A very old method of preserving seasonal foods is to dehydrate fruit and vegetables. The farmers are experts in the use of these homemade techniques. In times of abundance of products, dehydration allows them to be available when they are no longer fresh.
Food alterations and decomposition are produced by the action of microorganisms and chemical and enzymatic reactions that occur in the presence of moisture. By removing that moisture, the problem is eliminated.
The technique of dehydrate fruit and vegetables consists of eliminating the water that the products naturally contain. In this way, the factor of deterioration and putrefaction, which is humidity, is eliminated.
No humidity, microorganisms that break down products do not work and processed fruit or vegetables last until needed. When it is time to consume it, it is rehydrated by keeping it in water for a while and it is ready to consume.
Some homemade techniques to dehydrate fruit and vegetables
There are many dehydrated products that are sold in supermarkets that can be produced at home at a much lower cost with some of the homemade techniques. The idea is buy the products at those times when they are sold fresh and abundant and cheap. They are dehydrated, packaged and ready.
- Dehydrate fruit and vegetables with the sun
It is a very simple and old dehydration technique. The product is placed directly in the sun on a mesh or grid or hung from a rope. The sun and air remove moisture. In rural homes it is very common to use this technique to dehydrate tomatoes, peaches, pears, leafy vegetables.
It is also possible to use solar energy to dehydrate fruit and vegetables in solar ovens and dehydrators. The solar oven and dehydrator do not use electricity and are faster than direct drying in the sun. In addition, the products are protected from birds and insects.
- Dehydrate fruits and vegetables with other sources of energy
The electric or gas oven, the same one used for cooking, is a good tool for dehydrating fruit and vegetables. The temperature must be kept below 50º C, put the products on a plate and turn them every half hour. The process is long, it takes about 4 or 5 hours, but it is effective, practical and simple. You can even use the microwave.
Electric dehydrators are sold on the market specially designed for this function. They have trays in which the products are placed. They generally include a timer, so once the process starts, you don’t need control.