FAST Blog: Family Homestead

Permaculture, Preparedness, Homesteading & Survival

Monday, 14 September 2015

Food Storage: Dehydrating

So this week at Fast-SoS HQ we have finally given in and decided to dip our toe in the water by buying a dehydrator. We picked up a basic Babz brand Dehydrator for around £25 delivered. The dehydrator has 5 tiers for drying using a Flow-Drying system to slowly extract moisture & preserve food, and also unlike most cheap models it features a handy adjustable thermostat, which allows you to control the drying process (35-70°C)

To test it out we loaded the dehydrator up with the reduced fried we picked up from Sainsburys in the previous blog post, we sliced a few oranges, a banana and a punnet of plums. To prep the plums you just have to slice in half, remove the stone and then 'break the back' by turning inside out slightly to increase the surface area for drying.







We ran ours for about 24 hours at 60'c, the oranges were done but the banana and plums needed a little more time, but that wasn't a problem as you can remove individual shelves and leave the ones that require a bit more drying.
The end product was possibly the most intense natural flavours we have ever tasted, particularly the banana which tasted so much better than any dried banana we've ever known. The orange slices look so cool too, like little stained glass windows, and the plums were so tangy, like natures version of tangtastics! Little Logan absolutely loved the dried fruits, the moment he put one in his mouth he said "oooo delicious!" and already thinks of the dried oranges as a "treat", and it is far better for him than the chocolate or sugar drenched "treats" that most children are fed these days. 




But why use a dehydrator for food storage? here are our top 10 reasons for dehydrating food:

  • First off its easy, like ridiculously easy, you just put the produce in the dehydrator and leave it for as long as it takes, occasionally rotating the tiers so you get an even drying throughout.
  • It's also a great way to store fresh produce that would normally not keep well. For instance many dried fruits will keep for years. Removing the moisture from food provides a longer shelf life than any other form of food preservation.
  • From fruits and vegetables to meats and even applesauce, almost anything can be dehydrated, although some food items are more suited to canning.
  • Prep time is really quick as in most cases you only have to slice the food before tossing it in the dehydrator.
  • The end product takes up much less space dried that it did before dehydrating, and also weighs less.
  • The dehydration process really intensifies flavours, since you are removing all the water but not the nutrients and sugars, it really concentrates the flavours of foods.
  • Dehydrated foods don't lose their nutritional value and maintain water soluble vitamins and minerals
  • Never again will you have to throw away fresh herbs as you can just dehydrate the leftovers to use later.
  • Dehydrating is cheap, most dehydrators draw very little power at all so cost next to nothing to run, so don't worry about leaving them running over night
  • It is one of the most resilient ways to store food, as unlike a freezer full of produce, a pantry full of dried goods will not deteriorate if the power goes out or the freezer unit fails.


 If anyone has any tips, tricks or tales concerning food dehydrating then please feel free to comment :) 

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4 comments

  1. I'll be following your efforts with great interest! Definitely on my list of things to find out more :-)

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  2. I have one of these and apple slices are lovely, I use them for garnish.

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  3. I became addicted to dehydrating a few years ago, and it wasnt long before I moved up from the small one to a large nine tray Excalibur, I love it as a way of preserving :-)

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  4. We have the same machine and I love sliced apples from it.

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We are always glad to hear your comments, thoughts and opinions :)

Etsy

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