Thursday, October 4, 2012

Why Are You Dehydrating?


I think we need a bit of a discussion.  Many people in this group use freezers and do quite a bit of canning and freezing.  Most of us have been raised with these relatively new methods of food preservation.  We tend to stick to what is familiar. For most of us, dehydrating foods is not familiar.

It’s hard to imagine storing food that doesn’t spoil without electricity or canning. Dehydrated food looks strange to us, and we don’t treat it the same way we do when we are using canned or frozen food. The convenience of opening a container and plopping it into a pot and having it ready in a matter of minutes just isn’t there.

Canning was invented by a Frenchman, Nichols Appert in 1809.  He won a prize when he invented a method of providing better food for Napoleon’s Army.
Although ancient people and those in the coldest regions of the world can preserve food by freezing, it did not become practical for most of the world until the advent of electricity and the invention of electric freezers.

Now, why do you choose dehydrating foods over freezing and canning? 

  • Some people will do it for the novelty.  Electric dehydrators provide a new twist to a food preservation method that has been documented at least before 1,200 years.


  • Some people do it because it is the most economical method of food preservation.  Once your food it preserved, it does not require any additional expenses to keep it stored.

  • Some people do it because the shelf life is so great.  Most dehydrated foods will keep at least ten to twenty years.


  • Some people do it because it is the most reliable form of food preservation.  You don’t need to worry about thousands of dollars worth of food spoiling if the electricity or your freezer fails.

  • Some people do it because it is lightweight. That makes it perfect for camping and traveling.

  • Some people do it because it causes the least nutritional damage than any other form of food preservation.

  • Some people do it for health reasons. They want to avoid unwanted chemicals and additives in their food.

  • Some people do it because it requires very little storage space.


  • Some people do it because it is an ideal method to set aside stores of food for the unexpected emergency. That may range from some major natural disaster (long-lasting drought) to political upheaval (wars & riots) to economic collapse.




  1. Another reason is that my dehydrator takes less of my time to set up. It may take hours to dry, but only a few minutes to slice something and turn on the machine. Canning or even freezing might take a lot longer.

  2. I can, freeze and dehydrate. Some food stuff I like better one way or another. Or I'll dehydrate foods when I have too much to can or freeze. Or in the case of eggplant, it's about the best way to preserve it. I like have all my options available.

    1. I don't eat much eggplant. Never had it as a child. Tell me more about how you dehydrate and use it, please.

      It's great when you have the option of several food storage methods. I used to do a lot of canning and freezing years ago. But today my life has changed. All I have is a tiny freezer over the fridge. Live in a rental trailer with very little cabinet space, so canning is pretty much out, too.

  3. I haven't begun to dehydrate yet, however I am waiting on my dehydrator (it's supposed to be a gift my mother wanted to give me for my less than a month). I plan to dehydrate for most of the reasons listed above, but also because of my location. Living where hurricanes can easily rage through leaving you without power from hours to pays to be smart about food storage. I can easily store from days to months worth of dehydrated meals and transport them with us if we need to evacuate. I am using the hurricane as an example but it goes for any other situation where I need to get my family out of dodge quickly...we need to eat and a months worth of canned goods takes up quite a bit of space in the back of my car. Whereas one meal of dehydrated potatoes,hamburger rocks and dried peas with some spices tossed in will easily fit into a quart sized ziplock before rehydrating. Makes sense to me.

    1. Mechelle, you're a smart gal! Sometimes I feel like I'm batting my head against the wall about this. People just don't seem to understand that no matter where you live, there is always the possibility that you may need to evacuate your home. (20 years in Florida). YOu got it, Girl! Look over some of my newer posts on dehydrating casserols and one dish meals. Put toghethr meals with just enough for one meal for everyone in your family. Include a label with instructions on how to use it. That way you don't even have to refrigerate leftovers.

    2. I love eggplant but I also only began eating it last summer. Here is my favorite way to eat it. Very easy and you can easily convert it to using dehydrated foods. Turn oven on to 400 degrees. Spray casserole dish with Pam. Cube eggplant. I peel mine....either way is fine. Put egplant in dish. Cover with spaghetti sauce. Bake until eggplant can be pieced with fork. Sprinkle on parmeson cheese. Top with seasoned bread crumbs. Return to oven until browned. I have also used other cheeses. I love this dish. Hope you try it.