There are many benefits of dehydrating food. Dehydrated food has a long shelf life, is healthy, natural, and tastes fantastic. The dehydrating process is cheap and straightforward, and products made are easy to store and portable, making them great for hikers and campers.
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What are the Advantages of Dehydrating Food?
There are so many advantages for dehydrating food. If you’ve been on the fence about dehydrating, these 9 benefits will show you why it’s worth it!
1. Long Shelf Life
The main benefit of dehydrating food is that it lasts so much longer! Properly kept in airtight containers for long term storage, dried fruits and veggies can last for months or even years – compare that to fresh fruits going bad in just a few days!
2. Great Taste
Dried foods have all the same flavor as their fresh food alternatives. However, because they have less body and water content, all of that flavor is compressed down into a smaller package.
This means that the dehydration process doesn’t simply help you with food preservation; it also creates powerful, delicious tasting ingredients!
3. Compact and Efficient
On a similar note to above, the drying process takes much of the weight out of dehydrated fruits, vegetables, and other dried types of food.
This means they take up much less storage space in your cupboards and pantries, allowing you to maximize the efficiency of your food storage.
4. Completely Natural
Whenever you get store bought dried foods from the grocery store or supermarket, it can be hard to tell what is in there. Additives and preservatives are added to mass produced dehydrated food, mainly for aesthetic and packaging reasons.
When you preserve food at home, you know exactly what has been used and the exact preservation method. All that is in there is what you have chosen to put in!
5. Excellent Health Benefits
Dried fruit and vegetables are nutritious and good for you! The great thing about the dehydration process is that it does not massively decrease the nutritional value of the food. In fact, according to various studies, dried fruit has more nutrients per ounce than fresh fruit.
This means that the health benefits and antioxidants found in your fresh produce is still present in the dried food.
6. Easy to Learn
Another great thing about dehydrating food is how easy it is to pick up! Drying food is done at low temperatures for a large amount of time so it’s hard to burn or ruin your produce.
Equally, you don’t need a lot of fancy tools – a food dehydrator can make the process easier, but many foods can be dehydrated in your regular oven and even preserved by air drying!
7. Safe and Simple
Dehydrating food is a safe method of preservation. As the drying process removes the water, it becomes tough for bacteria or microorganisms to take hold, and the risk of spoilage is extremely low.
8. Great Portable Snacks
As dehydrated food is so safe, it is a great food to take with you on trips! Campers and hikers can often be found with a backpack full of dried fruits and veggies.
They keep well whatever the temperature, are hardy, and don’t take up a lot of space, making them perfect for your next hike or family camping trip.
9. Save Money
Buying store bought preserved food can be expensive. You’re paying for packaging, marketing, shipping… all things that don’t affect the product!
When you preserve food yourself, you cut out the middle man, making the process cheaper and more efficient for you and your family.
What are the Best Foods to Dehydrate?
Here are some of the best dehydrated foods – great for beginners and experts alike!
What are the Best Food Dehydrating Methods?
Using a Food Dehydrator
Using a food dehydrator is perhaps the simplest method of drying food. Food dehydrators are machines designed to dry food quickly and easily and are a must have for someone who regularly dehydrates food to not occupy the oven.
Using an Oven
Using an oven can work just as well as using a specialist food dehydrator. It’s a cheaper option, as most people will already have one in their home. The down side is that it’s slightly easier to get it wrong – as ovens aren’t explicitly designed for this purpose. If you’re not careful and vigilant it is possible to burn your food while dehydrating it.
A good tip is to prop the oven door open while your food is dehydrating, allowing for good air circulation and reduced heat. Another downside of using the oven is that you can’t use it for cooking or baking while dehydrating, which can take several hours to several days.
The most natural method is air-drying. This process involves hanging food in a well ventilated, warm room and leaving them for weeks or months at a time. Not all foods can be air dried, however; mushrooms, herbs, and hot peppers are the most common options for this method.
What is the Best Food Dehydrator to Buy?
Here are some of my favorite food dehydrators. All are highly rated and are jam-packed with helpful features!
- BioChef Arizona Sol
- Colzer Food Dehydrator
- Excalibur Food Dehydrator
- Kwasyo Food Dehydrator
- Magic Mill Food Dehydrator
What Do You Need to Dehydrate Food?
Many tools are great to have on hand when dehydrating food. Some of these include:
- Baking Sheet – If using an oven, lay your prepared food on a baking sheet in a single layer to ensure even drying.
- Food Dehydrator – Not a necessity, but it is often the easiest way to dehydrate food.
- Oven – If you don’t have a food dehydrator, ovens can work just as well.
- Parchment Paper – If you’re using an oven, lay parchment paper over your baking sheet to prevent produce sticking to the tray.
- Sharp Knife – Sounds simple, but it’s important! Most food needs to be prepared before drying – invest in a decent set of knives and save yourself a hassle.
- Twine / Rubber Bands – These items string together bunches of herbs when hanging them up for air drying.
- Vitamin C Solution / Ascorbic Acid – This can treat fruits and vegetables that start discoloring when exposed to the air before dehydrating.