Liven up your pantry with delicious and healthy home-dried food!
Posted on Thursday, May 2, 2013 by HylaryL
Want to liven up your snacks, lunch or just create a special treat? Have you ever thought of drying or dehydrating food at home? Many of us love the taste of a chewy piece of dried fruit, a savory bite of beef jerky, or the added crunch of dried seeds in a salad. Oftentimes, however, these types of goodies are expensive or loaded with added sugars, salt and, most alarmingly, sulfites.
What are sulfites? Sulfur-based preservatives are one of the most common methods of extending the shelf-life of commercially dehydrated products. According to an article published by Consumer Reports in 2010, many people are sensitive to sulfites, causing the ingestion of the preservative to be mistaken for asthma in many cases. Fear of reactions to sulfites often leads people to avoid eating dried foods, even though they can be a good source of vitamins and minerals or simply a healthy and delicious snack.
So what do you do if you want to enjoy dried fruits, vegetables and other products without worrying about sulfites? Try making your own dehydrated food at home! The National Center for Home Food Preservation has a lot of information on home food drying on their website, and we have many books on the subject for you to check out as well! Reserve your copy of one of these items from your local Santa Clara County Library District Branch today!
This ultimate food drying resource has something for everyone: vegetarians, natural and raw food enthusiasts, hunters, fishermen, gourmet cooks, gardeners, farmers, hikers, and even fast food junkies. Mary T. Bell offers straightforward and practical instructions for drying everything from yogurt to sauerkraut to blue cheese, without ignoring traditional favorites such as jerky, mushrooms, and bananas.
Instructions for building an electric, solar, or air-flow dehydrator accompany a variety of recipes using dried foods and techniques for drying fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, nuts and seeds, meat, and fish.
The Solar Food Dryer describes how to use solar energy to dry your food instead of costly electricity. With your own solar-powered food dryer, you can quickly and efficiently dry all your extra garden veggies, fruits, and herbs to preserve their goodness all year long—with free sunshine!