What is the simpler way to preserve your food for long-term storage? There is no dought Drying is the simplest way to preserve your food. It’s also one of the quickest and least expensive methods to store your food for the long term.
The drying method has been used for thousands of years to help food last without refrigeration.
What Best Foods to Dehydrate For Long Term Storage? in short, the answer is Apple, Banana, Strawberry, Jerky, Carrot, Bell Pepper, Pineapple, Sweet potato, Mango, Sun-dried tomatoes (we’ll cover more details for the list of different types of fruit, veggies, meat, herbs, and root down below in this post)
Throughout this post, we’ll share the best foods to dehydrate for long-term storage, steps for dehydrating (Six Simple Steps), and the best way for storing your dehydrated food so it lasts a long time. Let’s dive in!
What is the Dehydrating Food?
Method of storing food for long periods of time by removing the water from it to avoid mold and bacteria growth, which would thrive in water.
What are the Food dehydrators and how do food dehydrators work?
A food dehydrator is a device that removes moisture from food to help preserve it.
An air-circulating fan and a heating element remove the moisture in food through the use of these devices. Temperature control can be set anywhere from 90 degrees Fahrenheit to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can get the right setting.
Even though they aren’t “silent running,” they do run in the background, and in fact, they make good “white noise.”
Why are people Dehydrating Food?
Designed for long-term food preservation and storage. Keep food on hand in case of an emergency, whether it’s man-made or weather-related. You’re familiar with what happens when natural disasters occur such as hurricanes and earthquakes.
fun fact: did you know that the average household is only nine meals away from hunger? That’s it! Three days! After that, the grocery store shelves are empty.
Steps for dehydrating (Six Simple Steps):
Dehydrating food is very simple, and I’ll show you how to do it step-by-step. You’ll see for yourself how easy it is to do at home and keep your food pantry full!
#1 Buy It or Harvest It
The first and most basic step is to just go out and get it. Buying food at a discount or during its peak season is the first step. Buy fresh or frozen food. So, why not raise your own fruits and veggies, as well?
Consider bulk purchases of fresh items wherever possible.
Hey, how about visiting local farms? Consider visiting local farms as an alternative to shopping at the mall. And don’t forget to check out the great roadside fruit and vegetable booths! They might have season crops in stock.
#2 Get It Ready
Next, we’ll start the process of preparing it. Simply wash, blanch, steam, or spray lemon juice on your food if necessary. Oxidation is inhibited by the presence of lemon juice. Frozen meals are the simplest option because they don’t require any preparation at all! Isn’t that simple?
#3 Dehydrate it
The third step is just to dehydrate it. To dry foods, you may use any dehydrator (I use a Nesco dehydrator and an Excalibur food dehydrator).
#4 Condition it
What exactly does “conditioning” food entail, and how do you achieve it? Thank you for asking! When the food is dehydrated, we put it in a Ziploc bag and let it sit for a few hours before serving. This improves the distribution of moisture and allows any trapped air to flow.
Refrigerate overnight if you live in a hot environment, or leave them out on the counter if you don’t. Step four has come to an end.
#5 Vacuum Seal it (Using Mylar Bags, Mason Jars, Oxygen Absorber)
It’s time for Step 5. It’s now time to use the machine that vacuums the air out of the bags and seals them. This is very fun, by the way.
#6 Store it
The final step in our journey is step #6, which is to store it. We must store the food in a secure location. We keep them in Mylar bags, then in plastic-covered containers or feed buckets with covers.
That’s it. We’ve gone through the Six Simple Steps!
Why Dehydration Is The Best Method For Long-Term Storage?
Foods that have been dehydrated will not go bad. This is because the primary spoiling culprits, bacteria, yeast, and mold, all require water to thrive.
Dehydration can be exacerbated by certain meals more than others. Foods with reduced fat content and greater acidity are the best candidates for dehydration for long-term preservation.
How Long Does Dehydrated Food Last?
Most dehydrated foods may be preserved for up to five years or more if they are properly prepared, dried, and stored. Pre-cooking veggies before drying them will extend their shelf life.
Best Fruits To Dehydrate For Long Term Storage
How To Dehydrate Fruits For Long Term Storage
- Avoid dehydrating over-ripe, under-ripe, or damaged fruits and vegetables by selecting high-quality produce (A Guide to Harvesting the Best Tasting food from Garden City) at its peak of maturity. Without good products in the dehydrator, you will not be able to obtain nice produce from the dehydrator.
