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Imagine this: an emergency or disastrous event takes place that forces the entire world to shut down completely. However, humans are still alive. There is a continuous life-threat outside the security of the walls of your home. There are no doctors, no hospitals open, no food supply, gas and electricity are shut off, and you and your family are stuck in a place with absolutely no help at all. Nobody has even the slightest clue as to how long this confusing situation will last.
In such an event, everything else can be managed. You’ll find a way to sleep without a comfy pillow and live in dirty clothes, but you won’t be able to live without food. With that in mind, dehydrated food is part of the emergency food basics that you should have.
Dehydrated food is easy and can be used to create tasty, healthy meals year-round. Not sure how to dehydrate food for long term survival? We’ve got you covered.
The key to dehydrating food for long term storage is to remove any moisture from the food so mold, bacterial growth, and yeast can’t thrive. Dehydration should also be carried out to ensure that the food's nutritional content is preserved. This enhances its longevity as well.
Estimates show that dehydrating food items results in nutritional and freshness loss of only three to five percent as opposed to a sixty to eighty percent loss due to canning. Alongside this, essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals are not lost or altered in the drying process.
This includes vitamin A and C, carbs, fiber, selenium, potassium, magnesium, and sodium. The result? You get nutrient-packed food that can be stored long-term.
Dehydrating food for long-term storage is not something most people think of, but it should be because it can result in shelf-stable food that lasts for 25 to 30 years.
If you’re wondering about how to dehydrate food for long term storage, the first step is the equipment you will need.
You need to first invest in a long term dehydrator with solid trays that slide in and out. While nestled slotted trays are also a good option, stackable switchable trays are the most convenient.
Dry your food using a dehydrator with an adjustable thermostat for optimal results.
Some meats tend to take a little more time to dry at higher temps to enable long-term storage. Meat can be a little tricky, and the temperature should be stable and in the right range.
The dehydrator should have an airflow technology that evenly distributes heat to prevent extreme dryness outside and moisture retention inside. The basic dehydrators on the market eliminate moisture, while advanced models come with an auto shut off, fans, and digital timers. They also have a lot of room for drying space.
When it boils down to how to dehydrate food for long-term storage, many issues can be avoided by selecting the right things. Certain foods may sound like a delicious treat during a disaster, but they won’t last very long or dehydrate easily.
Here’s a list of tasty food items that you can dehydrate for long term storage:
Dehydrated fruits and veggies are pretty much the best dehydrated foods. They work for vegans too! The process to dehydrate fresh fruits is to pick them when they are very ripe. Wash the fruit properly and cut them into thick slices. It’s much easier to dehydrate thinner pieces rather than whole fruits and thick slices. Some small-sized fruits can sometimes be dehydrated whole if they are not too dense.
Keep in mind that this process does lead to a little bit of fruit discoloration. Although this doesn’t mean that the fruits aren’t safe to consume, some picky eaters tend to get bothered by this. To prevent this issue, you can use ascorbic acid. Simply soak your slices in this acid before dehydrating them, and voila! No discoloration.
Veggies work pretty much the same as fruits. However, the main difference is that the quantity of acid is lesser than vegetables, so they tend to dry up much more quickly than fruits. To dehydrate, start by picking ripe veggies and washing them well. Then, cut the vegetable into thin slices just like with fruits. After that, you will have to blanch your veggies.
The process to do this is simple: boil the vegetable slices, followed by instantly putting them in ice-cold water once they are boiled. This is crucial so that the flavor and nutrients in the veggies remain preserved. After that, dehydrate them just like the fruits.
The recommended fruits and veggies to dehydrate for long-term storage include:
When you’re thinking of how to dehydrate food items for long-term storage, you can’t ignore your protein supply. Without meat, you will have a really tough time surviving, because proteins are the main source of energy. Always stick with lean meats because fatty meats are not easy to dehydrate because of the fat content.
If you are using fresh meat, you will have to treat it in order to kill any harmful bacteria that may be present. After that, throw it into the freezer and freeze it for a few days. Once it's fully cold, cutting the meat into thin slices will be much easier.
Beef is the easiest meat to dehydrate. Make sure you cut the meat against the direction of the grains. Also, never cut a slice that is thicker than a quarter inch.
The process of dehydrating food for long-term storage is pretty simple. The only challenging thing is to get the timing right. If your food slices aren’t extremely thin or too thick, the suggested time will do the work.
Since dehydration needs to be done on really slow heat to prevent the loss of nutrients, it's a long process. For this reason, dehydrators with timers tend to work best.
When it comes to fruits, apples will take around six to eight hours to properly dehydrate. On the other hand, bananas can take up to ten hours, while berries need more than twelve hours for dehydration. Some veggies will be good to go in a couple of hours, but others will need up to sixteen hours.
Airtight containers are vital for the long-term storage of dehydrated food. Among some of the handiest options are sealable buckets, cans, and plastic or metal containers that come with a seal. It is crucial that the container you pick is airtight. Otherwise, the oxygen will cause the food to oxidize, minimize the shelf life of the food, vitamin content, and lower the nutritional value.
Using a dehydrator is an excellent way to boost your long-term survival food storage. We recommend using a mix of food items like fresh fruits and veggies because they are loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals to keep you feeling at your best during this stressful time. In order to rehydrate the food to eat it, you’ll also need to have a fresh water supply on hand, which Stealth Angel can help with.