Preserve Your Home Garden Harvest – Dry Your Fruits And Vegetables

Source document: Colorado State University – Drying Vegetables
Looking at the chart below you can see drying vegetables not only preserves your harvest but it also reduces it’s bulk by a factor of about 10-12 to 1. This really means that 10-12 pounds of fresh vegetables, when dry will weigh only 1 pound. Dry foods looses little of it’s nutritional value. It can be stored for years if properly handled and stored. Your food will not go bad in the event of a long term power outage or if your home is flooded.

Colorado State University said

Nutritional Value of Dried Foods
Drying, like all methods of preservation, can result in loss of some nutrients. Nutritional changes that occur during drying include:
• Calorie content: does not change, but is concentrated into a smaller mass as moisture is removed.
• Fiber: no change.
• Vitamin A: fairly well retained under controlled heat methods.
• Vitamin C: mostly destroyed during blanching and drying of vegetables.
• Thiamin, riboflavin, niacin: some loss during blanching but fairly good retention if the water used to rehydrate also is consumed.
• Minerals: some may be lost during re-hydration if soaking water is not used when cooking your vegetables. Iron is not destroyed by drying.
For best retention of nutrients in dried foods, store in a cool, dark, dry place and use within a year.

Don’t let you or your family go without food in a days long power outage when frozen foods quickly spoil.
Dry foods are great way to eat during hiking or camping out adventures.

There are many counter top dehydrators, ranging in price from about $50.00 dollars to those that only the rich and famous can afford.

An internet search for DIY solar dehydrators will find many dryers that are easy to build and use for a fraction of the cost of a electric powered counter top dehydrator.

Here is a site that is helpful in designing and building your first DIY solar dehydrator Solar Food Dehydrator (Dryer)
**Hint: Build your solar dehydrator the size that best fits the materials you have on hand. I had a window and a screen salvaged from an old storm door, So I constructed my dehydrator to fit the window and screen I had salvaged.

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4 responses to “Preserve Your Home Garden Harvest – Dry Your Fruits And Vegetables

  1. Over the years, we have been aiming to reduce eating out of season foods that have to travel across continents to our table. We love our salads year-round, but “bullet-proof-tomatoes”, as a friend calls them, in winter worries our ethics and were not worth eating. Last year, we tried putting dried fruit on salads (yes, we still have the lettuce in February dilemma). We happened to have dried apricots and cherries last summer. Delicious. While our stone fruits were lost in an April freeze this year, we have been picking up cherries, plums, apricots from the local farmer’s market and running our dehydrator each weekend. It helps that our heatwave corresponded with this. We will get around to building a solar cooker one of these days. Great ideas.
    Oscar

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  2. I had to ‘resort’ to drying my tomatoes last summer when I ran out of jars to can my garden haul! They made a great addition to pasta dishes and casseroles over the winter. Drying tomatoes really intensifies their flavor, just 1 or 2 ground up in a pesto add an extra wonderful layer of flavor. Run out of tomato paste? Dried tomatoes are a fabulous substitution.

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    • Re: homeandgardenwelcome – Thanks for finding time to visit my Tiny Blog.
      Drying vegetables is a great way to preserve your garden excess. If you use a solar dryer, drying is free and takes little if any more time than an electric dehydrator. Requires no cooing time or a water bath or pressure cooker. Most vegetables are reduced in weight by a factor of 10:1.

      Thanks for your visit
      Happy Canning and drying of your home garden harvest

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  3. Good post. I think I’ll ask Santa for a food dehydrator this year. Have a splendid Monday!

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