The benefits of dehydrating foods are plentiful and you don’t lose any nutritional value (as you do in cooked foods). In fact, the dehydration process retains almost 100% of the nutritional content of the food, retains the alkalinity of fresh produce and actually inhibits the growth bacteria. Whether you are stocking up for a long winter, prepping for the zombie apocalypse or next super storm or simply because you enjoy dehydrated foods, you can’t go wrong with this process!
The modern dehydrator produces basically the same food with about 75 percent of its moisture removed. The only threat to deterioration is the remaining moisture. When dehydrating food, it is better to over-dry than under-dry. Once dehydrated, food must be packed inside airtight moisture-proof jars, bags or containers. It should be stored in a cool, dark area such as a pantry or cupboard. According to the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Science at Brigham Young University, rice, corn, wheat and grains that have been properly dehydrated, canned and stored will last 30 years or more. Dehydrated vegetables, fruits, and pastas have a shelf life of up to 30 years. Powdered milks or milk substitutes can last up to 20 years.
“Living foods are uncooked foods,” says The Healing Journal, and “dehydrating food dates back to Biblical times when it was a necessity.” Modern dehydrators produce a thin food material with its vitamins and minerals still present. Dried vegetables and sprouts, naturally low in “high-cholesterol” fats, are high in fiber. Almost no Vitamin C is lost in dehydration, and all Vitamin A–Beta Carotene–in plant foods is retained. Such minerals as selenium, potassium and magnesium are preserved.
Cost Effective & Convenient
Dried foods can be rather pricey in a store. A food dehydrator enables you to preserve fresh, nutritious foods in your own home at a fraction of the cost. Add your favorite nuts to dehydrated apples, pineapples, grapes, or cranberries for a tasty and healthy trail mix. Make genuine meat jerky from beef, poultry and pork. Banana chips are examples of what can be made by dehydrating to 3-5 percent moisture content. It’s usually a good idea to soak dehydrated foods prior to consumption, preferably in distilled water. This promotes the absorption of just enough water for optimal taste. Another popular method is placing dehydrated food in a steamer. Absorbing steam plumps it up beautifully.
Dehydrated foods are easy to store in emergency kits. These kits can allow for nutritional foods to be a part of an emergency kit without having to worry about refrigeration.
Those looking for portion-control snacking can look to dehydrated foods for help. Dehydrated foods can be healthy snacks that you package in individual-sized portions. It’s perfect for the office, on a long car ride or stopping to snack during a hike.
When foods are dehydrated, they shrink in size. It is easy to package dehydrated foods in small containers and make room for them in your pantry. This can save you space in the pantry and in the refrigerator.
I have dried pineapples, apples, carrots, baby spinach, oranges, lemons, bananas and mangoes in my Nesco Dehydrator and I LOVE IT! It comes with five racks (including the base) and is expandable up to seven racks. Amazon sells this model for less than $40: http://www.amazon.com/Nesco-FD-37A-American-Dehydrator-400-watt/dp/B00CS5ZI6G/ref=sr_1_3?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1389026089&sr=1-3&keywords=nesco+dehydrators
Helpful Hint: Make sure you load the dehydrator with foods that have similar drying times so one isn’t over dried where others could be under dried. I mixed some apples and pineapple in with my tofu and yogurt for breakfast this morning and it was wonderful – just the right amount of sweetness and the yogurt softened the fruits a bit as well. Experiment and enjoy!