Dried or dehydrated vegetables are becoming increasingly popular. This is because of the numerous advantages associated with it. Vegetables are important part of daily diet for any one who wants to stay healthy.
Some of the advantages of dehydrated vegetables include:
They are lightweight.
They are by far less bulky.
They are easy to cook. As a result they are beneficial in camp situations.
Dehydrated vegetables are also beneficial in other situations where food is needed urgently.
Quality . saves plenty time when cooking. This is because they are already cut and ready to use.
Premium . are as good as the fresh ones. This is because most of the nutrients present in the fresh ones are retained. The color change is minimal. The shelf life is optimal.
What are dehydrated vegetables?
Dehydrated vegetables are vegetables that have been made to dry under a slow and low temperature air drying process. They may also be referred to as dried vegetables.
Premium dried vegetables will retain most of its original nutrients and color. The flavor is also well retained and even improved as a result of being more concentrated.
Dried vegetables may be obtained by means of air drying or freeze drying.
Air dried vegetables
With this method, dehydrated vegetables are obtained by passing warm air over the vegetables. The warm air causes the vegetables to lose water through evaporation. This is basically what the dehydrator does.
Air dried vegetables are usually cheaper than the freeze dried vegetables. This is because the process of air drying is cheaper than that of freeze drying.
Freeze dried vegetables
Freeze dried vegetables are obtained by causing water vapor to leave from the vegetables. The vegetables, which are placed in a refrigerated vacuum, are not allowed to thaw before the dehydration.
This process, when compared to air drying is costlier. But the vegetables dried by this means are superior to those that are air dried.
Their nutritional value compares favorably with the fresh one. The color and flavor of the vegetables are nearer the fresh vegetable’s color. The flavor is much more enhanced than in the case of air drying.
Benefits of dehydrated vegetables
Longer shelf life: well dried vegetables have a shelf life that can last for more than a year. The shelf life can be more if it is well protected from moisture.
The long shelf life makes them well suited as part of the things that can be included for emergency preparedness.
Better preservation: when compared with canning or freezing vegetables, dehydrated vegetables are better in retaining more of their nutritional values than in freezing or canning.
Healthy snacks: premium dried vegetables are healthy to be consumed as snacks. They are ready to eat snacks. This makes them invaluable for campers, backpackers, and the individuals on the go.
Availability: It makes a wide range of vegetables available at all seasons. Most vegetables are seasonal.
To enjoy such vegetables all year round would only be possible if there is a means of preserving effectively. Dehydrating vegetables provide this desired means.
Storage: Dehydrated vegetables become smaller in physical size.
This makes it much more convenient to store. It can be easily carried about when needed.
This convenience makes it easy for use in camping, backpacking and other places where many items are competing for small packing space.
Quick and easy meals: Dried vegetables make available quick and easy meals at the home. This is partly so because the vegetable is ready for use. There will be no need for cutting or other form of processing.
Healthy diet: Dried vegetables are much easier to use and handy. As a result their use is likely to be more. Because they are rich in minerals, this tends to improve the overall well being of an individual. It is an important healthy diet needs of individuals and families.
Emergency preparedness: Most disasters do not give warning. Having dried vegetables as part of emergency preparedness plan is a wise option.
Qualities of premium dried vegetables
Well dried vegetables quickly re-hydrate easily.
They should not contain any additives. Examples of additives include preservatives, anti oxidants, or gluten
The nutritional value of the vegetable is retained. The flavor, aroma, color and shape are also retained.
It is not under dried. It is also not over dried.
Their shelf life is in multiples of that of the fresh ones.
Uses of dehydrated vegetables
Dried vegetables can be added directly to one’s favorite recipe. Such recipes include soups, stews, sauces, omelets, and in fact, any imaginable recipe.
Dried vegetables are light and of far lesser volume. They taste great. They are easy to cook. As a result of these qualities and more, they are very useful. They are useful in backpacking food, survival food, camping program food.
Premium dried vegetables can constitute healthy snacks for the individual on the go. Examples of such vegetables include carrots; potatoes and broccoli. Others are whole sweet corn, green sweet peas and a lot more.
Producing your dehydrated vegetables
Producing your own dried vegetables is easy. It is also healthier.
It is healthier because you have full control over what you choose to add or otherwise.
Producing your own dehydrated or dried vegetables starts with buying a good dehydrator. Check out our dehydrator buying guide.
Some commercial producers sometimes will compromise with additives. Additives will make the output of the dehydrated vegetables look great. It will equally make it to preserve longer. Some additives may also be added to improve taste.
Food dehydrators have made the process of producing dehydrated vegetables easier. In a nut shell, all you need to do is:
Select some fresh and healthy vegetables,
Wash them well and slice them uniformly,
You may choose to pre treat the vegetables with anti oxidants (optional)
Or add flavors (optional)
Spread them evenly on the dehydrator trays,
Load the trays into the dehydrator,
Turn the dehydrator on and set the temperature to 135 degrees Fahrenheit or 57 degrees Celsius,
Set the timer,
Turn the vegetable once in a while,
Turn the trays half way through drying (depending on the type of dehydrator),
And watch out for dryness!
Allow to cool and then package.
Full details on how to dehydrate vegetable is given on dehydrating vegetable.
Storage of dehydrated vegetables
Dried vegetables can stay preserved for a long while. This depends on how it is dehydrated, packaged and stored.
For a storage period that is less than six months, well dehydrated and packaged vegetables will not require freezing in other to be preserved. However, it will still be an added advantage if it is placed in the freezer pending when it will be needed.
Vacuum sealed vegetables will stay well preserved for a long time. When stored in a freezer, the vegetables can stay preserved for years. However, it may not be the best of practice to prolong their storage unduly.
For short duration storage, packing the vegetables in zip style bags will be okay. Glass jars with tight lid will serve equally well.
Re-hydrating dried vegetables
The ability of dried vegetables to hydrate well is very important. The ability to re-hydrate well makes them more acceptable.
Most freeze dried vegetables will re-hydrate within 5 – 10 minutes simply by soaking them in water.
For air dried vegetables, they will re-hydrate well by simmering in water for between 10 and 20 minutes.
Well . have a lot of health and economic benefits. They are important part of healthy family diets.
They can be easily dehydrated at home. The vegetables dehydrated at home are cheaper. They are healthier. A varieties of . are available online for easy purchase. You may wish to check out on these . now.
It is time now to choose a vegetabe of your choice for dehydration.