Friday, October 17, 2008

Food Storage Friday!

Does anyone have a food dehydrator?

I like this idea of dehydrating food---i looked at prices from companies that sell packaged dehydrated food for storage and HOLY MACKREL they are EXPENSIVE! I know dehydrators aren't cheap...but i'm sure they more than make up their value with a few batches. here is some information im learning about them:

Difficulty: Moderate
Things You’ll Need:

* A good food dehydrater, although you can use plastic mesh screening and solar power.
* A kettle to blanch foods in to help fight bacterial growth, although this is not altogether necessary.
* Salt, spice, sweetener, or marinade to flavor before dehydrating
* Airtight storage containers or plastic freezer bag.

Fresh fruits and veggies You should always start with fresh, good quality food. Don’t buy the old produce in the bargain bin because you won’t be happy with the dehydrated results. Inspect the food to ensure it is clean and free from damage. Just like canning, your end product is a direct result of the quality food you start with.
Blanching Beans Although not necessary, pre treatment through blanching can help fight bacteria, preserve color and maintain flavors. After washing and inspecting your fresh vegetables, boil water in a large kettle, then place the vegetables in the water for approximately 3-5 minutes, then remove and pour cold water over to stop the cooking process.

Meat may be blanched in the same way to control bacteria.However, one may use the marinating method and bypass blanching meat.
Marinade You may choose to marinate, salt, spice or sweeten any foods before you dehydrate them. For example, with meat jerky, you rub the meat with spices or place in a marinade before dehydrating.Marinate overnight, in the refrigerator.
Layering Food on Racks Place the food on the dehydrator screens (or other mesh screens, if solar drying) - using ONE layer only. Try to remember to keep everything in the dehydrator uniformly sliced so that it all dries at the same time. If using a solar dryer, cover food lightly with a thin layer of cheesecloth to help keep insects away.
Meat Sliced for Jerky Most produce takes between 8-12 hours to dry.
Meat, sliced thinly, takes about 12-18 hours, depending on thickeness.
Airtight Container Cool all dehydrated food before storing. Choose airtight containers or plastic freezer bags to keep moisture out. Properly dried and stored foods will last 1-2 years if kept in a cool, dark place.



i love dried fruit and veggies! Most people don't do veggies but i love them, i made dehydrated watermelon once, it was the best, granted it kind of lost the whole "funness of being watermelon, but it was still very very yummy. good luck finding someone with a dehydrator. my mom has one she never uses, maybe I should convince her to send it to me!!!