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Food dehydration for dummies

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HolisticSurvival.comFood dehydration is an excellent method for adding to your long term food storage cache. But is it hard to do, and is there any nutrition left in the food when you’re done? The answers to those questions are “no” and “yes.” First, let’s define exactly what food dehydration is. It means exactly what you might think – removing the water from food. Normally hydrated food provides a moist environment for microorganisms and bacteria to flourish.

Remove the water and, voila, long-lasting, uncooked food ready for storage.

Some people worry that the dehydrating process removes most of the food’s nutritional value, but that is not the case. Those fears are more well-founded if you’re talking about commercially dried foods because, as might be expected, various chemicals and preservatives are added during that procedure. But when you set up your own food dehydration process at home, the end result is only slightly less nutritious than what you began with.

Dehydrated foods are quite safe to eat – safer probably than canning, where the moist environment sometimes results in botulism. There are a few ideas to remember about food hydrating that will keep the end product tasty and nutritious. Vitamin A is light sensitive, so foods containing it (carrots, peppers, mangoes) should be stored in the dark. The caloric value of dehydrated food remains the same, though often the taste is sweeter since water is removed and sugar becomes concentrated. Fiber and carbohydrate content are not affected.

What can be dried? Almost anything. Meats, vegetables, fruits, fish, herbs, flowers, and even frozen or canned foods. The bottom line is that dehydrating is a simple, expensive way to bolster your long term food storage.

The Holistic Survival Team

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