- Food and Cooking
Nesco American Harvest Dehydrator Product Review
Nesco American Harvest
Dehydrating food is nothing more than drying it. Food contains moisture and drying it inhibits the growth of bacteria (which needs moisture to grow) and microorganisms. This makes it safe to eat and can preserve the food indefinitely. A dehydrator is nothing more than a heater that efficiently circulates air through the fruits and vegetables until it is dry.
Drying foods is an ancient means of preserving it. Prehistoric people dried seeds and breads in the sun. North American Indians preserved meat by slicing it into strips and drying the pieces. Japanese people dried fish and rice while the Chinese dried eggs.
Why Dehydrate Food?
Dehydrating food is a perfect method to preserve fruits and vegetables. Properly dried edibles taste delicious. Drying herbs, fruits and vegetables from the garden is one of the best ways to conserve and preserve the dividends.
Removing the water from food has minimal effect on the nutritional value. Fruits will taste sweeter as the sugar is concentrated. Dried foods are lower in fat content and higher in fiber and carbohydrates. Minerals such as sodium, potassium and magnesium are not changed. Vitamin A is retained while some Vitamin C, an air soluble nutrient, is lost.
Save money by drying herbs.
Drying food is a great way to take advantage of seasonal foods, sales at the grocery store or your favorite items from your local farmer's market.
There are a wide variety of flowers that can be dried for consumption or crafting. Dried herbs and flowers make beautiful decorations for home made cakes or floral arrangements. If you make your own pasta the noodles can be dried in a food dehydrator. If you have chips or popcorn that has gone stale you can zap the moisture out and revive them in the dehydrator.
Don't know what to do with those left over hot dog and hamburger buns? Slice them into smaller pieces and dry them for bread crumbs. If the bread is stale - toss it in the dehydrator and use it for croutons. Slice bagels and make your own bagel chips.
There are numerous ways to use a food dehydrator to conserve food. Crop failures, economic crisis, blights and harsher temperatures cause the price of food to rise as the supply is in higher demand. Dehydrating food is a smart way to be more self sufficient. American's are finally coming to the conclusion that we may not always be rich and fat. In the event of a national disaster or local disasters such as tornadoes, storms, hurricanes, floods or an apocalypse - you might want to have a supply of food that won't expire.
Methods of Drying Foods
- sun drying
- oven drying
- air drying
Perfect foods for your dehydrator.
Nesco American Harvest Food Dehydrator
I researched the different types of food dehydrators on the web. Nesco was touted as one of the best available and it seemed to fit my needs. I do have a small garden and lots of pots of herbs so I wanted to preserve as much as I could.
I gave the Nesco a trial with a variety of things. I wanted to see what worked best and how drying affected taste.
The Nesco comes with a manual that has charts with the drying time for each item. Several things can affect the time involved including how full the trays are and factors such as humidity in the air and temperature. The charts also explain that some things need to be pre-treated with something acidic like lemon juice or a pre-wash.
I dehydrated blueberries, strawberries, white grapes, herbs, tomatoes and bananas. I did the herbs in a separate batch. I pre-treated the banana chips and blanched the grapes. The drying time was longer at the recommended temperature for me but everything came out beautiful and tasted delicious!
The tomatoes are superb, as well as the blueberries and strawberries. The herbs look and smell fantastic. I waited for a period of 8 weeks from the day it was dried to take the photos of my treats. As you can see - they look as fresh today as they did 2 months ago! They still taste delicious too.
Dehydrated Fruits & Herbs
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