Dehydrating is simplest way to preserve foods. It is relatively a cheap process to stock excess foods to prevent them from spoilage. Even if you have harvested from your home garden, you can use this process to turn the food into dehydrated product. Dehydrated foods are best for use in off-season. There are many seasonal crops that you can dehydrate and preserve for future for longer time. But do you how to do it? Do you know how much moisture should be present in the food you want to dehydrate? Do you know the perfect time when it is done?
Here we will tell you how to determine the perfect time to know dehydrating of food is done. You can easily test moisture content and know whether the food needs more time to dehydrate or it is perfectly dehydrated. Make sure you heat the food at low temperature to expel most water content or moisture from it. This will help in enhancing the shelf life of the food. Due to low temperature, the nutrients present in the food will remain unchanged- this you can’t expect with boiling or cooking method.
As we said, the process is easy to perform. You need to slice the food and make sure the width should be ¼” or less. After slicing, you can put them on dehydrator tray and set the temperature and timer as suggested by manufacturer of dehydrator machine. You need to wait until the process gets done. This can take 12 hours or more or less (depending on the quantity of the sliced and diced food).
Domestic dehydrators are different from commercial models and cannot be controlled and measured the moisture content. You have left no choice except DIY testing to check the pliability of the food using your hands.
Fruits should be near to brittle state- Make sure fruits you have dehydrated should be almost brittle, but not completely brittle. Take the slice and cut it into half. If you do not see moisture, then you can preserve the batch in the air tight jar (glass jar preferable).
Vegetables become brittle once dehydrated. Peas should shatter when you hit it using rolling pin. However, tomatoes or lemons will feel leathery when dehydration process is done.
Do try this technique when you want to prepare a batch of dehydrated foods at home. And don’t forget to share your experience with us!