Practical Food to Dry

Many kinds of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs can be dried. Eggs, fish, poultry, and meat (except beef jerky) are not recommended for home drying. 

Fruits like ripe apples, cherries, berries, peaches, apricots, and pears are very practical to dry.

Vegetables that are practical to dry include: peas, green beans, corn, peppers, zucchini, onions, and okra. Combinations of vegetables can be dried at the same time. Vegetables with a strong odor should not be dried at the same time as other vegetables because those with a mild flavor may absorb the strong odor. Remember that vegetables have different drying times, so some will be dry before others.

Mature beans, peas, and soybeans may be fully or partly dried on the vine.

Soup vegetables should always be dried separately. Then you can combine them in different ways so that you will have a vast variety of gourmet soups at your fingertips. Just let your imagination be your guide.

Asparagus and broccoli are better frozen than dried because freezing helps preserve their fresh flavor and texture.

Note: It is a waste of time and energy to dry vegetables such as carrots, turnips, parsnips  rutabagas, and potatoes, because they are better stored fresh than dried. They can be kept for several months in a cool, dry basement or cellar.

Fresh herbs of all types are suitable for drying. The parts of the plant to dry vary, but leaves, seeds, or blossoms usually give the best results. Herbs should always be dried separately. You can combine them in different ways so that you will have a vast variety of your own blends.

Salad seasoning ingredients should be dried separately, then mixed and stored together for delightful blends.

Lean meats such as beef can be dried for jerky. 

Certain foods are not suitable for drying because of their high moisture content. Lettuce, melons, and cucumbers are a few foods that do not dry well.

Foods You Should not Dry at Home

It is not recommended to dry at home eggs, fish, poultry, and meat (except beef jerky) because of Salmonella and Staphylococcus bacteria, which thrive on these foods. Salmonella and Staphylococcus bacteria can survive and grow at low temperatures used to dry meat and dairy products. These bacteria grow very rapidly in meat and poultry products because all the nutrient needs of these pathogenic or disease producing bacteria are supplied by meats, eggs, and dairy products. 

The growth of the pathogenic bacteria will stop when 60 percent ERH is reached, but when water is added to the product, the bacteria will grow again. The poisonous toxin produced by Staphylococcus is not destroyed by cooking the food. 

Salmonella and Staphylococcus have caused food poisoning outbreaks in home dried foods. 

Real Cooking

Did You Know?
Certain foods inhibit, alleviate or reduce symptoms of common health problems.

For example, a fundamental factor to managing diabetes is diet. To lower your sugar levels, it is suggested that you eat: regular meals and snacks; a balance of starches, protein and fats; and low-fat, high-fibre foods.

For arthritis, anti-inflammatory foods may help ease the pain of stiff joints, so eat plenty of fatty fish, salmon, sardines, foods high in vitamin C, fresh green and yellow vegetables, nuts and whole grains, high fibre and low-calorie foods to help control weight.

To reduce inflammation, cut down on foods containing animal fats.

To counter the effects of high blood pressure: eat plenty of fresh vegetables, fresh and dried fruits, legumes and dairy products for potassium.

Cut down on: canned and processed foods, added salt and fatty foods.

Bananas are an excellent dietary source of potassium. They are also sodium free, so you can make them part of your diet to reduce risk of high blood pressure. FREE Recipes