When it comes to emergencies due to disasters, having a disaster supply kit ready to go will definitely go a long way. But instead of canned goods, you can consider a healthier alternative: food dehydration.
These 5 tips to dehydrate your food for preservation will teach you all that you will need to know about how to get started.
5 Tips on Food Dehydration
Tip #1: Dry your food as soon as possible
Drying your food is not something that many people do or think about. In fact, not many people know how to properly dry food for preservation. The important thing to remember, especially if it’s your first time, is to be prompt with the timing.
The best time to dry your fruits and vegetables is after they are harvested. After they’re cleaned, they should then be set up to dry. However, you should not rush the drying process, otherwise, the drying will not be fully completed.
Tip #2: Adjust the temperature respectively
To help you make sure that the drying process goes perfectly, you want to find a place or spot that you will set up your food to dry.
Of course, temperature plays a crucial role in drying, so choose somewhere that you can control the temperature. When it comes to drying, there are two temperatures that you need to be mindful of.
One is the outer temperature and the other is the inner temperature. The outer and inner layers of fruits and vegetables actually need to be at different temperature levels if they are to fully remove their moisture.
So, watching your food dry is not all it takes. Generally, the outer layer requires more heat, around 70 degrees Celsius. The inner layer requires a little less heat, which is around 60 degrees Celsius.
Being aware of these two temperatures will help you to keep an eye on your food to make sure that they are drying smoothly.
The goal here is that you don’t want your fruits and vegetables to develop a burnt taste from being exposed to high temperatures for too long. If it’s your first time, setting a timer would be a good idea to know better in the future.
Tip #3: Pay attention to the humidity levels
The purpose of drying your food is to remove as much of the moisture inside them as possible. This method is what makes them last longer, or in other words, preserved.
One of the best things about dried food is that you can eat them as they are or you can still cook with them.
When your food is drying and you have the temperature all set nicely, the next thing to pay attention to is the room or area’s humidity levels.
Humidity is the measurement of the amount of moisture that’s in the air. So, if the humidity level is high, then that means there’s a lot of moisture.
This is a bad thing because your food will dry too quickly and not fully. If you don’t change the humidity levels, then the outer layer will develop a hard crust, which will then prevent the inner layer from drying at all.
Tip #4: Consistency is the key
Paying attention to the humidity levels and the temperature is really quite easy if you remain vigilant. Over time, you will develop these patterns as a habit.
The key to being successful in food drying is consistency.
You will have a greater chance of producing wonderful dried fruits and vegetables if you do your part in following these tips.
If you plan to dry a lot of food, then you need to spread them evenly apart so that they are all exposed to the heat.
For limited spaces, make sure to move them around often to give them equal times of exposure.
Tip #5: Fresh air is vital
Last but not least is fresh air. All good things need fresh air.
Having fresh air circulate in the room or the drying area will help the humidity and temperature levels stay balanced. It will also improve the drying speed.
Fresh air is necessary to keep food vapors from building up, so you want these to escape. Otherwise, the drying process will end up slowing down and negatively affect the food.
These 5 tips to food dehydration will hopefully give you the confidence in starting your own food preservation hobby.
After all, not only will this be useful during an emergency situation, but this is also an alternative way to enjoy a very healthy diet.