You’ve probably seen a stampede to the grocery store to stock up in times of trouble. It’s happened in Elk Grove, CA, and across the nation. One way to ensure you and your family always have food is to keep a stock in your freezer, on your shelves and use a dehydrator for fruits and veggies. One of the benefits of a dehydrator is that it cuts the amount of storage room you need. The space it takes for one can of food is room enough for the equivalent of several cans of dehydrated food if it were reconstituted. For instance, ½ cup of dehydrated tomatoes is equal to about 1 ½ cups canned tomatoes.
Does dehydrated food contain the same nutrition.
You do lose some of the nutrition when you dehydrate. For instance, vitamin C and vitamin A don’t tend to survive. However, there is potential when you’re drying orange peels. A tbsp. of dried orange peel has only six calories, 13 mg of potassium, 0.6 grams of dietary fiber, .09 grams of protein and 14% of your RDA of vitamin C. It also contains trace amounts of vitamins A and B. In other fruits and vegetables, preserving the vitamin A and C can be helped by adding a sulfate treatment. It’s a preservative, which is something most people want to avoid, so it may be a trade off. Blanching food before dehydrating also lowers the amount of water soluble vitamins.
While the fresh fruits and vegetables are best, there’s a place for dehydrated food.
Dehydrated food can be a great way to store food when space is limited on the shelves or in the freezer. While you may lose some of the nutritional content, you can supplement that with dried herbs and spices. That dried orange rind for instance, can boost the vitamin C content of dishes and can be used in tea. You can make meals combining both dried and fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables to boost nutrition, too.
You can extend your budget with a dehydrator.
If you don’t can food and don’t have the room to freeze it, dehydrating it can be a real benefit to lower your grocery bill and keep more money in your pocket. You can purchase fresh fruit and vegetables on sale or in season or grow your own for dehydration. Grow a small herb garden. Even if you’re limited on space, you can grow plenty in a container. That can be a huge savings if you like to use them to cook and for tea.
- Don’t forget about dehydrating herbs. Just like orange rind, herbs are packed with nutrients and very few calories. While you won’t make a meal of herbs, they are certainly a great way to enhance the flavor while cutting down on salt.
- If you’re dehydrating fruit rind, before you begin to peel that fruit, wash the outside thoroughly, allow to dry and wash again. It’s just a little extra to eliminate pesticides, parasites, bugs or larvae and even the germs from all those hands that might have touched it.
- Dehydrated fruit can be a good alternative to junk food, but be aware that eating the fresh version is better. The water content of the fresh fruit fills you up so you don’t eat as much or consume as many calories.
- The University of Missouri website states that dehydrated food lasts a long time before it spoils. Water is necessary for yeast, bacteria and mold to form. You have to be vigilant that they’re dried long enough and have proper storage for good results.
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