild meat is an example of this.
Similar to fruits and vegetables, it is best to slice meat into thin portions before drying. This makes the process quicker and more efficient. At least cut the meat into a quarter of an inch. To make it easy to consume, you also need to slice the meat against the grain. The best meat to dehydrate is beef.
What About the Taste?
What about it? Of course, dehydrating food alters its taste and texture. But this does not automatically mean that the food will taste bad. If done the right way, dehydrated food could taste awesome. If you like raisins and prunes, you know for sure what this means. Dehydration is not unlike other food preparation methods. Pickling fruits, for instance, could be hit or miss depending on how properly you do it.
What About the Nutrients?
In theory, dehydrating food can result in diminished nutrient content. However, due to the advancement in technology, 90% of nutrients can be made intact. The simple technique of lowering the temperature during the dehydration process is an excellent way to preserve most of the food nutrients. State-of-the-art dehydrators that are available nowadays are also designed for better food quality retention.
Using A Dehydrator
A dehydrator is what its name says. It’s a machine that removes the moisture of food to make it last longer for future consumption. Yes, you can air dry or use an oven for this purpose. But not all types of food though can be dehydrated using these methods.
Besides, investing in a dehydrator allows you to dry food without the hassle. You can do it anytime and anywhere. Price-wise, not all dehydrators are expensive. You can find affordable yet good-quality models such as the Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster. Research is key.
Quick Tips on Dehydrating Food
1.Wash Your Food
This is important. Before putting your food in the dehydrator or using any preservation method you prefer, clean it first. Wash the food well using water and any anti-bacterial fruit or vegetable cleaner. Of course, do not forget to sanitize your hands and wear clean gloves while doing this.
2. Dry Your Food Slowly
When dehydrating food, slow is always better. Dry your food as long as necessary. This makes the preservation process more thorough and even. Turning the temperature up though is a no-no. This will make the food easy to spoil since moisture will be trapped inside it.
3. Set the Right Temperature
Keep this in mind. The type of food you will preserve will determine the corresponding time and temperature required in the process. Make sure to read the dehydrating guide on the device’s label. Or better yet read the instruction manual carefully.
4. Remember the Magic Number 95
The best way to ensure that your food will not spoil during storage is to dehydrate it well. Any type of food should be dehydrated 95%. Nothing more, nothing less. If you’re still not satisfied, put them in the dehydrator until the moistness is gone.
Check out this Best and Worst food to Dehydrate vid by Adamimmune:
You can dehydrate almost any type of food. Some foods though have certain qualities that make them more favorable for drying. Foods that contain less fat and a higher level of acid spoil slower. But no matter what food types you use, it is best to always use the freshest supplies.
Whether we are talking about fruits, vegetables, or meat, make sure to dehydrate them while they are fresh. The sooner, the better.
There are various means to preserve food but in terms of efficiency and faster results, using a dehydrator is a superb option. But of course, being informed about the best food to dehydrate is key to the success of this process. Keep researching and always be prepared as a good prepper would do.
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What preservation method do you prefer to make your food last longer? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
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