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I could sing the praises of food dehydration all the live long day.
I love it.
My food dehydrator has been working up a storm as I transform pounds and pounds of tomatoes and jars of applesauce into very, very dry versions of their former selves.
It’s pounds and pounds and jars and jars of deliciousness.
There are just so many great reasons for dehydrating foods; I wanted to share some with you.
25 Reasons for Dehydrating Food
- Dehydrated fruits and veggies have intense, INTENSE! flavors! Each thin slice of dehydrated tomato packs a wallop of flavor you don’t find in a fresh slice. Something amazing happens to the flavor once all the water has been removed.
- Know precisely what is in your food. Sugar? Additives? Preservatives? Things you can’t pronounce? Unless you’re dehydrating a commercially packaged product, like pasta sauce, your food is probably 100% au natural.
- It offers something different in the healthy snack category. My kids love the applesauce fruit leather they made themselves. They never get bored because one day it’s apple-cinnamon leather, another day it’s apple-peach leather, and a tasty apple-strawberry version is on tap for tomorrow! A #10 can of applesauce from Sam’s Club or Costco provides sheets and sheets of fruit leather, one of the easiest snacks in the world to pack in a lunch bag or backpack.
- Something is always in season! The best bargains in produce are usually found when a particular fruit or vegetable is in season. Farmer’s markets, food co-ops, fruit stands, and pick-your-own-produce farms can offer fantastic bargains. All that fresh goodness easily transforms into dehydrated versions at a cost far less than commercially dehydrated foods.
- Food dehydration is simple! You don’t need anything fancy; pick up basic dehydrators on Craigslist or eBay. My dehydrator is very basic, but it does the job just fine. Unlike canning, you don’t need a lot of additional equipment, and the internet contains websites that give directions for dehydrating every type of food imaginable!
- Variety! One day you can dehydrate apples, and the following, pasta sauce! Cook up several pounds of ground beef and turn them into, “hamburger rocks”! When you find #10 cans of a fruit or veggie on sale, pour out the liquid, and place the food on your dehydrator trays for a few hours. Bags of frozen vegetables dehydrate just as easily.
- An amazing amount of foods can be dehydrated. That includes fresh, canned, and frozen. So yup, you can dehydrate from frozen.
- Dehydrate non-food items, such as dog treats and flowers.
- Dehydrated foods don’t lose their nutritional value and maintain water-soluble vitamins and minerals. Compare that to fresh produce that can lose as much as 50% of some nutrients after just a few days of refrigeration.
- Dehydrate your herbs and you’ll never have to pay top dollar for them again nor watch them rot in the fridge.
- If space is an issue, dehydrated foods are your friend! Twenty pounds of fresh tomatoes filled two large glass jars in my pantry after slicing and dehydrating!
- You’ll never have to run to the grocery store at the last minute for carrots or onions or potatoes or celery or green beans if you have jars of the dehydrated versions in your pantry.
- Take advantage of sales and bulk deals. Buy in large quantities without fear of wasting the food OR the money used to buy it.
- Use dehydrated foods to create complete dehydrated meals stored in mason jars or vacuum-sealed for any easy dinner on busy nights or when it’s too hot to cook. Instant meals!
- Replace or supplement freeze-dried meals and snacks when hiking, camping, and backpacking.
- It’s light, compact, and portable. I mean, just a pound of apples reduces to two ounces. Two OUNCES. It’s pretty incredible. It’s a great addition to an evacuation kit if you have access to water.
- If you prefer to shop local and in-season, then another reason for dehydrating food is so that you can eat out-of-season produce year-round.
- Store them at room temperature. However, while no freezer or refrigerator is required, you must still protect against enemies of food storage.
- It’s super simple to involve the kids. While you may need to perform the slicing or at least supervise, kids are fully capable of performing many dehydrating tasks. And, it’s fun!
- Less waste. It was a good deal, right? Well, not when it rots before you can eat it. Instead, dehydrate the extra.
- It’s a great layer of food storage. As preppers, we know better than to put all our eggs in one basket if we help avoid it. Dehydrating food is an excellent strategy for adding another delicious and nutritious layer of food to your prepping pantry.
- Technically, dehydrating doesn’t require electricity. People groups have dried food for centuries without the modern luxury of an electric dehydrator. Hanging herbs in bunches upside down are probably the one most folks are familiar with.
- Many foods are delicious to eat in their dehydrated form. No rehydration, and therefore, no water, is required.
- Picky eaters may find dehydrated versions of foods more to their liking than the raw versions. Why? See #1. Same for those who have an aversion to certain textures.
- Kids won’t eat their vegetables? It’s simple to add veggies to their diet when they take the form of dried and powdered greens.
Do you want to know more about dehydrating food?
If I’ve convinced you to make the easy leap into food dehydrating, check out this article for some next steps.
If you have a garden and expect a decent harvest this year, or if you find some great in-store deals, put food dehydration on the top of your To Learn list! Once you’re past the initial purchase of the dehydrator, it’s just a matter of looking for bargains at the grocery store and then getting busy!
If you use this food preservation method, what are your reasons for dehydrating food?
Originally published February 10, 2010, and has been updated.
I’m the original Survival Mom and for more than 11 years, I’ve been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more with my commonsense prepping advice.
One thought on “25 Fantastic Reasons for Dehydrating Food”
I wanted to thank you for this fantastic read!! I certainly loved every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post…