Today’s lifestyle is not really conducive to canning such as it was years ago, many people are simply too busy and often do not have the storage space for the finished product. Freezing is an acceptable way of preserving food for later use but the power consumption is very high. Saying all that, what is left if you want to preserve foods at home?
Food dehydration fits the modern lifestyle perfectly, not only is it economical, it is possible to dry nutritious snacks for your family rather than rely on purchased snack food which has little to offer in nutrition and lots to offer in fat and potential obesity.
The sole purpose of drying food is to remove enough moisture to prevent the formation of any growth of bacteria, yeast or mold. In the process of removing the moisture, the food shrinks considerably, this makes storing the finished product easy and quite compact. When it’s time to use the food, water is added and the food returns to the same shape and form it once was.
The key to dehydrating food is low temperature and low humidity. The objective is to dry the food, not to cook it. If the temperature is too high, the food will cook on the outside, trapping the moisture and quickly leading to the formation of mold. Take your time when dehydrating food.
Dehydration can be done naturally by placing the food outside in the sun or leaving it on the vine. The method of choice for the busy family is to use a Nesco food dehydrator. Many people who reside in the Midwest find that outdoor drying doesn’t work as the correct temperature, humidity and air movement can rarely be guaranteed; a food dehydrator is really a must in the Midwest.
Indoor dehydration makes use of a rather small counter-top appliance called a “food dehydrator.” Most of these appliances, they are reasonably priced by the way, have a heater and a fan and the cabinet is ventilated. There are two basic designs to choose from, one has the air flowing horizontally over the food and the other vertically. In the case of vertical dehydrators, there are models which have a base mounted fan and models such as the Nesco food dehydrator which has a top mounted fan. The top mounted fan is ideal and highly recommended as the juices from the food cannot drip into the heating chamber nor can the flavors mix if different fruits are being dried simultaneously.
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