People have been dehydrating food since cavemen started spreading pieces of meat, nuts, and berries out on rocks to dry in the sun. Dehydrating might just be the oldest method of preserving known to man, but it is still one of the best. Thankfully, we no longer have to wait for a sunny day to dry our food so we can store it until we need it.
If you live on a homestead or are fortunate enough to have a large garden, then dehydrating veggies and fruits is probably on your to-do list for fall. You can dry bulk produce, or make healthy and delicious snacks like crunchy “cheezy” kale chips in your dehydrator.
Dehydrated veggie chips add extra nutrition and crunch to salads, and are a healthy topping for soups. When dried until brittle, veggies can be crushed into a powder and then used to flavor foods like burgers and smoothies. Similarly, dehydrated fruit can be made into fruit leathers, or added to cereal or smoothies. Or, it can be eaten out of hand as a snack.
Did you know it’s important to not to dehydrate produce at temperatures higher than 105 degrees Fahrenheit?
Gentle, dry heat preserves living foods like veggies and fruits without killing them. Temperatures above 105 start cooking the food, which destroys important enzymes and results in some loss of nutrients.
You might even want to try your hand at making jerky or pemmican. For the uninitiated, pemmican is a high-energy food that hikers often take on long treks, especially in cold weather. It’s a wonderful food for preppers to keep on hand because it keeps practically forever. Pemmican consists of powdered dried meat mixed with rendered fat, with maybe a few berries added. The Inuit people have been known to live on nothing but pemmican and melted snow for weeks at a time. If you’d like to try making pemmican, Mark’s Daily Apple has a great recipe, complete with photos.