Sometimes nature pours itself on you with a bounty of fruits, vegetable, nuts, and berries. What can you do when you end up with more zucchinis than you, all your neighbors, friends, family, and co-workers can eat?
Preserving harvested foods has been around since ancient times. There’re four main ways to preserve your harvest: storing in a controlled environment, canning, dehydrating, and freezing.
Dehydrating is the easiest. Freezing and canning require more work and expertise. The controlled environment can be the hardest to manage. I’ll cover each of these in more detail in the next few blogs.
Dehydration involves heating foods continually until most of the water is removed. Once the food is dehydrated, you need to keep it in a cool and dry place. They last for an almost indefinite time. Because they shrank considerably, they take up less space than the original. Only drawback is that when you reconstitute dehydrated foods, they don’t return to the original consistency, but in most dishes that is not even noticeable.
Something that most dehydrators don’t do is to preserve the enzymes in the food. Also, if they get too hot nutrients are lost. However, the Excalibur dehydrator is temperature controlled to preserve enzymes and nutrients. Herbs are especially tasty when dehydrated at lower temperatures. All of the volatile oils are preserved. They taste almost like freshly picked herbs, especially basil. If possible buy the model that has the timer on it, so that you don’t over dry your harvest.