How to Dehydrate or Dry Your Fruits and Vegetables
Most people who cultivate their own gardens each year, do so with the hope that it will supply them with enough fruits and vegetables that they can save some for the winter months. While some people choose to can the extra’s other prefer to freeze theirs. A third option to save foods is to dry/dehydrate fruits and vegetables.
Food can be dehydrated in any of the following ways:
• Sun Drying
• Solar Drying
• Oven Drying
• Dehydrator Drying
To effectively dry food you will need to have the right combination of low humidity, air current and warm temperatures.
Sun drying is undoubtedly the oldest method of preserving food. It is reliant on a minimum of 3 to 5 days of warm temperatures, sunshine and relative humidity. Consider that this method is free, but will take some time.
Solar drying is similar to sun drying with a slight difference. Solar drying is accomplished by creating a well ventilated area with a glass lid. This could be done with a solar oven or even by placing the vegetables in the car window, but you will need to leave your windows open a bit for the air circulation. This method should be slightly quicker than sun drying.
Oven drying is an option, but it is best saved for small-scale drying of 4 to 6 pounds of vegetables at a time. This method is not free as your oven will have to stay on the entire time the vegetables are fully dried. This method also requires a little more hands on activity. You will need to rotate the oven trays to ensure even drying. You also may have difficulty maintaining the necessary 140° in your oven and it may not have the required air circulation.
Dehydrator drying is, in my opinion, the best way to dry out fruits and vegetables. This is also the quickest method to use. Many dehydrators let you to expand on the number of trays; they are safe, sturdy and much quicker than the previous methods. You can set them to the desired temperature, and they will provide a constant heat source. They also have fans that allow for even air circulation.
Two of these methods are free to use, but will take a little time. The other two will cost you something but are much quicker and do not require a lot of effort on your part. If you are blessed enough to have extra fruits and vegetables, dehydration may be the best option that you can use to retain your reserves.
There are a couple of things to consider when looking for a dehydrator, cost and space. I went somewhere in the middle with both of these considerations and found one of the best food dehydrators for me. It does not take up too much space in my kitchen and did not make too big a dent in my finances, so I am happy with it.
Here’s to bountiful reserves!