Try it - Dry it!

chrysolite By chrysolite, 20th Apr 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1a_r.i1p/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Recipes>Other

Dried foods bought in a shop these days are very expensive. Why not make your own? It's easy to do, stores well, ideal for people on the go. Climbers and walkers can easily add their "energy food" into their rucksack and the housewife will always have a healthy snack ready for unexpected guests. Dried nuts and raisins are also the ideal "brain food" for students and people working in offices.

Why dry food?

In the olden days drying food for the winter or bad weather was simply a necessity. Nowadays, we can dry food to produce a "special new flavour" or we can take whatever nature produces "too much" or supermarkets sell off real cheap and convert it into delicious dried food which can be used as is or soaked again later to be added to our favourite recipes. Drying food is also a lot cheaper as method of preservation and it's not cooked and no sugar, salt or vinegar needs to be added.

Food can be dried in the sun or in a special food dryer or in an oven on lowest setting with the door slightly open.

What is needed to dry food?

  • Any food that isn't spoilt
  • A tray with a mesh to put the food on
  • A muslin cloth to cover the food and prevent dust settling on it
  • Sun/wind or an electric food dryer or an oven
  • A food mixer or blender if you want to dry mashed food or eggs
  • Various storage containers with labels and a pen
  • Cutting board and selection of knives
  • A bowl with water and lemon juice (optional)

General instruction on how to dry food:

  • Start with small quantities first.
  • Food drying is so easy, but too much of dried food can be a waste of time and resources.
  • The thinner the food slices the faster they dry, so peel (if necessary) and cut up all food as thinly as possible.
  • To prevent the food from oxidising, i.e. getting brown or grey when cut up, place the slices into a bowl of water with lemon for a few seconds.
  • Always label the storage jars as after a while you might not recognise or remember what's in them!

My favourite recipe no. 1 - dried banana:

Bananas often go black on the skin outside, but inside they are perfectly ok and it is those that I can often get for free. I really have to restrain myself from jumping with joy if I can get hold of even a whole box of them, because I know how easy they are to dry and how delicious they are:

Simply peel the bananas, slice them lengthwise, dip them into the lemon water if you like, but it's not really necessary, place them neatly one half next to the other so they don't touch each other. Cover with muslin cloth. If drying in the sun, wait 2 or 3 days and they are ready.

I never need a storage jar for them, because we usually eat them as soon as they are ready. They irresistable!!!

My favourite recipe no. 2 - dried apples:

Sometimes, I just cut up 2 or 3 apples and dry them because they taste so nice - again, no storage jar necessary! Peel and core the apples, slice thinly and place into a bowl of water with lemon for a few seconds. Then put on tray so that pieces don't touch each other. Cover with muslin cloth. Drying them in the sun might take a few days, food dryers and ovens do it within a few hours.

My favourite recipe no. 3 - mashed berries:

If my garden produces too many berries for fresh consumption, I mash up the berries, add a little bit of honey and distribute the mash thinly on a tray lined with baking foil or aluminium foil. After the mash is dry, one can break it into smaller bits and store in a jar (don't forget to label!).

My favourite recipe no. 4 - dried eggs:

Useful for this rainy day when my chickens are not laying: Take a few eggs, crack them open and put the yolk and eggwhite into a mixing bowl (yolks and eggwhites can also be dried seperately with this method) and whisk for a few minutes. Pour this "batter" in a very thin layer onto a baking or aluminium foil and when dry, it can be stored after cracking into smaller pieces or grinding it into powder.

My favourite recipe no. 5 - dried beef slices:

Beef can be dried rapidly if sliced almost paper thin. Sprinkle on a bit of salt, cayenne or other spices and dry either laying the pieces out in a tray or hanging them up on a thin "washing" line. Dried beef can be chewed as is or used in small pieces to add to any soup to give it more flavour.

My favourite recipe no. 6 - linseed crackers:

Buy ground linseed "flour" in a healthfood shop, add tomatoe puree and a bit of salt and oregano and spread thinly on aluminium foil. Dry for a few hours and enjoy!

Also try drying tomatoe halves and apricot halves, they are simply super delicious!

Enjoy!

And if you have any favourite dry food recipes, I would be glad if you left me a comment in the comment box below, or sign up free with Wikinut.com and write an article about it. I'm sure I won't be the only one who will read and appreciate your recipes.

Thanks for calling in!

Tags

Crackers, Dehydrating, Drying, Eggs, Fish, Flowers, Food, Fruits, Grains, Herbs, Meat, Nuts, Seeds, Spices, Vegetables

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author avatar chrysolite
From writing to blogging it's only a small step:

http://whatdoesaremotewriterdo.blogspot.com

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