More and more people are growing their own gardens because they want cleaner produce. A lot of the fruits and veggies in groceries stores have been sprayed with an abundance of chemicals that are not beneficial to our health. Plus, fresh from the garden means the produce we pick is far more nutritionally dense and will save us money in the end. And, not to mention that getting out in nature is good for our health and spirit. The end result is that we get to harvest a bumper crop that needs to be stored and preserved for the days, weeks, and months ahead. Dehydrating your crop is one great option, and I found just the book to help us along the way. The Beginner’s Guide to Dehydrating Food, How to Preserve All Your Favorite Vegetables, Fruits, Meats and Herbs.
I tried dehydrating a few years ago, but never really grasped how much fun it is. Recently, with threats of food shortages, I’ve decided to dehydrate some of my favorite fruits and veggies for the winter. With the guidance, tips, and techniques shared in this essential book, I’m able to dehydrate with no waste or errors.
Part 1 Setting Up
- Drying Foods at Home
- Basic Methods
Part 2 How to Dehydrate
- Fruits & Veggies A to Z
- Herbs & Spices
- Meat & Poultry
Part 3 Making the Most of your Dehydrator
- Leathers, Candied Fruit & More
- Recipes Using Dehydrated Food
Dehydrating foods is a natural alternative to extra work and money involved with freezing and canning. The goal of dehydration is to remove excess moisture down to between 10 – 20 percent for most foods. This will prevent any bacteria to survive and start decaying your food. Plus, you can preserve foods that are specific for restricted diets, for backpacking and camping, making your own baby food and of course emergency supplies.
A friend’s husband recently came home with 50 pounds of bananas he bought for two dollars. He scored a huge bargain there and wasn’t fearful of bringing this volume of bananas home because his wife dehydrate a lot of her produce. That’s the beauty of dehydrating, nothing will ever go to waste.
The first section of the book offers the most important information. Learning the steps involved in dehydrating will save you a lot of grief. Advice is given from picking to drying to washing to peeling. They offer temperature suggestions for various foods, but I learned from other sources that any temperature over 115° F will destroy any nutrients. So, this is the only area where I differ from the instructions for fruits and veggies. I don’t dehydrate meat as I’m a vegan.
As you flip through the book, you’ll be amazed at what you can dehydrate. Each food featured shares full-color images of before and after dehydration, preparation info, doneness test, yield, how to rehydrate and other drying methods – like sun drying or using a convection oven, that can be used on the food item.
I’ve dehydrated lots of fruit, some veggies and they’ve all turned out fine. I’m just in the process of learning how to make fruit leather and soup ingredients. I’m enjoying the process.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary book to facilitate a review. All opinions are my own, yours may differ.