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Food Security: Dehydrating

by on April 18, 2012

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In our ongoing discussion of food security, this week we take a look at dehydrating foods for long term storage.

The process of drying foods for storage has been in use for thousands of years, which makes sense when you consider that the canning of food has only been around since about 1800 and home refrigeration didn’t exist for more than 100 years after that.

Dehydrating foods for long term storage is a great option for several reasons:

  • no refrigeration is required
  • dehydrated food takes up less space
  • much of the nutrient content is retained

Basic dehydrators can be purchased for just a few dollars that will help you to dehydrate everything from tomatoes to onions, carrots, parsnips, peas, beans, fruit, herbs and more. In the photo above you can see last year’s experiment in which I dehydrated the tomato peelings that were left over during canning.  I then processed the peels in my electric chopper to a fine powder. That tomato powder can be added to soups, stews, sauces and chili as a thickener as well as for added color and nutrition. Now I can truly say that not a single part of the tomato is wasted, even when making sauces.

Instead of purchasing dehydrated onion or onion powder, make your own. The process is as simple as thinly slicing your onion and dehydrating until they are completely dry. The same goes for garlic, by the way.

Next month we will look at dehydrating in more detail and give specific instructions for dehydrating your urban garden bounty.

Other Food Security Articles:

What is Food Security?

Food Security: How Much Is Enough?

What Is Food Security? What You Need to Know

Food Security: Stocking Up

Farming Red, White and Blue

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