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Dehydrated Vegetables

Dehydrated vegetables are a great alternative to the fresh ones. Most people enjoy the taste of fresh vegetables but sometimes they are not available for any number of reasons.

Many vegetables only grow during specific times of the year and sometimes extreme weather conditions ruin entire crops so if you want to obtain them you can either use the canned variety or the dehydrated ones.

Canned foods have too many preservatives and are void of many nutrients. They also get damaged way faster than any dehydrated food. Canned goods can last just a couple of years in the best case scenario while the dehydrated type can around 20 years without getting spoiled.

The dehydration process

The process for preparing dehydrated vegetables is quite simple. Dehydration is an old method used for preserving food. It basically consists in removing the water from the food. This process can be used in almost any kind of food including fruits, vegetables, meats, fish and grains. Why is so important to remove the water in order to preserve the food? Well bacteria and other microorganisms require water in order to grow and multiply; without water is very hard for them to survive.

Dried apple slices

There are several ways that you can use to dehydrate food:

- In the old times there wasn’t much technology available so among the few ways to achieve dehydration was sun drying and oven drying. Sun drying is very troublesome as it requires 3 to 4 very sunny days in a row to be effective. This technique is not very efficient as something like 25 to 30% of the moisture will remain in the food.

- Another method commonly used is oven drying. Dehydrating vegetables in an oven will normally spend a lot of energy plus the taste of the food will not be very appealing.

- One practical method to obtain dehydrated vegetables today is by using an electric dehydrator. This device can save a lot of energy plus it also allows the food to keep its nutrients by using the appropriate temperatures for an optimum dehydration. The moisture remaining after removing the water with modern dehydrators can be in the range of 2 to 3%, which is way more effective than sun drying. The extra moisture removed allows the food to remain edible for a longer period of time.

There are certain things you need to keep in mind when dehydrating vegetables.

First you must keep the temperature around 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54°C). If temperature is too high you will cooking not drying and if is too low microorganisms will start growing in the food.

Also depending on the vegetable you will require a certain amount of time to dry it. Potatoes for example require approximately 6 to 12 hours to dry if they are cut in slices of 1/8 inch thick. Broccoli takes approximately 4 to 10 hours to get its water removed when cut.

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