Drying is the oldest method of preserving food.
For a weekend of camping, you will find these recipes interesting to try.
Drying is the oldest method of preserving food. The early American settlers
dried foods such as corn, apple slices, currants, grapes, and meat. Compared
with other methods, drying is quite simple. In fact, you may already have
most of the equipment on hand. Dried foods keep well because the moisture
content is so low that spoilage organisms cannot grow.
Drying will never replace canning and freezing because these methods
do a better job of retaining the taste, appearance, and nutritive value
of fresh food. But drying is an excellent way to preserve foods that can
add variety to meals and provide delicious, nutritious snacks. One of the
biggest advantages of dried foods is that they take much less storage space
than canned or frozen foods. For a weekend of camping, you will find these recipes interesting to try.
TYPES OF FOOD TO DRY
Many kinds of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, meat, and fish can be
dried. If you have never tried drying food before, though, it's a good idea
to experiment first by drying a small quantity in the oven. This way you
can see if you like the taste and texture of dried food. At the same time,
you can become familiar with the drying process.
Fruits are easier to dry than vegetables because moisture evaporates
wore easily, and not as much moisture must be removed for the product to
keep. Ripe apples, berries, cherries, peaches, apricots, and pears are practical
to dry. Dried fruit is superb! Try it
plain, as fruit leather, or in ice cream, cobblers and pies. It’s hard
to imagine a better tasting, more nutritious snack than dried fruit.
Dried fruit is naturally sweet, has no preservatives, and is
inexpensive. The dehydrators offered at Harvest Essentials make drying
fruit easy. Most fruits just need
halving, coring or pitting, and slicing. Some fruits, such as apples,
pears, peaches apricots and bananas tend to darken somewhat with
drying, or storage beyond six to seven months.
To prevent this,
fruit pieces may be dipped in solutions of lemon juice, pineapple
juice, orange juice, sodium bisulfite, or ascorbic acid prior to
dehydration. Dip the fruit in the solution for two minutes. Drain on
paper towels and place in drying trays.
Vegetables practical to dry include peas, corn, peppers,
zucchini, okra, onions, and green beans. Produce from the supermarket is
usually more expensive and not as fresh as it should be for drying. It is
a waste of time and energy to dry vegetables such as carrots that can be
kept for several months in a cool, dry basement or cellar. Dried vegetables are every
bit as versatile as fruits. With them, you can make delicious soups,
stews, souffles, casseroles, and much more. Wash vegetables in cold
water before processing. A certain amount of coring, slicing, peeling
or shredding is required. Pretreatment procedures for vegetables vary
from none at all to steam or water blanching.Most vegetables will need to
be steamed or blanched before drying. This inactivates the enzyme which
caused ripening and would continue to bring about changes in flavor and
odor. Although untreated vegetables used within three to four months
will have acceptable flavor, heat treated vegetables reconstitute much
more quickly, making it desirable to treat even those to be used on
next week’s camping trip.
Steaming is the better method of
treating. Place a single layer of chopped or sliced vegetables in a
colander or steam basket. Shredded vegetables can be 1/2 inch deep in
the colander or basket. Set vegetables in a pot above a small amount of
boiling water and cover. Water should not touch the vegetables. Begin
timing immediately. Refer to table for length of steaming. When ready
to remove, vegetables should be barely tender. Spread steamed
vegetables on trays and dehydrate.
Blanching is faster than
steaming, but many nutrients are lost in the blanching water. It is not
recommended for chopped or shredded vegetables, which would easily
overcook during blanching. To blanch sliced vegetables, drop the
prepared vegetable into a large pot of boiling water. Do not add more
than 1 cup food per quart of boiling water. Begin timing immediately.
For timing, follow standard freezing directions. Timing is
approximately one-third to one-half that of steaming, or until
vegetables are barely tender.
A few vegetables, such as onions,
garlic, peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms can be dried and reconstituted
successfully without heat treatment. In general, if vegetables must be
steamed or blanched for freezing, they must be treated for drying.
Fresh herbs of all types are suitable for drying. The parts of the plant
to dry vary, but leaves, seeds, or blossoms usually give the best results.
Lean meats such as beef, lamb, and venison can be dried for jerky. Fish
also is excellent when dried. Certain foods are not suitable for drying
because of their high moisture content. Lettuce, melons, and cucumbers are
a few foods that do not dry well. Meats, poultry, and fish dry
beautifully in dehydrators. The resulting products are lightweight and
high in protein, making them an ideal food for outdoor enthusiasts. The
dehydrator turns thin slices of beef, poultry, fish, or game meats into
hearty mid-afternoon snacks or food to use much like salami on pizza or
hash for main dishes. By taking advantage of fresh meat specials, these
dried products can be obtained for a fraction of the cost of
commercially prepared dried meats.
Cut meats across
the grain into thin strips about 1-inch wide and 1/4-inch thick. Trim
off all fat and connective tissues. For easier cutting, partially
freeze by placing meats on the bottom of the freezer for about 30
minutes. Turn and freeze 15 minutes longer. To prepare fish, filet,
then cut into 1-inch strips.
Take three parts soy sauce, 1 part brown sugar, 1 part liquid smoke and mix
together. Let this stand for five minutes and then add meat. Let marinade min. 3 hours or
overnite. Place on trays and make sure not to overlap.
Drying time varies depending upon amount of meat used.
Smoked Beef Jerky:
pounds lean beef, cut into 1/4" strips
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp hickory smoke flavoring
1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup catsup
1 tsp cracked pepper
all ingredients and soak meat strips in mixture. Keep refigerated for 6 to 12 hours,
stirring and turning meat occasionally in marinade. Once meat is marinated to desired
strength, drain off excess and dry according to directions for jerky.
Cup of Vegetable Soup:
cup dired vegetable flakes (any combination -- tomatoes, peas, onion, zucchini, celery,
carrots, corn, potatoes, etc.)
tbsp bulgur wheat
1 tbsp small pasta
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp dried basil
1 pinch garlic powder
1 pinch onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups boiling broth (chicken or beef)
dried vegetables in blender and whirl until they are the size of small peas. Put these and
other ingredients in thermos. Pour boiling broth and let sit.
Use boiling vegetable broth instead of water or meat broth.
Use low sodium instant boullion powder - to taste; rehydrate with boiling water.
Replace pasta with 'instant' rice or slightly cooked long grain rice.
Use ramen (spelling) noodles, discarding the high sodium 'flavor pack'.
Make this recipe in bulk and store in serving sized zip-lock bags. For quick lunch-to-go,
empty contents of bag in a thermos. Heat water/broth in a glass measuring cup in the
Blend one cup apple juice with one package of
frozen strawberries. Cover one of the racks with saran-wrap. Pour
mixture into rack and dehydrate. Soon you'll
have home made fruit roll ups.
Creamed Corn Soup:
1 cup dried corn
4 cups boiling water
1/2 cup milk
2 t sugar
1 T flour
1 T margarine
Salt and pepper to taste
Add corn to water and let stand for 50 min. Simmer corn until
tender.This may take about an hour. Drain and add all ingredients.
Simmer all for about 5 min.
cups dried mushrooms
2 cups hot beef bouillon
4 cups milk
6 tbsp. flour
1/2 cup dried onions
1/4 cup margarine
1 tsp. salt
parsley for garnish
mushrooms and onions in margarine in a heavy saucepan for 5 minutes, stirring
occasionally. Combine bouillon, milk, slat, and flour. Blend until smooth. Add to saut?ed
mushrooms and onions. Cook over low heat until the mixture comes to a boil, stirring
constantly. Garnish with parsley. Makes about 8 servings.