What is Solar Food Dehydration?

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Raisins are undoubtedly the most common examples of dehydrated food sold and consumed around the world. Other common popular dried fruits are figs, dates, prunes, apricots, bananas, papaya, mango and the crispy, savory banana chips. Even though these foods change appearance in their texture and in some cases color after dehydrating, they remain very flavorful and retain their nutritional value. The most significant change is in size and weight resulting from the removal of water from the food through the application of dry heat in the dehydration process.

In addition to the food weighing less and taking up less space, it has a much longer storage life without the need for special packaging, canning or refrigeration. For these reasons the cost of the dehydration process is offset by the savings derived from not needing to refrigerate or package the food.   Thus dehydrated food is ideal for camping, hiking and backpacking; it is light, compact and lasts for extended periods of time without a cooler.

It is a fact that through dehydration food can lose as much as 90 percent of its body weight in water. With this in mind ask yourself, what is the difference in cost between fresh fruit and dehydrated? The cost is definitely not 90 percent more for dried fruit. Not only do dehydrated fruits and vegetables retain most of their vitamins and minerals, they can be reconstituted with water without losing their appeal or flavor.

In exchange for less weight, volume and bulk, your meal takes a little longer to prepare from the dried state; however, on the economical side, you only cook what you need and save the rest for another meal — something you cannot do with fresh, frozen or canned foods.

Keep in mind that dehydrated foods have a different taste or flavor just like fresh foods, organic foods, cooked foods, and canned foods all have different flavors. That does not make it bad, just different, and these differences change and vary from food to food and with the varying methods of reconstitution. Take an apricot for an example. A dehydrated or dried apricot has a more intense or concentrated flavor than a fresh apricot does, as do dried bananas and other tropical fruits. These subtleties are no different than having the same food prepared by different chefs, with each using different or varying amounts of spices or cooking techniques.

Dehydrated food is the perfect food for survival and preparedness. Since many dried foods, such as rice, beans, pasta, grain and multi-grain cereals, vegetables, meats etc., need to be cooked, another important survival item is a camp stove or cooking grill. However, both of these require fuel and fuel needs to be stored and fuel is exhaustible.

One fuel that does not run out is solar energy. During a natural or manmade disaster there is a common response by most people to do whatever it takes at the moment to survive, especially if they have made no attempt to prepare for the unexpected event. The results are a combination of panic and hoarding, resulting in a run on grocery stores for food and water and on hardware and department stores for survival supplies, kerosene, propane, flashlights, batteries etc. In no time, the inventory is spent and the panic becomes pandemonium.

Do not allow yourself to be in this situation; prepare ahead of time by storing a sufficient supply of food and water now. Keep in mind that one of the first things to become unavailable during a disaster is utilities, resulting in the spoiling of your refrigerated and frozen food. In most cases, this food makes up the bulk of many American families’ food supply, leaving a few canned goods, baking supplies and junk food in the pantry.

Dehydrated foods do not need refrigeration and last for months. Rice beans and pasta will last even longer, with only one drawback:  much of this food needs to be cooked, and with no utilities how will you do that?

Solar ovens reach cooking and baking temperatures of 300-375 degrees F. in a matter of minutes after being lined up with the sun. A solar sun oven will cook or bake anything a conventional oven will and in the same amount of time, the only difference being that it uses inexhaustible solar energy. Most food dehydrators or dryers operate on electricity, so consequently the dehydrated food produced costs extra to produce and during a disaster becomes another worthless appliance.

The solar sun oven will not only cook your food for free, with the aid of a solar oven dehydrator kit it will now efficiently dehydrate food that would otherwise spoil without refrigeration, saving it for future consumption.

Prepare today, store food, water and emergency supplies for tomorrow, for you know not what tomorrow may bring. Solar food dehydration makes good healthy, tasty common sense.

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