When you click on our product link and buy a product, they pay us a small commission that helps cover some of the costs of maintaining this website. We appreciate any purchase that you make. Drying is the simple process of dehydrating foods until there is not enough moisture to support microbial activity.
Drying removes the water needed by bacteria, yeasts, and molds need to grow. If adequately dried and properly stored, dehydrated foods are shelf stable safe for storage at room temperature.
The drying food preservation method is easy to do, very safe, and can be used for most types of foods meats, fruits, and vegetables. There are several methods for drying foods. Two of the easiest and most common that can be used in any climate are oven drying and drying with an electric dehydrator appliance; these methods are described below. The other methods are air drying in the shade during warm weathersun drying limited to desert climatessolar drying requires specially built dryerand pit oven drying useful when other methods are impractical.
Oven drying is a good choice if you have never dried foods before, or plan to do only occasional drying. Foods that are well-suited to oven drying are meats; seafood; fruit leather; low-moisture foods such as herbs, potatoes, bread cubes, berries, and meaty tomatoes roma or paste-type ; and excess produce you might otherwise throw out, such as onions, celery, and bananas.
If you are new to drying, start with a few of the easiest foods to dry: berries, banana slices, tomato slices, chopped onions, oven jerky, and smoked salmon. An economical solution is to stretch cheesecloth or natural muslin over an oven or cake rack or a wood frame, and attach it with masking tape, paper clips, or clothespins.
For a more permanent, but more costly option, have window screens made at a hardware store and use them for drying. Avoid materials which can leach harmful chemicals, darken the food, or melt at drying temperatures. These materials include:. After oven drying a few foods, if you want to continue to use the drying method, consider investing in an electric food dehydrator.
A food-dehydrating appliance has few weather dependencies, can consistently produce a quality product, and is less prone to inconsistency or other problems when drying foods. This makes it easier than most other methods. A good food dehydrator provides variable temperature control and good air circulation. Basic models have limited temperature ranges, vertical airflow, single-wall construction, and limited drying capacities.
Therefore, you may dry foods until pliable, especially if you want to use them as a snack food. If you want to store dried food longer or use it to grind to a powder such as tomatoes to make saucethen you want them to be crisp and brittle. Less-dry products have considerably shorter shelf life—from 2 weeks to 2 months. Very dry foods, if properly stored, may last several months. Whether pliable or crisp, condition all foods at the end of the drying process.
Individual pieces of food dry at different rates; some pieces will have more moisture than others. If there is too much moisture left in a few pieces, they can grow mold and contaminate the entire batch.
To guard against mold growth, you need to condition dried foods before you store them. During conditioning, the moisture will equalize—that is, excess moisture will transfer to drier pieces, until it is evenly distributed throughout the batch. To condition dried foodsplace them in a tightly closed container at room temperature.
Stir or shake the contents every day for a week. If you open the container to stir the contents, be sure to close it again tightly. During conditioning, if moisture forms on the inside of the container, the food is not sufficiently dry and you need to return it to the dryer. To store dried foods after conditioningseal dried food in airtight containers that hold only enough food to be used at one time. This reduces the number of times a package is reopened.
You can also limit air by taping over jar enclosures or using a desiccant to absorb oxygen.Archeological sites in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia show this method of food preservation has been used since 4, B. While newer methods like electronic dehydrators speed up the process, sun drying is a slow gentle process that can really bring out the flavor of your food. You can actually sun dry just about any type of food; that being said, fruits are the safest thing to start with and are preferable because of their high sugar and acid content — something that helps prevent spoilage during the drying process.
Small wood slats, bamboo, grill grates, and stainless steel screen mesh are all good material to use for the racks. You can also use cake racks or build small wooden frames covered with cheesecloth. Just remember that your racks cannot be solid, as you need air to circulate around the drying food. Avoid any grates coated with cadmium or zinc. These metals can oxidize, leaving dangerous residues on the food.
Pretreating Fruit : Most fruits need some type of preparation before the drying process can begin. Place the pretreated fruit in a single layer on the drying racks. Then place your racks in an area that receives direct sunlight, and a good breeze.
Try to pick an area away from animals, traffic exhaust, insects and dust. Once the food is placed on the racks in direct sunlight, place cheesecloth or netting around the racks to keep off dust and keep out insects. Fruits and vegetables take anywhere from 3 to 7 days to dry in the sun, depending on your local conditions.
