Dehydration is the removal of moisture from food through evaporation. This inhibits the activities of harmful microbes, as they cannot thrive where there’s inadequate water.
It is one of the oldest techniques of preserving food, and it offers many benefits. This article will explore the basics of dehydrating food for meal prepping and how to choose a dehydrator.
How to choose a dehydrator
There are many dehydrators to choose from, so you may be overwhelmed when you’re faced with your options.
However, there’s a simple trick to choosing the right one. Consider the following:
1. The temperature settings
An adjustable temperature is a non-negotiable requirement when choosing a dehydrator because it gives you more control over moisture loss. It’s also essential to be able to dehydrate an array of foods safely.
2. On and off timer
Even though it may seem like a good idea to buy a dehydrator that automatically turns off itself, what happens when you’re dehydrating two different meals that require varying cooking periods?
Instead of choosing an automatic option, it’s better to opt for one that you can manually turn on and off.
3. The position of the fan
A front-loading dehydrator is better because of where the fan and heating system are located. This causes the hot air to get blown across the trays horizontally, which is more efficient.
Tips for using a dehydrator
- Dehydrate your food until it doesn’t feel cool when you touch it.
- Ensure you dry food properly to avoid mold buildup. And when you notice signs of spoilage, we recommend throwing it out.
- Dehydrate fruits completely too – they should feel dry when you touch the slices. And when you squeeze the center, no juices should come out. There should be a uniform temperature – coolness indicates improper dehydration.
- Cut your food into smaller sizes for more even dehydration.
- Put your food on a single tray while dehydrating, and turn it over halfway into the drying process. In twelve to twenty-four hours, the food will dry.
- Avoid dehydrating bananas, onions, and other foods that smell strongly with your regular food items.
Benefits of using a dehydrator:
Aside from prolonging the lifespan of food, there are other reasons a dehydrator is a godsend:
It makes food taste better
Removing the water from fruits, veggies, and other meals makes the food taste better. It’s essentially a concentration of the nutrients and flavoring in the food, and since you’re making it yourself, there’s no need to worry about the freshness.
It’s healthy and nutritious
The aim of meal prepping is to preserve food for a longer period. And dehydration is how you ensure that even while prolonging your meal’s shelf-life.
Dehydrated food offers more minerals, vitamins, and enzymes. Most of the water will be lost during the process, leaving you with more nutrient-dense meal options.
It saves money
Instead of buying expensive, dehydrated organic food, you can buy fresh items that you can dehydrate yourself. They can often be stored for months, which is the basis of meal prepping.