Dehydrating food…what does that mean? If the name doesn’t give it away…simply, it is the process of taking the water out of the food. This inhibits the growth of bacteria or microorganisms. Because of this, dehydrated food allows it to store better and for much longer. Beef jerky is one of the most common foods made through dehydration. You may also be familiar with MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat). As opposed to MRE’s you have the ability to control the quality, freshness, additives, spices, etc. that you want to and don’t want. Often, many MRE’s are packed with grains, potatoes, beans, etc. They have an excess of carbohydrates. Which is great for energy but is not well balanced with protein. When making your own MRE’s you can customize the nutritional value and create a balanced meal .
Whether you’re making beef jerky or prepping for a backpacking trip, dehydrating food is an awesome way to ensure quality food on the go. Here is a super easy and Basic Beef Jerky recipe. It is packed with protein. It’s one of the healthiest snacks you can carry with you. If you’re craving a little sweet snack here is another recipe for Cinnamon Apple Crisps!
Why so popular?
Dehydrated food is perfect for road trips, camping, backpacking, or just on the go! When you’re packing for a camping or backpacking trip space is limited. It is also very hard to pack perishable items that will still be good to eat by the time you reach your destination. Dehydrated food takes up less space, saves for longer, and still has all the nutrients you want. When you’re ready to eat you just rehydrate with water over a fire or camp stove.
Similar to the crock-pot you do a little prep work and let the magic happen overnight. You can dehydrate just about anything: vegetables, meat, fruit, etc. During the process you do not lose much of the nutritional value because you have control of the heat setting and time. These foods remain nutrient dense. Some fruits may taste more sweet because the sugar is more condensed now without the water present.
Dehydrated fruits and chips are extremely popular for kids too! If you’re a health conscious mama you’ll appreciate knowing exactly what is in the food you are feeding your little babe.
Although you can use an oven on the lowest settings to dehydrate foods, investing in a dehydrator is well worth it. Below is my favorite one. When I purchased mine I chose the one with four trays (mainly due to the cost being a little more appealing). Excalibur has many different sizes of units. The economy comes with up to nine trays. Unless you are doing huge batch recipes, four trays is plenty! The simple on/off switch and temperature control settings allows you to adjust the heat according to what you are making. Big plus: super easy to clean. Click on the image below to get your own!
Dehydrating foods all depends on the thickness of the food, the amount of water in it, the amount of sugar in it, the heat setting of your dehydrator, and the humidity. Each recipe or batch you do may be a little bit different. It also depends on your dehydrator as well.