When the food is just about two-thirds dry, move it into a semi-shady but airy area to prevent the food from getting scorched by the sun. To improve storage times and to ensure the safety of your food dried fruits should be conditioned before storage. Conditioning evenly distributes moisture present in the dried fruit to prevent mold growth.
Pasteurization is especially important because it will destroy any insects and their eggs. It can be done using either a freezer, or an oven. In the real world, when electricity is no longer available, use a brake bleeder from Harbor Freight. These work great for me when for some reason, the vacuum sealing method fails.
Maybe consider a solar oven to dry and to pasteurize product for long term storage. It would be off the grid sustainable and adjustable for low heat and ventilation to dry. I am trying out dollar store reflective car windshield shades for a solar oven. Also, mylar blankets glued to cardboard boxes is another solar oven in project the works.
Hopefully the dollar stores will be carrying the turkey size oven bags that can be used with the solar ovens. We have sash windows facing south.If you buy an item via links on this page, we may earn a commission.
Our editorial content is not influenced by commissions. Read the full disclosure.dried fish the traditional methods as drying, smoking and salting
I was amazed at how tasty the food was and how easy freeze drying is to preserve food. As blown away as I was, I could only assume others might be as interested in learning more about freeze-drying as I was.
Freeze drying is a food preservation method which removes all liquid from a particular food without impacting the taste. Once the food is frozen, it goes through a vacuum cycle. This cycle will take all the ice crystals which formed during freezing and turn them into vapor. The vapor is removed from the food, and from this point forward, the food is safe for storage without losing any of its color or taste. However, freeze drying food has been around for many years.
Freeze drying food with a machine is as simple as it comes. Once the food finished freeze drying, place it in a sealed plastic bag and store. Though freeze-drying foods with a machine is fast and easy, the device itself is quite expensive. The main difference between using a freeze-drying machine and not using one is the amount of time the process takes.
If you freeze dry food without a machine, you should prep the food as you would before preserving it with any other method. When the food is ready to go, place it on an air-drying rack where the air can fully circulate around the food. Place the tray inside a deep freezer and leave it. At first, the food will freeze. Over a matter of weeks, the food will become dry. It may even be worth the investment in your eyes, but does it work for all kinds of foods?
Here are the foods freeze drying works best with:. Any food which has high water content should work well for freeze drying.During these challenging times, we guarantee we will work tirelessly to support you.
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Updated: March 29, References. Food drying offers an alternative method of food preservation than canning or freezing food.
The process involves extracting moisture from specific foods to prevent the formation of bacterial growth and other organisms that cause rot or decay. Drying works best when it occurs outdoors in an oven or in a food dehydrator. Vegetables, fruits, herbs, meats and fish can withstand the food-drying process. Certain preparation methods apply before drying foods. Log in Facebook Loading Google Loading Civic Loading No account yet? Create an account.
Article Edit. Learn why people trust wikiHow. To create this article, volunteer authors worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has also been viewed 24, times. Learn moreIf you buy an item via links on this page, we may earn a commission. Our editorial content is not influenced by commissions. Read the full disclosure. It was about five or six years ago when I had an epiphany. I was struggling to make ends meet, and we had three little mouths to feed.
Then my mother-in-law informed me about preserving my own food. I had never even thought about that before. See, I grew up in areas that were close to cities, and we never had a garden or anything like that.
FOOD PRESERVATION: Sun Drying Fruits and other Foods
So I never thought past going to the grocery store. But when I discovered the world of self-sufficiency and food preservation, I was hooked. In case you are interested in the same thing, here are the different methods of food preservation:. If you are new to the world of food preservation, this might be a great place to start. So as you can tell, this method is pretty basic.
Plus, you can store them easier too. All you have to do is follow this recipe to get the berries thoroughly dehydrated, then store them in a mason jar with a screw top lid. It is that simple. Try this dehydrated recipe. Would you love to have fresh made sundried tomatoes?
If so, then you need to give this recipe a glance. It shows you how to take fresh tomatoes and turn them into sundried all with the help of a dehydrator. So imagine all of the delicious recipes you can easily create with these tomatoes you sundried fresh at home.
