Dry Foods at Home

by Richard & Kathy Melton

About the Foods

From fruits to meat, all foods contain water. Almost any food can be dehydrated, although some lose something in the process. Lettuce doesn't reconstitute (rehydrate) to its usual taste and consistency, but carrots cook up plump and tender in a soup or stew. Dry Foods at Home gives instructions for fruits, vegetables, berries and meats. Some don't even need blanching! Look at the following samples from each food type:

FOOD  PREPARATION  BLANCHING TIME  APPEARANCE AFTER DRYING
 Green beans  Slice into thin strips lengthwise or cut in 1" to 2" pieces diagonally.  Blanch in steam or boiling water for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes  Leathery to brittle after drying
 Strawberries  Remove stem and leafy cap. Cut in half, slice or dice.  Do not need blanching  Tough to brittle after drying
 Apricots  Remove pit. Cut in half or in slices 1/4" thick or dice 1/4" to 1/2".  Blanch in steam or boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes.  Pliable with no moisture in the center
 Beef jerky  Use very lean meat. Slice thinly. Place slices in boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove from water and drain. Marinate if desired to improve flavor.  See Preparation  Leathery and pliable but not moist.

As you can see, the method is simple. The authors have included some of their favorite marinade recipes in Dry Foods at Home.

Take a good look on the shelves of any grocery store, and you will see literally hundreds of dried foods. Buying fresh produce from a local farmer or farmer's market will assure the quality and nutrition you want in your home dried foods. Without additives, you can have a whole market in your cupboard! Everything can be at your fingertips to mix and match, munch and indulge your taste buds!