Food safety is the last point in favor of drying over canning. Although dried food can go bad, there's no hidden killer like botulism
Posted October 10,2019 in Other.
As our regular readers have probably discovered, I'm a big fan of freezing. About 95% of our vegetables for the year come from the garden, and the ones that aren't fresh plucked or stored on the shelf mostly go in the freezer. Yes, freezers use electricity, but they also preserve the flavor and nutrients in vegetables better than any other method of storing food, and I put taste first. So why am I interested in drying?
Although vegetables taste better frozen, I've started to realize that most fruits taste better dried. In addition, nutritional values of dried foods tend to be on a par with frozen foods since the produce loses only some of its vitamin A and C in the process, but maintains all other nutrients. Drying has other advantages too, providing backup food that doesn't depend on electricity and that takes up only a very small amount of space.
You can dry food with only a bare minimum of equipment, but the author of How to Dry Foods makes it clear that you'll end up with more nutritious, flavorful food if you buy a dehydrator. That said, once you've bought the basic equipment, even electric dehydrating costs very little cash compared to the price of buying canning jar lids every year, boiling your hot water bath canner for an hour, or running another freezer.
Food safety is the last point in favor of drying over canning. Although dried food can go bad, there's no hidden killer like botulism --- you'll be able to smell or see mold growing on your food and can just toss it.
As long as you choose the foods that taste best dried (more on that in a later post), the only real disadvantage with drying is preparation time. There's a lot of work involved in slicing up foods to an even thickness and laying them carefully on the tray, and if you don't buy a top of the line dehydrator, you'll end up spending yet more time turning trays around to dry the food evenly and removing pieces that dried faster. That said, I'm a huge fan of fruit leathers, which take only barely more time to prepare than applesauce. If you like the taste of fresh fruit, it's worth trying out drying.
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