A new update of the bestselling book in its field -- 100,000 in print.
Whether grow-your-own, bought locally from a farmer's market, or fresh from a regular supermarket, seasonality still affects the quality, abundance and price of good food. It just makes sense to preserve food quality for those times when it's not as plentiful or not available at all. Dehydrating food with this terrific book is easy and creates tasty food year-round.
Incorporating the age-old practices of food dehydration takes full advantage of what nature offers. All the wonderful recipes are still here and there is a bonus section on everything from pet treats to crafts and homemade gifts. What has changed is that the "Everything You Need to Know About Dehydrating Foods" section has been expanded to include even more comprehensive and complete information about dehydrating foods along with even more tips and techniques.
There are more than 150 recipes for dehydrating everything from herbs and seasonings to fruits, vegetables, meats and fish, plus more than 250 delicious recipes that actually use the dehydrated foods as ingredients. Putting home-preserved food to work for home, RV, boat or campsite has never been easier.
The easy-to-follow drying instructions along with time guidelines make even a novice cook feel like a seasoned professional.
Planting a few extra rows of tomatoes or beans, picking many strawberries at their peak or buying that big basket of freshly harvested carrots can really pay off later. Loading up the dehydrator will provide personally dried foods the whole year through.
Jennifer MacKenzie is a professional home economist, cookbook author and recipe developer.
Jay Nutt is a chef and and restaurant owner.
Don Mercer, Ph.D., P.Eng, is an associate professor in the Food Science Department at the University of Guelph.
Long before there was a refrigerator (or two) in every home, a deep-freezer in the basement and supermarkets full of pretty much anything in a box, package or jar, making food last between harvest seasons required a great deal of ingenuity. Early civilizations discovered that food left out in the sun was still edible after it was dry. With the advent of fire, drying and smoking became useful tools for food preservation between successful hunts and sustained ancient civilizations by providing a more consistent source of food. Today, we have the benefit of refrigeration, globalized food production, shipping and commercial processing, so we don't have to preserve our own food at all. But as the saying goes, everything old is new again.
Welcome to the new-old world of food dehydration. Whether you grow your own food, buy it locally from farmers' markets or farm stands, hunt for your own meat or even buy your food from a regular supermarket, seasonality still affects the price and abundance of food. It just makes sense to take advantage of food when it's abundant (and less expensive) and preserve it for times when it's not as plentiful, or not available at all. Drying food is a wonderful way to do this. Dried food storage is space-efficient, and individual dried ingredients can be used in a huge variety of ways, a bonus that other preservation techniques don't always offer. And when you're cooking with food you dried yourself, you know exactly where it came from and what's in it.
Modern appliances designed for food dehydration make this ancient preserving technique faster, more efficient, reliable and easy. We no longer have to worry about wild animals stealing food set out to dry or a sudden downpour ruining days of drying. A simple appliance with trays, a heat source and a fan takes away the elements of surprise and essentially allows you to put fresh food in and take dried food out. Of course, drying food does take some know-how and a little trial and error at times.
Cooking is a blend of science and art. Dehydrating food and turning it into delicious meals is an excellent example of that, and our team of authors has combined their expertise to maximize both aspects. Don Mercer is a professional engineer specializing in food science , with years of experience perfecting the technique of drying food in a lab and in practical settings (including his own backyard). Don teaches university food processing courses and has done work on food processing and drying around the world, helping developing communities implement the science of dehydration to sustain their food supply. Don has taken the guesswork out of drying foods so you can jump right in. Jennifer MacKenzie is a professional home economist with a bachelor of science in Foods and Nutrition. Through her expertise in recipe development, testing and writing, she knows both the science of how food works and the art of making it taste good -- and how to write her techniques down so you can get the same results. Jay Nutt is a chef with years of experience cooking in restaurants and teaching cooking classes. He and Jennifer co-own their own restaurant and gourmet food store. Jay s flair for creating fabulous food that dazzles customers and keeps them coming back for more is incorporated into the recipes in this book, so you'll get the most out of your dried foods while making tasty dishes your family will love.
We've integrated the latest food safety information into our techniques (we've learned a few things since the earliest days of dehydrating), and have provided easy-to-follow drying instructions and time guidelines to give you the tools you need to preserve your own food safely at home. Once you've mastered the science of drying foods, you can explore the culinary art of cooking from your pantry full of preserved food. We've included recipes that use a mixture of dried and fresh ingredients, as well as recipes that primarily use dried ingredients; the latter are perfect for taking on the trail or road -- or anywhere else without refrigeration.
When you've got your pantry stocked full of dried foods, and while the garden sleeps for the winter, you can take advantage of your dehydrator's versatility by using it to create homemade pet treats for your furry companions, to make gifts for family and friends, and even to dry special crafts and homemade decorations. We've created some recipes and instructions for you to try. Once you get going, you will likely think of even more uses for your dehydrator between gardening seasons.
We hope you'll enjoy incorporating the age-old practice of food dehydration into your modern life and taking advantage of what nature provides. So plant a few extra rows of tomatoes and beans, pick as many strawberries as possible when they re at their peak and buy that big basket of freshly harvested carrots. Then load up your dehydrator. You'll be thrilled to be cooking with your own dried foods the whole year through!
Table of Contents
PART 1: Dehydrating Foods
PART 2: Cooking at Home with Dehydrating Foods
PART 3: Cooking on the Trail with Dehydrated Foods
PART 4: Other Uses for Your Dehydrator
Appendix: Dorm Room Cuisine