Drying or dehydrating foods can be a delicious and healthy way to preserve foods. Dehydrating can not only strengthen flavors but concentrate nutrients when done properly. It is also simpler in that risks associated with other food preservation methods (such as botulism with canning) can be avoided. Additionally, as Annie Bond writes, dehydrating foods takes very little power input. Electric dehydrators can be purchased, but especially in the summer in most climates, simple drying racks with plenty of sunshine can work just as well. (http://www.greenchicafe.com/three-secrets-of-food-dehydration)
Bond outlines the general steps associated with drying foods (though mor specific instructions related to different types of foods can be found at this site: http://food.unl.edu/web/preservation/drying).
1: Wash food and cut into thin, even slices
2: Blanch vegetables and acid treat fruit
3: Array in one even layer on drying trays
4: Set out in the sun, in a hot area with good air circulation
5: When food is dried, remove any pieces that might have mold and store the remaining pieces
According to Bond, your yummy dehydrated foods will generally last you six to nine months. Dried foods can be used in infinite ways, from trail mixes for hikes, to delicious, flavorful soups. So start dehydrating food today! Try the foods listed below or experiment with other types of fruits, vegetables, or herbs.
Easy foods to dry: