A Brief Guide to Dried Foods
Food drying is a process of food preservation where food is dried in an airtight container. Drying slows down the growth of yeasts, molds, and bacteria by the elimination of water present in it. The dried form of food can then be preserved or stored for future use in our daily meal preparation. Dried foods are those that have been prepared and stored without any change to its nature. This means that even its nutrients have been preserved.
You can do it yourself, using either dehydrators or ovens as the appliance of choice. However, these methods are low cost alternatives available to those who want to do things themselves. There are several types of dehydrators that you can choose from, depending on the specific use to be had from the appliance. If you are planning to make dried foods for your own consumption, you might want to take a look at the different options available, particularly those that use electrical energy in low humidity environments soft dried pineapple.
Let’s look at some facts about the shelf life of dried foods. The shelf life of dried food depends largely on two factors; the type of the food, and its dry state. Moisture content is not as important as the type of the food since all dried foods lose moisture gradually. High in starches and sugars, dried foods are low in carbohydrates, but still maintain a high nutrient content, especially if they are combined with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Vegetables like carrots and lettuce maintain their moisture for a longer time if they are combined with dried fruits, although the vitamins and minerals tend to diminish as they go through time. Some fruits like cranberries retain more moisture than others, while some retain less. Dried fruits and vegetables are best combined with a high-moisture vegetable, such as a cucumber, because this is one of the best ways to retain its moisture for a long time.
If you want to retain as much as possible of the original moisture of the dried foods, you should use as little moisture as possible, using only essential oils or water or a combination thereof. Using too much water or essential oil can hasten the case hardening of some vegetables and fruits. For instance, a tomato which is partially dried would not seal properly in a refrigerator, while a completely dried tomato would.
There are many different advantages to food drying. One is that it gives us more control over the quality of the food we eat, by being able to control its physical properties. Another advantage is that it offers a number of healthy alternatives to prepackaged foods. Dried foods are versatile, tasty, and healthy. They are also relatively cheap and are available at most every grocery store.