Dehydrate Vegetables for Long Life

Dehydrate Vegetables for long lifeOne of the best ways to take advantage of food preservation is to use a food dehydrator. While fruit, meat and vegetables can all be dehydrated, vegetables are some of the best foods to put through a dehydrator. Vegetables, when dehydrated and sealed in oxygen-free bags can last for 10 years. That’s when stored at around 70F.

If kept in a considerably cooler environment and in bags that keep light out, dehydrated vegetables can last for 20 years or more. Because of their long shelf life, dehydrating vegetables may be better than canning them.

If a vegetable has water content it can be dehydrated. Some of the vegetables that dehydrate well are:

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Corn
  • Chives
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Shallots
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet potatoes

Even though they are not technically vegetables, a food dehydrator can also dehydrate herbs. The length of time it takes to dehydrate vegetables depends on the size the vegetables are cut and how much moisture they have in them to begin with. Because of this and because food dehydrators vary, it is hard to tell how long it will take to dehydrate each type of vegetables. There are a number of different uses a person can have for various vegetables too. It is essential that the heat on a dehydrator isn’t turned up too high though. Doing so will slowly cook them instead of drawing the moisture out.

For instance, potatoes can be dehydrated in various sizes for various uses later on. Cube them as they would be needed for potato salad, soup or stew, and dehydrate them at those sizes. They will take a little longer to dehydrate than if they were thinly sliced or minced, but they can be put directly into soups and stews straight out of the package along with peas, corn and tomatoes.

In fact, after each vegetable is dehydrated a person can combine them as desired for homemade ready-to-use soup and stew mixes. Chopped broccoli and asparagus are also great to dehydrate for future cream soups. Foods can be dehydrated when they are raw, or they can be dehydrated after they’ve been cooked. Homemade instant potatoes can be made this way very easily.

To properly package the dehydrated veggies, a person will need a vacuum sealer. While clear plastic bags can be used, darker plastic is best for longer shelf life. The reason a vacuum sealer is needed is to ensure that all the oxygen is removed from the bag. For successful storage, vegetables need to be completely dehydrated and as free of oxygen as possible. Moisture and oxygen are the key to decomposition and the last thing a person wants after going through all the preparation.

Vegetables can be grown in a person’s own garden or they can be bought at a farmers market or grocery store. The best time to buy vegetables is when they are in season and being sold for significantly lower prices than at other times of the year. Prepare as desired, place into the dehydrator and proceed to package as wanted. Make bags of separate vegetables or mixed vegetables in various sizes. Grow black pepper and enjoy homemade peppercorns. The possibilities really are endless with a food dehydrator, and when the end product can last for 10 years or more, it’s quite economical too.