September 26, 2021 by D.Fathia
Updated September 28, 2021
What foods are easiest to dry?
Drying food has been part and partial of people’s kitchen necessities for a long time now. Whether to save money, preserve delicate foods, or simply because the dried version tastes better, people have been drying foods for a lot of reasons and using various methods.
You might be surprised to know how far this field has gone. It is truly insane to hear about the different foods people are drying. Well, if it works then why not? Who could blame them for preserving an extra kilo of easily perishable fruits or an expensive item?
Drying fruits has become a pillar of pantry routines for most people around the world. So, let’s see together what foods are easiest to dry.
Drying foods actually serves sustainable development goals. It reduces food waste and ensures proper handling of crops surplus.
My personal reason for drying foods is eliminating extra weight in my backpack. I am a hiking nerd and even love to walk long distances from home to work. On such hiking trips, it is much of help to carry light weight dried foods. Taking my lunch and sometimes even breakfast to work is also a big problem; small snacks are incredibly helpful.
In case you are new to this practice, you must be wondering about a lot of things. What foods are easiest to dry? What methods are best to dry foods? How long is the shelf life of dried foods? And a lot of other frequently asked questions that range from the tools used to health-related matters.
So, first things first, what foods are best to dehydrate? Well, I believe most people will agree that fruits are the easiest to dry since you can dehydrate them even in an oven. Besides, fruits perish quickly and they don’t last for long.
Dried fruits make excellent additions to granolas, energy bars, cakes and other baked goods, yogurts, and many more deserts and probably salads. Drying fruits is indeed the best idea anyone has ever come up with. They are versatile in use and thanks to hydration we can keep them around for as long as we wish.
Vegetables such as tomatoes, beans, garlic, and onions are great options to dehydrate. They are easy to dry and come in handy for ready-cooked meals, especially for backpackers. They are used to make soups, stews, and other easy meals that are light to carry around.
Fish and meat are also easily dried and are great to have in your pantry for multiple choices. Who doesn’t like bacon? These are great to use for whatever dish you like, easy to store and don’t go bad quickly.
Herbs are one of my personal favorite things to dry. Hers are not just easy to dry; they are at the core of all cooking plans. Oregano, rosemary, parsley, mint, and thyme are my all-time favorites. I use these herbs for cooking, making tea, and seasoning and garnishing virtually all plates I prepare. They simply add irresistible flavors to food.
Dehydration is not an option only for raw foods; some cooked foods can be dried as well. For instance, drying bread is a common habit where I come from. Dried bread is used in different ways for snacks and main dishes alike.
Ways to dehydrate foods:
A time-old method to dry food is sun drying. This is the most natural and safest way to go with. It does not involve the addition of any chemical or exposure to electric heat waves. You simply have to slice your fruits or vegetables and place them under the sun rays covered with a thin mesh cloth. This method works perfectly in hot places with long sunny hours.
Air drying is the oldest method known besides sun drying. The basics are the same, except that you need to leave your food in the shade. This method is great for herbs; it preserves their natural green color.
Technology gave birth to electric dehydrators and made the drying process even easier. Different sizes exist and can be bought easily for home use.
If you are living in a cold zone and do not possess an electric dehydrator, then you can dry your foods in the oven. Besides, microwaves are perfect for small quantities of food.
The bottom line is that drying food is really a simple process. It needs no expertise.
Storage and shelf life:
Home dried fruits might darken with time. Commercially sole fruits, nevertheless, are often soaked in preservatives before dehydration to maintain their colors.
You can avoid chemical additives if you are drying fruits at home; instead, you can use lemon juice. Lemon juice mixed with water should do the job just fine. However, it might leave a fainting taste.
Otherwise, some traditional methods to extend the shelf life of certain dried fruits also exist. For example, dried figs are soaked in olive oil to last longer; they can be edible even after two years.
To store your dried foods, you can use silicone bags or glass jars. Make sure you seal the jars tightly. Store them away from the heat and preferably away from the light too.
If you are still wondering what foods are easiest to dry, then you should stop thinking. Most foods are actually easy to dry. Pick something and start trying today. Believe me, it is a great way to preserve food.
Are dried foods healthy?
Drying foods is a great way to preserve easily perishable food and to reduce waste. However, questions are being asked regarding certain related health issues. Is it safe to eat dried foods? Are these foods healthy?
The shortest answer is yes! Foods that are dried can be consumed safely without any potential health issues. Nevertheless, there are a few points to pay attention to.
Calories tend to be much more in dried foods than in raw ones as the former becomes condensed and shrinks in size. Therefore, you need to pay attention to how much you eat and keep your portions under control.
One more thing, sugar contents usually become denser in dried products such as dried fruits. SO for example, if you are fond of eating figs, like me, and you need to settle down for dried figs during winter, you need to count your figs. A handful is enough; don’t overeat as if they are still fresh fruits.
Some studies showed that a few vitamins and minerals might be destroyed by the heat during the dehydration process. Nevertheless, they still contain valuable amounts of nutrients. Besides, they are a healthier option compared to other snacks and processed foods.