Drying is a method of food preservation in which food is dried (dehydrated). Drying inhibits the growth of bacteria, yeasts, and mold through the removal of water (Wikipedia, nd).
Difficulty to learn: Medium/Hard
Some Thoughts For You:
Drying foods is a great way to make them last longer, and keep them from getting gross during long trips. However, correctly drying your own food takes a bit of skill, as well as the necessary setup. For the best drying results, it is wise to invest in an electric dehydrator. Otherwise, some recipes do allow for the drying to be completed in the oven.
Typical foods that are dried include apricots, apples, bananas, strawberries, and pineapple. Dried foods are an awesome way to stay healthy, while avoiding continually buying new perishables.
What You Will Need:
Drying foods is a finicky process. The items listed below are aimed for drying something like apple slices, but generally apply for drying most foods.
- Fresh apples, with no browning visible
- Lemon juice (to prevent browning)
- A way to dry your apples. The most recommended method is an electric dehydrator. If you do not have access to this, an oven will work.
- A small bowl
- A baking sheet (if you are using the oven)
- A cutting board
- A sharp knife
Again, these steps are for apples, but at the end of this page are some links for extra help!
- Wash those apples. Get them nice and clean.
- Cut out the core of the apple. You can use a coring device if you own one, but if not you have to do this by hand. Be careful, and watch your fingers!
- Cut your apple into thin slices. Thin slices allow for the drying process to be done properly.
- Put your lemon juice in the bowl. Then, dip your apple slices in the lemon juice. This counteracts typical browning of the apples.
- You can now add some flavoring if you want! Cinnamon is recommended.
- Now, set your dehydrator to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. You will need to arrange your apple slices so they are evenly spaced. Leave them for 12-24 hours, checking in on them as needed.
- If you are using an oven, set it to around 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange the apple slices on your baking sheet, and space them evenly. Cook them for an hour, then flip each one and cook for another hour. After each side has cooked, open your oven door and turn the oven off. Leave the slices in the oven, and wait for the oven to completely cool off.
- The slices should be rubbery and bendable after proper drying. Enjoy!
Tips For You:
- Drying foods can be a complicated process, so don’t get discouraged if your first batch doesn’t come out as expected! Always give it another shot.
Some Links To Help With Preparation: