Top reasons to dry your own food

Harnessing the natural energy of the sun to preserve foods by drying dates back centuries and remains the cheapest and the simplest of all methods of preservation. Here is why it has been so popular and will continue to be so.

Top reasons to dry your own food

The benefits of home-dryed food

  • Drying preserves food by reducing its moisture content to a level where spoiling bacteria and moulds are unable to grow.
  • Exposing produce to a regular flow of hot, dry air will remove moisture quickly and concentrate its sugar content (particularly in the case of fruit). This gives a delicious sweet flavour and an antibacterial effect.
  • Drying will dramatically reduce the volume of the various foods which makes them easier and more convenient to store.
  • Dried foods can be kept on the shelf for long periods.
  • The faster a food is dried(done at a higher temperature), the higher its vitamin content will be and lowers the risk of contamination by bacteria. However, high temperatures may  lead to the exterior drying and hardening into a shell, sealing moisture inside the food which will later cause spoilage.
  • Best results are achieved with drying temperatures in the 40° to 60°C (104° to 140°F) range.

Foods that are better suited for drying

  • The most suitable fruits for drying are apples, apricots, peaches, pears, grapes, bananas, figs and plums.
  • The simplest vegetables to dry are pulses (seeds of pod-bearing plants), green beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, capsicum and chillies.
  • Herbs are always worth drying.
  • Keep in mind that for dried food it is important to use only fresh, top-quality produce.

Properly done, drying can turn surplus garden produce into tasty and convenient-to-use food. It's a system that is so straightforward it is easy for anyone do at home.

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