When it comes to things like food drying, I try to remember things my Mom taught me that she likely learned from my Grandma. That’s because older people have good advice. When it comes to life, they’ve been there and done that. When it comes to things that aren’t so common these days, their advice and wisdom is priceless. We call food drying dehydrating these days, but you can still use these tips my Grandma passed down to do it right.
Blanche before drying.
Immersing fruits and veggies in boiling hot water for several minutes before drying inhibits spoilage. You won’t find those instructions on your fancy food dehydrator, or maybe you will. I don’t know. I’ve never bought one. I use the oven to dry food. Just like Mom and Grandma did. I see no reason not to. They knew what they were doing.
Keep food away from oven coils.
If you decide to dehydrate your food in the oven, use the rack furthest from the coil or flame. Which rack you use will vary depending on your oven. Mom says that’s to keep the food from drying out too fast. When that happens you might end up with burned food, not dehydrated food. You should also crack the oven door a bit. Set the oven as low as possible.
Big isn’t always better.
Small pieces of food dry more quickly. I know. Mom said to dry the food slowly. That’s true, but you want to conserve energy too, right? So cut your food into small or thin slices before blanching and drying it. It’s also important to keep the batches you place in the oven small and spread them out, so the air can get to them.
Don’t dry food outside.
Pioneers had no choice, but you do. Drying food indoors means less chance of pests and spoilage. Insects migrate to sweet food like fruit. They shouldn’t be part of your yummy dried treats. Dehydrating food outdoors takes longer too, so there’s more chance the food will spoil than if you dry it indoors.
Shifting and rotating helps food dry consistently.
It takes time to dry food properly. As it’s drying, be sure to shuffle it around for even dehydration. Leaving it stationary might mean it gets dry in some areas faster. Those areas may not be as tasty as the rest once the process is complete. Mom sure knew what she was doing in the kitchen. Her advice never fails me. When it comes to homesteading tips, Mom and Grandma got you covered.
Portions of this article were originally published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.