Dried foods are delicious, healthy, lightweight, and easy to store, use and transport. In fact, drying is one of the oldest food preservation methods around. So, whether you are looking to lighten the weight of your favorite foods for camping and backpacking or preserving fruits and vegetables to enjoy throughout the winter months, drying is simply easy and safe.
However, understanding the basic principles behind the dehydrating process is key to the success of enjoying dried goods months after harvesting. The method of drying or dehydrating removes moisture from food to inhibit the growth of bacteria, mold, and yeast. Moreover, it slows down enzyme activity without deactivating them, ensuring food does not spoil easily. Thereby making drying an effective food preservation technique.
Commonly dehydrated foods include fruits and vegetables in the form of chips or leathers and herbs. However, some fruits and vegetables are more suitable for drying than others. Additionally, depending on the produce being dried, you may need to pretreat or blanch the items before beginning the drying process.
Join University of Illinois Extension?s Nutrition and Wellness Educator, Diane Reinhold, for Yes! You Can: Preserve It Safely: Dehydrating: From Grape to Raisin. This educational session will cover the basics of safely selecting, dehydrating, and storing fruits and vegetables.
This event will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 13 Virtually, via Zoom.