- Preparing for dehydration is very important. Most produce needs to be cut, but some needs a little pre-treatment. Prepare fruit as if you were going to eat it fresh. If you peel it all the time, peel it before you dehydrate it (think apple and pear).
- 14 -1/2 inch thick slices of fruit Try to keep the slices as equal as possible or use a mandolin for even slices. This will help the fruit dry at the same rate.
- Consider pre-treating the fruit to help avoid browning. But it’s voluntary. This stage is optional and just affects the fruit’s look. Dip fruit in ascorbic acid (vitamin C) solution to avoid browning. 1 tsp powdered ascorbic acid in 2 cups water Soak the fruit for 3-5 minutes. Remove and dry the fruit.
- Place the fruit on the dehydrator trays in an even layer. For around 6 hours, dehydrate to approximately 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Check the fruit periodically for doneness since different fruits dry at different rates due to a variety of factors including thickness and variety.
- When you can squeeze the fruit and no beads of water form, you know it’s done. Fruit that has been dehydrated will frequently still be malleable after being removed from the dehydrator. See the chart here for specific times.
- Let the fruit cool completely before storing it in an airtight, transparent container. The moisture from the fruit will spread out evenly over the next few weeks or so, so each piece will get the same amount.
You might want to check this video from (GrowOrganic Peaceful Valley channel) as well for step by step to dehydrating your fruit.
Best Vegetables To Dehydrate For Long Term Storage
How To Dehydrate Vegetables For Long Term Storage
- All veggies should be prepared in consistent pieces by slicing or chopping. The thinner you slice them, the faster they dehydrate. When dehydrating vegetables such as peas and corn, it is possible to dehydrate them in individual pieces.
- Before dehydrating, most veggies will require some sort of pre-treatment. They’ll be able to dry more quickly and last longer as a result. Blanching is a time-saving method for preparing fresh produce. Pre-cooking the veggies in boiling water or steam for a few minutes is the process. See the chart here for specific times.
- Use a dehydrator set to 125 degrees Fahrenheit to dry out veggies. Keep an eye out for doneness in your vegetables. They normally take 6-8 hours to complete.
- When the vegetables have become brittle or hard you know it has done. Before storing in an airtight container, allow the mixture to cool fully.
You might want to check this video from (Homestead Homebodies channel) as well for step by step to dehydrating your veggies.
Best Meat To Dehydrate For Long Term Storage
|Beef (lean cuts)||Ham|
|Crab (imitation crabs works too)||Shrimp (all shells removed)|
How To Dehydrate Meat For Long Term Storage
- Choose good grade or fresh meat. Pick the leanest beef. Cook until no pink meat remains in a skillet, broken into tiny pieces.
- Drain the fat from the meat by placing it in a colander. Rinse with hot or boiling water. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then set aside to cool.
- Cooked ground beef should be spread onto dehydrator trays evenly, covered with non-stick sheets or parchment paper.
- Dry for 4 to 6 hours at 145F/63C until totally brittle and dry. Paper towels may be used to remove any excess fat from the dish while it is drying. and let it cool down.
- Once the meat has cooled Place the items in vacuum-sealed containers, such as glass jars, Mylar bags, or zip-lock bags.
- Keep at room temperature for two months in a dry, dark area. For longer shelf life, vacuum seal or freeze.
You might want to check this video from (Kevin Outdoors channel) as well for step by step to dehydrate your meat.
Best Herbs To Dehydrate For Long Term Storage
How To Dehydrate Herbs For Long Term Storage
- Prepare Herbs: Buy or gather herbs like basil, oregano, tarragon, lemon balm, and mints. If you wish to harvest it, do it while the buds are full, just before the first flowers appear. Collect them first thing in the morning, just after the dew has dissipated. The herbs should then be rinsed in cold water and gently shaken to eliminate any excess moisture. Don’t forget to remove any long stems and broken or bruised leaves when you’re washing them.
- Place on the Dehydrator Tray in a single layer. After washing the herb leaves with cool water and shaking them dry, arrange them in a single layer on the dehydrator tray to dry more evenly. To prevent herbs from dropping into the appliance’s bottom, cover the dehydrator tray with a fine screen.
