If you have been observant on the Internet of late, you might have noticed the attention dried vegetables and other foods have attracted globally. Unlike their fresh counterparts, dry foods have a long shelf life. They can stay fresh for six months to several years depending on type (fleshy fruits, versus dry fruits, versus leafy vegetables), the method of drying used (sun drying, versus oven and dehydrator), and importantly, storage. They are also equally nutritious and easy to prepare at home, or at camp. If you are contemplating drying your vegetables at home, here are three key steps and essential tips you should follow, for best results:
Step 1: Planning Before you attempt to dry vegetables at home the first thing that you should is to plan. For instance, what kind of vegetables are you trying to dry? Second, what is your intention for drying your vegetables? Do you want them to stay fresh for a long time or just over the weekend when you go out camping or backpacking? Finally, which equipment for preparing dried vegetables do you have at your disposal? Generally, make sure that you have your vegetables, a clean flat tray, a knife, and an oven or dehydrator. If you do not have an oven or dehydrator, use power of the sun.
Step 2: Preparation After you have assembled your vegetables and placed all equipment within your reach, the next step is to prepare them for drying. Pick your vegetable and clean them thoroughly using clean water. If you like, use hot water. You can cook your vegetable before drying, to ease preparation when you are ready to eat. To ease the dehydration process, it is advisable that you chop your vegetables in to thin a quarter-inch slices, and spread them on the shallow tray that you obtained in step one. You can then start the dehydration process.
Step 3: Dehydration After you have taken care of the foregoing preparatory steps, the last step is to dehydrate your vegetables. Unfortunately, this is not as simple as it sounds. Temperature and timing should be correct, to increase your chances of maintaining your vegetable’s flavor and nutritional value after the exercises. First, prepare your oven or dehydrator. Clean it to remove food particles and other debris that might contaminate your vegetables. Heat your oven or dehydrator and set its temperature low. 100 degrees or lower is ideal for drying vegetables (does not kill enzymes, degrade vitamins or minerals). Let the vegetables dry for several hours or days. Tips for Success Tip 1: After you have started drying your vegetables, do not mess with them, or let them cool until they are ready. This can take a couple of hours to days depending on the type of vegetable you are drying, temperature, and environmental condition of a home. Tip 2: For best results, it is advisable that you dry small portions of vegetables at a time. Heaping large chunks on your tray will prolong drying time and lower quality of dried vegetable you get in the end. Tip 3: Keep an eye on your vegetables when drying. Make sure that they do not burn or dry to an extent that they lose their flavor or nutritional value. Finally, keep dried vegetables in an air tight container or zip lock bag, and store them in a clean and dry place.