Extra Colors and Flavors. Fantasy and Skill – Some Benefits of Dehydrating Food
Dried foods provide extra colors and flavors in the kitchen. A little bit of fantasy and skill and your culinary masterpieces will start to amaze your family and friends. As with all culinary matters, the chef’s imagination plays a significant role in drying food.
In this post, we also share some ideas on how to dry not only fruit and vegetables but also toast, homemade pasta or crisp bread for snacks.
Foods For Dehydration
Best foods for dehydration are fruits and vegetables. This is probably the most popular answer among many people.
It is true, you can choose from many varieties of fruits and vegetables to dehydrate and enjoy perfect results.
Don’t be afraid to experiment, however, and expand food for dehydration list beyond fruits and vegetables. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Dry the bread residue – you will get croutons that you can store for some time and, when the need is, throw them in a chicken broth or vegetable soup.
Food dryer can also be used here. Fresh dough products dry perfectly with the appropriate drying temperature and air flow in the dryer.
Dried bread snacks
Everyone loves snacks. Using your food dehydrator at home you can make a delicacy product just like you see it in stores. Season dried bread with garlic, chopped or pulverized onions, or cinnamon according to your taste.
Why Dehydrate Food?
Benefits of dehydrating food may differ depending on many things, like your lifestyle, eating habits and even philosophy.
Why throw away food if you can dehydrate and store it for a long time? Is dehydrated food good for you?
Other perfect reason why you should dehydrate food is your own farm or homestead. If you put significant hard work in growing something, it is ideal to preserve it at least for the upcoming winter.
Food dehydrating is one of the most sparing food preservation techniques. Are you a backpacker? Yet another reason why you should start dehydrating food and bring it to your next journey. There are plenty of popular backpacking food recipes out there.
Here are the answers to some basic questions about drying foods
What foods can you dehydrate?
You can dehydrate almost anything you want. Don’t be afraid to experiment unless it is something from this list of foods we do not recommend putting into dehydrator.
So, again, what are the benefits of dehydrating food at home?
There are many correct answers to this question. Depending on your habits and hobbies, there are many reasons why drying vegetables is exactly what you need.
You want to eat healthier, want to know exactly what you eat, add more vitamins to your diet, enjoy strawberries or other garden goods all year around.
You know the fields and meadows around your homestead well and love to prepare dried herbal tea?
Most important, dried food almost doesn’t lose its valuable properties, retains its smell and color. As you know already, not only vegetables can be dried in food dryers. They are also ideal for drying fruits, mushrooms, herbs or even meat and fish.
What is food drying?
Drying food is the process of removing water from the food, preventing the growth of microorganisms (enzymes) and bacteria in food by hot and dry air circulation. Simply put, it is a method of conservation that protects the food from fast deterioration.
Is this a complicated process?
No, drying food is not difficult if you have the right equipment. The food dryer heats the product inside the appliance, electric fan causes hot air to circulate and removes moisture. Importantly, the dryer maintains a suitable drying temperature, but does not increase it to the degree that the dried products are baked.
How does drying affect the nutritional value?
Food drying at home has a minimal impact on the nutritional value of products. Industrially dried products are often treated with additional substances, like sweeteners, and their colors are highlighted.
However, drying your food at home allows you to control the whole process yourself. By choosing the right temperature and drying time, you get a highly nutritious product.
Compared to canning or freezing processes, where high or low temperatures are used, food drying is a way of preserving the most nutritional value of the product.
About vitamins and fats
When you dry food, vitamin A is preserved. Pay attention that vitamin A is sensitive to light, so keep dried foods rich in vitamin A – carrots, bell peppers, mangoes – in a dark place.
Some vitamin C is lost during drying.
When calories are measured, the dried food retains the same value as before drying. Fruit drying is special in a way that some dried fruits become sweeter as the removal of water results in a relatively higher fructose concentration in the product.
Dried fruits and vegetables have much fiber and carbohydrates because these substances are not affected by the drying process. Dried fruits and vegetables have little fat.
Minerals like potassium, sodium, magnesium and others contained in certain fresh fruits are not affected during the drying process.
How much time does it take to dry food?
The question to which there is no single correct answer. The drying time depends highly on factors like:
- Water content in the product
- The sugar content in the product
- Size of pieces of products to be dried
- Air circulation power during the drying process
- Humidity of air entering the dryer
- The temperature maintained inside the dryer
The type of dryer you are using is also important here. Differences in vertical and horizontal air flow dryers and a description of the benefits of horizontal flow can be found HERE…