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Food Preservation

Dehydration by: Sarah (18)

Ammi strips Basil plants.

Ammi strips Basil plants.

Dehydration is another form of preservation. We dehydrate large quantities of certain culinary herbs, like basil and parsley, as well as a nice supply of fruits and occasionally some vegetables.

"For as long as I can remember, we have dehydrated apples every fall to enjoy through the winter. Whether our own apples or ones we've picked from a neighboring orchard, we will set to work for a whole morning, gathered round the kitchen table, peeling, coring and slicing buckets of apples.

Ammi, Hannah, Nathanael, Sarah & Julia peel apples.

Ammi, Hannah, Nathanael, Sarah & Julia peel apples.

When we do group projects like this, we often pick one family member to read to us, that way we get two things done at once. Through the years God has blessed us with several dehydrators so we can do a lot of drying at once, as well as making apple pies if we have extras sliced! It has only been in the last three or four years or so that our pear trees have matured enough to give us an abundant harvest. Since we didn't know much to do with pears, other than canning them, we decided to dry some. They are chewier than the apples, which we dry till they snap, but they're also sweeter.

Zechariah fills the dehydrator with corn.

Zechariah fills the dehydrator with corn.

When we began doing more with our backpacks and camping, I started experimenting with drying grains and vegetables for light weight foods. In 1999 Mom had dried various types, but she dried them raw which we found makes rehydrating extremely time consuming and sometimes hardly possible. Tender foods like tomatoes and mushrooms are best dried raw but most other vegetables need to be steamed and grains cooked before drying in order to rehydrate better. Also, when they're already cooked these vegetables are great for eating dry like apples for a snack. When God blesses us with more than we know what to do with of a given food or Mom gets a really good sale on fruit we often dry the excess, thus experiencing new and exciting snacks like pineapple, cherries and bananas long afterwards".

Joanna prepares dehydrated bananas.

Joanna prepares dehydrated bananas.

Tip: If you pack dried food into jars while they are still warm from the dehydrator, the jars will seal as they cool keeping moisture out for longer. They are sometimes quite difficult to open especially when we screw the lids on too tight.

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