Food dehydration is gaining renewed interest as a method of preserving food. It offers:
Drying time depends on the:
Oven drying takes about 8 hours or more. Oven temperatures should never be increased in order to dry foods faster. The food will cook instead, becoming hard on the outside but still moist on the inside. Such a food is not completely dried and is susceptible to mold.
To determine the dryness of a food being dried, look, feel, and taste the food. There should be no visible signs of moisture. A dark, wet inner appearance indicates more drying time is needed. Use the following doneness test:
Store dried foods in clean, dry, insect proof containers as tightly as possible, such as:
Keep in a dry, cool, dark place around 60°F. Higher storage temperatures shorten storage life. Some dried foods can be frozen to lengthen storage time to a year or more. Refrigeration lengthens storage time to several months or more.
Check dried foods periodically during storage to make sure they remain completely dry. Moldy foods should be discarded.
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