People have been dehydrating food for storage for thousands of years. It is one of the easiest and safest methods of preserving food for later consumption. Dehydrated food takes up less storage space and is lighter and easier to transport than other methods of storing foods.
For those folks looking to have an emergency food storage cache, it is an ideal method of storing food. Dehydrated food requires no refrigeration or other energy reliant methods of storage. Just keep it dry until you need to use it.
In modern times we often scoff at some of the methods used by primitive people but they are no less effective today than they were hundreds of years ago.
The old timers hung their meat and vegetables on lines or put them on racks in the sun (solar….novel idea, huh?) to dry. Sometimes they would build a smudge fire under them which served two purposes; it kept the insects away and the smoke both flavored the food and helped preserve it.
I have actually made jerky by hanging thin sliced venison on the clothesline when I lived in Arizona (this will not work in a humid environment).
We dry some types of vegetables in our kitchen. We hang them (sliced thin) on cords stretched across the kitchen area. This works well for us as our kitchen is well ventilated (ventilation is necessary to prevent mold). It would not work well if we heated with natural gas or propane as these produce moisture as they burn. It would also not work well if you live in a very humid area. Here in Oklahoma the humidity is fairly low during late summer on into fall before the fall rains start. This is the time when most of the vegetables are coming out of the garden so this works pretty well for us.
You can dry vegetables this way or you can place them on racks near any source of dry heat as long as you remember it is not the heat you are after it is the dry warm air and do not allow your food to get too hot.
This old, time proven, method has the advantage of being almost cost free. All you need is some strong cord, or racks, and the time to turn your vegetable slices frequently to promote even drying.
Today you can buy many different types of food dehydrators that are powered by electricity and they make the job simple and easy. They do not rely on the sun for warm dry air. They produce their own. They have the advantage of working equally well at any time of the year and many have timers so you don’t even have to watch them. They make it much easier and safer to dry meat (jerky) as they have the advantage of controlled heat and air circulation.
Dehydrating food is still one of the safest, easiest, and most cost efficient ways to preserve food even if you choose to buy a food dehydrator. These foods are easy to prepare by soaking or boiling in water and cooking as you normally would or many such as banana chips or dried apples can be eaten without rehydrating.
If you are considering buying a food dehydrator, here is a selection from a company you can trust;