Dehydration is the oldest and least costly of all forms of food preservation, with almost no loss of essential nutrition (Vitamins A and C are the only nutrients that are sometimes diminished by the dehydration process). There are many good reasons to dehydrate food.
Saves on Storage Space
Dried foods require much less storage space than fresh produce, and do not require refrigeration. Here are some examples:
- 1 kg fresh strawberries = 60 gms dried
- 1 kg fresh apples =120 gms dried
- 1 kg fresh tomatoes = 60 gms dried
Fruits and vegetables are seasonal produce unless they are transported for long distances or are grown in artificially created conditions. Nutritional density (the nutrition available in the produce) declines with every mile and every minute.
Fresh produce is at its best in terms of taste and nutrition when eaten in season, and its usually a lot cheaper as well, so being able to buy and preserve your fresh produce in bulk when in season means you can have access to naturally grown, nutritionally dense fruit and vegetables all year round.
If you grow your own fruit and vegetables it is often impossible to consume everything before rot sets in or the season is over.
So if you find you have too much you can always dehydrate and store any excess harvest for use throughout the year.
Consider this – up t0 80% of the energy needed to maintain our food system goes to processing, packaging, transporting, storing and preparing food. Of this up to 40% is used in the production of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
You pay those costs when you buy fresh food that is commercially grown and transported from a distance. So it makes perfect sense to grow your own!
Current advice suggests that we should eat between 5 and 10 servings of fruit and veg a day. This is not always easy to do, but adding dried fruit and veg to your diet can increase the amount you take in daily without too much effort.
For example you can add dried fruit to your morning cereal, or sprinkle lettuce or greens powder on your sandwiches, or carry a small plastic container with dried fruit pieces in you bag to nibble on throughout the day. In this way it is possible to add between three to four portions of your daily requirements without it becoming a hassle!
Dehydrating is less costly than both freezing and bottling as a way of preserving food. To rehydrate, simply add water!
Once dehydrated you won’t need to freeze or refigerate your fruit and vegetables – all you need is a dark cool storage space. So not only do you save on space, but you also save on electricity.
- Instant Sauces and spice mixes – made in a minute with ready to hand dried ingredients. See my recipe for chimmichurri!
- Quick Healthy Baby Food – made in an instant with dehydrated powders and guaranteed to contain only natural fruit and vegetables.
- Increase Nutrition –. For example powdered dehydrated tomato can be added to soups, mashed potato, meat – anything you can think of!
- Take advantage of cheap offers. You can buy large quantities of fruit and veg when they are on special and simply dehydrate. This includes canned and frozen foods!
- Add greens to any meal. Greens are essential for a balanced diet, but they don’t last long. You can for example dry endives and simply sprinkle these on to any meal, or sprinkle lettuce powder onto baked potato.
- Create healthy snack food. I love dried pears and apples, as well as papaya and persimmon. These all make great sweet snack foods and increase your daily fruit intake. Some vegetables can also be dried and seasoned to create healthy savoury snacks.
- Convenience. With dried food at hand you will always have a good selection of fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices to be able to make a quick soup or savoury rice or sweet dessert.
- Fussy eaters. If you have a fussy eater in your family, dried powdered fruit and vegetables can be disguised quite easily by adding them to other foods so they get the important nutrition without even realising it;)
Dehydrating is easy! Browse my website and you will find out all you need to know about dehydrating food! You don’t need expensive equipment or loads of time either!