Dehydrating Tips: 11 Plus Tips For Successful Food Dehydrating
Many dehydrating tips are available online for people who want to store food for the long term. Some of the advice you find will help make the process easier, while others will help to lengthen the storage time. Drying fruits and vegetables can make them last much longer than they normally would. It is a cost effective way to ensure that you can meet your nutritional needs when certain foods are out of season.
Dehydrating tips can also help you to prepare for food shortages. Drying is a cheaper method than canning, and many people find the whole process much easier. With some methods there is no need for additional equipment. To get the best out of drying foodstuff for storage, you need to know some of the tricks that others use to shorten the process or get the best results.
Even before deciding what drying method to use, you need to know how to select the best foods for drying. Some important pointers that come in handy when choosing foodstuff to dry include:
- Reaping time: knowing when to reap if you plant your own supply of vegetables, fruits, peppers and any other foodstuff is important. For example, fruits and vegetables should be ripe, firm and free of blemishes.
- Buy suitable storage containers, such as air-tight storage cans.
- Blanche vegetables, that is, dip in hot water, this will kill any harmful bacteria.
- To ensure even drying, you should slice the foods you are drying as evenly as possible.
- Prevent the discoloration of fruits by dipping them in fruit juice, which has a high Vitamin C content such as lemon, orange or pineapple juice. Ascorbic acid will also work as it is a form of Vitamin C. Even cold water can stop some fruits from changing color.
- Preheat the dehydrator before putting the food inside.
Dehydrating Tips for Processing Foods
Some advice is useful for drying in the oven, sunlight or a dehydrator. When using an oven, it helps to keep in mind the following:
- Prop the oven door open to help moist heat escape
- If you can open windows and doors when doing peppers, do so as the open oven door will result in excess heat and the buildup of fumes
- Keep oven at the lowest temperature to prevent burning of the food you are drying
Other dehydrating tips to bear in mind include:
- Leave potatoes in the refrigerator overnight as this will make them easier to peel and slice
- Steam some foods such as beetroots, pumpkin and corn before drying
- Testing periodically is necessary as too high a temperature will harden the foods on the outside while inside is still not dry
- To ensure proper and even drying rotate or turn the items or the trays after every hour or two depending on the time the foodstuff takes to dry
- The thinner the slice, the faster the drying time and in most cases, the faster the food item dries, the better
To ensure that your end products remain in good condition, you need to do the following:
- Ensure they are cool before you store them in airtight containers
- Check every couple of days for the first week or so for any signs of moisture on the insides of the container or mold/fungus on the food items
- For some food such as fruits, shake the storage jars every day for about a week to prevent them from sticking together
- If signs of moisture are visible in the containers, put the items back in the dehydrator or oven for a short time to complete the drying process
Since drying foodstuff is not a precise art, dehydrating tips are useful for everyone, whether you are an expert or beginner. It is also a good idea to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using commercial dehydrators. In addition to the above tips, periodically check the foodstuff in your storage for signs of spoilage.
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