Dehydrating food is the original form of food preservation. Today modern techniques focus on pasteurization and artificial additives to prolong our food supply. While this has greatly improved our food supply stability, it has come at a cost of dangerous chemicals whose long-term implications have not been well studied.
Fortunately, dehydrating your own food has never been easier. The modern food dehydrator significantly cuts down the drying time and has improved the quality and consistence of results.
A good all purpose food dehydrator can purchased for about $50. If you are just getting started consider purchasing a small dehydrator such as the Nesco Snackmaster food dehydrator. The entry level snackmaster model comes with 4 trays but can be expanded to 9 trays if needed.
Benefits of drying your own Fruit
No artificial preservatives: Today even many of the dried fruits found on the supermarket shelves utilize a combination of artificial preservatives to prolong the appearance of freshness. Home dried fruit stored in an air tight container will easily last 6 months so these extra preservatives are really not necessary.
Avoid wasting your garden harvest: Fruits like strawberries and blueberries cycle through their harvest in just a few weeks making it very challenging to eat them fresh. Many people freeze the excess but consider drying some too as they provide you with a different usable form in the winter.
Buying in bulk: Bulk buying always saves you money but using large quantities of fruit before it expires is challenging. By dehydrating the fruit you can enjoy some fresh immediately and the rest down the road as a dried treat.
Ways to use dried fruit
Smoothies: Soak dried fruit in a little water for 10 minutes and it will easily blend into a breakfast smoothie. Try this recipe if you like raisins and dates.
School lunch snack: Substitute your child’s unhealthy fruit snacks for a medley of dried summer fruits. A great trick to get them to eat the dried fruit is to include them in the entire process. Let them pick the fruit and assist in the drying process.
Homemade trail mix: Make your own trail mix wit your favorite crunchers along with your very own dried fruit.
Salads: Topping your salads with fruit is a great way to reduce the amount of dressing used.
If you are interested in reading more about food drying, check out Chris Wimmer’s recent blog posts on HealthSmartLiving.com about how he found the best food dehydrator and best blender for smoothies.