Dehydrating foods is an excellent way to preserve foods for snacking and cooking. It’s faster than canning and storing foods in mason jars, and allows gardeners and farmers to protect the quality of their meats, by allowing for long term food storage. Dehydrating foods also reduces the weight of the food enabling you to store more in one area, and it helps food to maintain color, nutrients and flavor.
Introduction to Vacuum Sealing Dehydrated Foods
Dehydrated foods can be used hundreds of ways in a huge variety of recipes. To re-hydrate, you simply let the food soak in water, and it will come back to its original consistency in a short time.
Drying or dehydrating foods works by removing water from the food. This in turn inhibits bacteria growth (bacteria, mold and yeast need water to grow, and can’t survive in food with no water). To dehydrate naturally, food is usually allowed to dry in the air, sun, by smoking or wind drying. If you freeze-dry food, it’s first frozen, then pressure is reduced to a level which allows sublimation to take place. Finally, water is removed.
Sealing dehydrated foods is a great way to preserve foods. You can freeze it or store it in a food pantry or other cool, dry place, and enjoy it in meals and for snacks anytime.
It’s a good practice to wear gloves when dehydrating foods to avoid transferring germs to the foods being packaged. Use oxygen packs when vacuum sealing dehydrated food to absorb oxygen.
Dehydrated meat can be saved for years. Vacuum seal the meat before freezing it to prevent freezer burn. Lean meats are the best meats to store dried.
It’s important to trim the fat off of the meat before dehydrating it, because fat can cause the meat to go bad quicker.
Store the dehydrated meat in vacuum package bags for long term and jars for short term. Keep stored foods away from heat, and store in a dry, cool place.
When ready to use, thaw meat at room temperature and enjoy it as you normally would.
Dehydrated Fruits and Vegetables
The process for dehydrating fruits and vegetables is similar to dehydrating meats. You can, however, expect the shape and size of the fruit to change when they are cooked.
Make sure vegetables are at their peak flavor and ripeness before dehydrating them.
Handle berries with care, since they are delicate. Use a strainer and run them under cold water to wash them before dehydrating.
You can take advantage of the various sized bags and jars that are available for vacuum sealing, then enjoy your fruits and vegetables in meals or as snacks.
If you plan on storing your dehydrated fruits and vegetables in Mylar bags, it’s a good idea to place them in a regular food sealer bag first to remove the air out of the bag before placing them inside the Mylar bags.
Length and time for processing your fruits and vegetables will vary depending on the type.
Re-hydrating Dried Foods
Re-hydrating dried foods is when water is put back into the dehydrated foods.
It’s important to use clean water when re-hydrating your foods to help preserve food quality. For a richer taste, water can be replaced with cream, milk or another liquid, depending on the recipe.
Another option for re-hydrating is to use a slow cooker. The basis of cooking food in a slow cooker involves combining ingredients in the slow cooker with liquids and setting the temperature. This allows you to provide a base for stews, soups and other entrees while re-hydrating your foods in the process.
Transporting Dehydrated Foods
Dehydration reduces the possibility of foods spoiling during transporting and storing.
Since food is lighter after the process of dehydration, shipping foods will be cheaper, as well. This is a great way to send favorite foods to family and friends across the Nation, and even Internationally.
Vacuum sealing dehydrated foods is another great means of saving money. Buy foods on sale and in bulk and preserve them for years by first dehydrating and then vacuum sealing.
Take dehydrated food on trips, when hiking and when camping. Babies will enjoy chewing on dried apple rings and other dehydrated foods, too.
Start enjoying the benefits of vacuum sealing dehydrated foods today!