The savings will add up quickly with this one. If you enjoy marshmallows in your cereal, then you can dehydrate marshmallows and add it to your own homemade cereal anytime you like. Jugging is an older method of food preservation. It lost popularity during the 20 th century. Then they bring that animal or fish home and place it in an earthenware pot or casserole dish. Finally, the dish is sealed.
I apologize that there are no recipes to share with this type of food preservation. It is one that is outdated and rarely if ever in use anymore. Making jelly may not seem like a way of preserving anything, but from a woman that makes jellies practically every year, I assure you it is definitely a method of food preservation.
Instead, make a delicious jelly out of it that you and your family will enjoy for months to come. The biggest difference between jams and jellies is that jam leaves seeds in the mixture while jelly works very diligently to remove the seeds. So you can leave this recipe as a jam or make it into more of a jelly. Either way, if you are overrun with watermelon this summer, you can make this creation.
Try this jelly recipe. Blackberry jelly is a recipe I love to make. My mother-in-law and I made it together for a lot of years. So now I make it out of tradition if nothing else. You might be wondering how sugar can help preserve food as one of the food preservation methods.About Us The National Center for Home Food Preservation is your source for current research-based recommendations for most methods of home food preservation.
Read More. We offer you free lesson plans for teaching youth how to preserve at home in Put it Up! Step-by-step methods are illustrated and several child-friendly recipes are provided for using each of the preserved foods. Activities are intended to be carried out with adult supervision and help. Preserved foods include canned applesauce, canned strawberry jam, refrigerator or canned pickles, frozen berries, and dried fruit, tomato slices and applesauce rolled leather.
If you are in the process of planning your summer garden, then check out the recent blog post Get Ready Now for the Summer Harvest. As you plan your tomato harvest, look at the different methods available for canning tomatoes and tomato products. The processes are meant to be used with the preparation procedures described with each one.
There is not just one process for canning all tomato products. Strawberries are an early crop in many parts of the country. Check out how to freeze themor even look at our pictorial slide show on making Strawberry-Kiwi Jam. Having trouble watching this video? The book is new as of September Our self-paced, online course for those wanting to learn more about home canning and preservation is temporarily unavailable while it is converted to another platform.
This may take several months; we are sorry for the inconvenience. How do I? Read More We offer you free lesson plans for teaching youth how to preserve at home in Put it Up! Seasonal Hot Topics If you are in the process of planning your summer garden, then check out the recent blog post Get Ready Now for the Summer Harvest.Freeze-drying is a special form of drying that removes all moisture and tends to have less of an effect on a food's taste than normal dehydration does.
In freeze-drying, food is frozen and placed in a strong vacuum. The water in the food then sublimates -- that is, it turns straight from ice into vapor. Freeze-drying is most commonly used to make instant coffeebut also works extremely well on fruits such as apples. You probably don't have a good vacuum chamber at home, but you almost certainly have a refrigerator.
If you don't mind waiting a week, you can experiment with freeze-drying at home using your freezer. For this experiment you will need a tray, preferably one that is perforated.
If you have something like a cake-cooling rack or a metal mesh tray, that is perfect. You can use a cookie sheet or a plate if that is all that you have, but the experiment will take longer. Now you will need something to freeze-dry. Three good candidates are apples, potatoes and carrots apples have the advantage that they taste okay in their freeze-dried state.
Cut them paper-thin if you can do it -- the thinner you cut, the less time the experiment will take. Then arrange your slices on your rack or tray and put them in the freezer. Over the next week, look in on your slices. What will happen is that the water in the slices will sublimate away.
That is, the water in the slices will convert straight from solid water to water vapor, never going through the liquid state this is the same thing that mothballs do, going straight from a solid to a gaseous state. After a week or so depending on how cold your freezer is and how thick the slices areyour slices will be completely dry.
Food Preservation Methods: Canning, Freezing, and Drying
To test apple or potato slices for complete drying, take one slice out and let it thaw. It will turn black almost immediately if it is not completely dry. When all of the slices are completely dry, what you have is freeze-dried apples, potatoes and carrots. You can "reconstitute" them by putting the slices in a cup or bowl and adding a little boiling water or add cold water and microwave.
You can eat the apples in their dried state or you can reconstitute them. What you will notice is that the reconstituted vegetables look and taste pretty much like the original! That is why freeze-drying is a popular preservation technique.
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