Drying food yourself, rather than purchasing pre-dried or pre-reserved food can be a great way to save money on your grocery bill and give you greater control over your meal portions. It’s also a fantastic way to save food that you didn’t eat during your last meal; dried food can be tasty as a snack between lunch and dinner.
According to Fitnessvolt, there are some meal replacements that are great for home as well, especially if you are not feeling upbeat about preparing food. And most of is dry.
But you don’t have to buy pre-dried food to enjoy these options. Instead, you can dry your food yourself with several effective methods.
1. Food Dehydrators
By far, the most effective way to dry food yourself is to use a food dehydrator. These efficient devices use electricity to dry your food either through air ventilation, heat circulation, or both. The exact dehydration method can vary from device to device, but all dehydrators provide great tasting food and keep your food’s quality intact better than any other way.
Food dehydrators are designed to dry all of your food as uniformly as possible. Some are created with multiple stacking trays to allow you to dry lots of food in a single session. But perhaps the best part of food dehydrators is that you don’t need to spend lots of time overseeing the process. As opposed to some of the other food drying methods, you can largely set and forget your dehydrator and it’ll do the work for you.
Finding the right dehydrator can be tricky. Most food dehydrators are loud, especially when compared to oven drying. Plus, according to All the Stuff, more power doesn’t necessarily mean that the food dries faster. So before you pick up a food dehydrator that’s perfect for your schedule or kitchen, make sure to do your homework.
2. Oven Drying
You can use your oven to dry your food, although this takes between two or three times longer than a food dehydrator. This is mostly because ovens don’t have fans to circulate warm air over the tops of your food, making it take much longer to eliminate moisture, even with smaller foodstuffs. In addition, oven-drying takes a lot more energy than a good dehydrator. This can quickly rack up a high gas or electric bill if you’re not careful.
But oven-drying can produce excellent food that’s ready for storage if you pay attention to the progress being made carefully. You have to take care not to overcook your food or raise the temperature too high, as well as time things perfectly. Oven-drying can be advantageous if you have a truly huge amount of food you need to dry in a single session.
If you do decide to oven-dry your food, try not to let the temperature go above 140°F or your oven’s “Keep Warm” setting. In addition, be sure to keep the oven door open between two or four inches. If you have an extra fan you can plug in nearby, it’ll be helpful to have it circulate air out of the oven by placing it near the open door.
3. Air Drying
Air-drying your food is another possible solution for your storage or preservative needs. You need a well-ventilated room, ideally with windows on opposing sides, to ensure that air flows across your food items rather than stagnating. However, this method can be advantageous since it may not take long if you do it on a windy day. Be careful not to choose a day or location that’s too windy, however, especially if working with food that doesn’t weigh much.
Air-drying food is easy, simple, and can be done with lots of food at once. Although different fruits need different preparation, according to wikiHow, in essence the process is always the same.
You can also hang peppers or herbs on strings and place them near an open window for a quick-drying strategy that doesn’t take up as much space as other methods. Alternatively, you may need to clear lots of space on a wide table to allow larger quantities of food the opportunity to dry as the wind passes over it.
4. Sun Drying
Sun-drying food is a popular choice in sunny climates, although be prepared for it to take quite some time to complete. Drying your food in the sun typically takes between three to four days, and you can only dry your food in this way if you don’t live in a humid climate. Humid climates cause food to mold before it completes the drying process.
You’ll need to position your food items in a place with lots of sunlight throughout the day. Therefore, wide tables on days without a lot of cloud cover are ideal conditions for a sun-drying session. You may also need to place the food beneath a net or cover to prevent insects from reaching the food itself.
Because this method relies on so many environmental factors to be successful, it’s only really useful for some households.
5. Microwave Drying
Finally, you can use your microwave to dry your food, although you are very limited by the space within the microwave itself. It’s also very easy to accidentally overcook your food in a microwave, so you’ll need to pay careful attention to the drying process throughout.
Microwaving your food is an ideal way to dry smaller quantities of leafy vegetables or herbs. To do this, place your herbs or leafy vegetables between two paper towels. Microwave those paper towels on a safe plate between two or three minutes, although we’d recommend going for as short a time as 1 minute if you’ve never done this before.
After the microwaving is done, check the food yourself with your finger. If the herbs or vegetables are dry and brittle, they’re finished. If not, only microwave them for an additional 30 seconds. Otherwise, you risk overcooking the food and ruining its flavor or texture.
All of the above methods can lead to great tasting food if properly dried, but we’d still recommend going with a great food dehydrator. Dehydrators combine ease-of-use with consistent results, making them the best choice for frequently drying. They’re the best way to preserve the taste and texture of your favorite foods while eliminating excess moisture.
Whichever food drying method you choose, we wish you luck and thanks for reading!