Dehydrating fruits and vegetables is a wonderful way to create healthy snacks for long term food storage and save any produce that may be going off! Don’t throw them away! Save your money and save your groceries!
The drying process of a food dehydrator slowly removes moisture whilst retaining nutrients and preserving lots of flavour. Dehydrated foods taste so much better than pre-packaged foods and can really be beneficial for your health!
How long will dehydrated food last?
Dehydrated foods with the least moisture content last the longest and typically can last for up to five years or more if properly prepared, dehydrated and stored.
When dehydrating vegetables it’s recommended to cook them first to increase the storage time. Some studies have shown that dehydrated vegetables can last even up to 10 years when prepared and stored correctly! This is fantastic compared to some canned food which lasts for less then 5 years. Just ensure that you properly prep, dry and store your produce.
Food prep is the key!
Remember that when dehydrating your ingredients will shrink significantly. Roughly 450 grams of apples yields 1 cup of dehydrated slices.
- Wash all fruits and veggies really well. Be sure to let them sit in a bath for about 10 minutes to ensure all waxes and pesticides are removed.
- Remove any cores, seeds and stem and peels if you so desire.
- Cutting to around 3 mm thick is usually the best size.
- Once you have cut your fruits and veggies, spray them with some lemon juice to help counteract oxidisation and kill any remaining bacteria on the skins.
- Better yet! Give your fruits and veggies an ascorbic acid bath! Ascorbic acid is just a vitamin C powder that you can find in most health stores. Remove the pieces with a slotted spoon.
What temperature do I use?
Be sure to dehydrate at around 50 – 57 degrees Celsius for fruits and vegetables. Don’t be tempted to just blast the food at a super high temperature as this can cause the outer skin to become tough. Always dehydrate on a high temperature to begin with if the fruit or vegetables have a really high water content and then bring the temperature down. Here’s a handy temperature guide:
Herbs – 41 degrees Celsius
Living foods – 41 degrees Celsius
Raising Bread – 43 degrees Celsius
Making Yoghurt – 46 degrees Celsius
Vegetables – 52 degrees Celsius
Fruits and Fruit Rolls – 57 degrees Celsius
Meat / Fish – 63 degrees Celsius / 68 degrees Celsius
Jerky – 63 degrees Celsius / 68 degrees Celsius
How do I tell when my food is dried enough?
When it feels kind of leathery and you can bend it without breaking it into a million pieces it is ready. Once you feel as though your produce is ready place it in a plastic zipper bag on the counter overnight, or, you can place it inside your dehydrator and just leave it switched off. This will help distribute the moisture evenly and eliminate any damp spots. This is called conditioning your produce.
How to store dehydrated foods properly for long term?
Vacuum sealing is ideal as it will reduce the oxidation rate and retain the vitamins and nutrients in the food longer. Moisture can always find a way to get in, so it might be an idea to invest in some OXYGEN ABSORBERS. They will absorb the free oxygen and make your produce last longer.
Foods with a high moisture content should be stored in sealed glass jars as plastic can absorb moisture and odours over time.
Tips for successful food dehydration and preservation
- Invest in a high quality dehydrator like the Sedona Food Dehydrator
- Use the right drying temperature for your food
- Prepare and clean your produce well
- Dehydrate foods that are in season to save on costs
- Invest in some good quality storage products like mason jars
- Dehydrate produce at its peak ripeness to get the most flavour, vitamins and nutrients
Dehydrating foods is the best way to you save money and save on food wastage. Having healthy snacks on hand is fantastic and great for your health and immunity too. Don’t reach for the chocolate bar! Grab some delicious dried fruit and feed your body some goodness!
If you’re really feeling like a treat you can always dip your produce in some chocolate 😉