- Remove the tray above for better airflow. You may wish to remove some of the trays to make room for the bigger leaves. It is critical that all leaves have adequate air circulation, so remove any unnecessary trays.
- Dry on the lowest possible setting. Dry herbs on the lowest setting possible for the finest quality. If your dehydrator does not have a thermostat, use the shortest time possible and check on the herbs frequently. The recommended temperature range is 95 F to 115 F, but in humid conditions, 125 F may be required. A typical drying time ranges from one to four hours. Herbs are dry when their leaves crumble and their stems snap when bent.
- Dried herbs should be kept in a dry place. It is always ideal to keep dried herbs as entire leaves if possible since this best retains their scent and flavor. Then, right before using them, crush them. The only exception is when the herbs will be blended for use in teas; in this case, it is more practical to smash the herbs immediately after drying before storing them. Keep your dried herbs in an airtight container in a cold, dark, and dry place. Any light or warmth can hasten degradation, so resist the desire to leave dried herbs out in the open. Use the herbs within six months to a year for the greatest flavor.
You might want to check this video from (Rain Country channel) as well for step by step to dehydrating your herbs.
Best Nuts And Seeds To Dehydrate
How To Dehydrate Nuts And Seeds To Dehydrate
- Use Pure Water to clean. It is critical to use clean water while soaking nuts. Regular tap water includes chemicals that we do not want to be absorbed into the nuts. If you’re going to take the time and effort to soak and dehydrate nuts, use filtered water to ensure the healthiest and most nutritious end product.
- Soak in High-Quality Salt For minerals and taste, use a high-quality salt, such as sea salt. We never advocate table salt since it has no nutritional benefit. Salt may potentially have a role in the enzyme activation process. “Salt in soaking water stimulates enzymes that counteract enzyme inhibitors,” according to Nourishing Traditions.
- Give enough soaking Time. To completely activate enzymes, soak most nuts for at least 7 hours or overnight. However, certain nuts (such as cashews) require a shorter soaking period to avoid becoming too mushy and developing a bad flavor. Cashews should be soaked for no more than 6 hours.
- Use a dehydrator set to 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit for the best results. This not only keeps the enzymes working but also creates the ideal circumstances for a crisp and brittle outcome. The greatest temperature is deemed safe for keeping a “live” meal and not destroying the enzymes.
- Dehydration should take between 12 and 25 hours. According to the nut’s size and density, this might vary. When the nuts are completely dry and crisp, they’re done.
- Dehydrated nuts should be kept in an airtight container. Nuts may be stored in the pantry for several weeks if they are completely dried. Refrigeration can help extend the shelf life of food. The storage time will be drastically reduced if the dehydration process is neglected if the nuts are not entirely dry (only a few days). Eating one is the only way to know if they’re done. Is it crispy?
You might want to check this video from (Rain Country channel) as well for step by step to dehydrating your nuts and seeds.
Best Roots To Dehydrate
How To Dehydrate Roots To Dehydrate
- Purchase high-quality roots that you intend to dehydrate, such as ginger, turmeric, and other similar herbs.
- Prepare the roots, such as ginger, in slices, pieces, or shreds before you put them in the dehydrator tray.
- Place the slice roots on the dehydrator trays in an equal layer. When you do this, you will produce the optimal conditions for a crisp and brittle out of the dehydrator result.
- Use a dehydrator set to 95F/35C for the best results. Dehydration should take between 3 and 8 hours. According to the roots’ size and density, this might vary.
- Check for dry, When the roots are completely dry and breakable pieces, they’re done.
- Dehydrated roots should be kept in an airtight container. Dried roots may be stored in the pantry for up to two years if they are completely dried. Refrigeration can help extend the shelf life of food. The storage time will be drastically reduced if the dehydration process is neglected if the roots are not entirely dry.
You might want to check this video from (Suttons Daze channel) as well for step by step to dehydrating your roots.
As you can see, there is a wide range of finest foods to dehydrate for long-term storage. Cooking with dehydrated foods is an excellent method to preserve a harvest or to enjoy dishes even when they are out of season!
Everything from fruits and vegetables to meats, nuts to root, and herbs may be dried for long-term preservation. Keep an eye out for additional dehydrating snacks and other ideas in the coming weeks.
Please share your favorite food to dehydrate for long-term storage in the comments section below, or contact us if you have any questions!