Drying (dehydrating) food is one of the oldest and easiest methods of food preservation. Dehydration is the process of removing water or moisture from a food product. Removing moisture from foods makes them smaller and lighter. Dehydrated foods are ideal for backpacking, hiking, and camping because they weigh much less than their non-dried counterparts and do not require refrigeration. Drying food is also a way of preserving seasonal foods for later use. It’s important to use approved techniques for drying food, however, to ensure the food is safe and stays properly preserved.
Three things are needed to successfully dry food at home:
• Heat – hot enough to force out moisture (140°F), but not hot enough to cook the food
• Dry air – to absorb the released moisture
• Air movement – to carry the moisture away