Dehydrating food is a common practice that our ancestors came up with before today’s dehydrators were invented. It’s the easiest way to ensure that your survival food will be fit for long-term storage.
Having a stockpile of dried foods is one of the things people consider when preparing for emergency situations.
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Why Dehydrate Food in The First Place?
Some will ask why it’s necessary to dehydrate food when we have something that was designed for long-term storage like canned goods. The answer is simple.
Whereas canned goods are bulky and heavy, dried food take up less space and are easier to carry, which makes it perfect for bug out bags wherein the lighter it is, the better. It can be stored in room temperature and when dried properly, it retains the nutrition.
Dehydration gives your hard-earned crop a longer shelf life which means that every time you open a bag of your homegrown dried crops, your garden can immediately replace it without hurting your stockpile too much.
This situation also gives you control over the quality of the meals you will have even amidst emergency and critical situations.
Because there are many crops that can be dried, you will save a ton of money that you may have been planning to spend on other survival food like canned goods.
During the process of rehydration, the water or liquid you used can double as broth or soup that you can serve with your survival meals.
The most important thing to remember about dried food is that rehydrating it is not as simple as dumping it in water. It won’t magically return to its original form the moment the food is soaked in it. There’s a process for it and there are many tips on how to rehydrate your survival food.
The Rehydration Table
Based on the type of fruit, vegetable, grain or meat, the quantity of the water varies as well as the time of how long it’s supposed to be in the water. While there is no danger in putting too much water, you may not need to.
Knowing the specific duration of soaking for each crop also gives you an opportunity to plan your day and prevent you from serving undercooked and still-dry meals.
This rehydration table should help give you the guidance you need.
How to Rehydrate Dried Food
The best thing about rehydrating your survival food is that it’s not just about water. You can rehydrate your dried food with broth or juice to make your meal tastier and healthier. It also gives you more options of what to do with the dried food like make soup or stew.
Another common misconception about rehydrating dried food is that you have to soak it in boiling water. In reality, soaking dried food in hot water has some adverse effects.
Cold water works perfectly fine. If your liquid is at room temperature, that can be used for rehydrating your ingredients for soup or stew by using at as a bouillon.
Step by step to rehydrate dehydrated food:
- Pick a container. Most people forget the importance of choosing the right one. Remember that you will be rehydrating food which means that it’s necessary to make sure that your chosen container is clean and sanitized. Do not use anything that has rust or any signs of corrosion on it.
- Choose a rehydrating agent. It could be water, juice or broth. Think out of the box and decide what can bring the taste of your food the most. Do not use liquid that you wouldn’t drink. Remember that the quality of the rehydrating agent is what the dried food will suck up.
- Fill up your container with the water, broth or juice. While there is an ideal amount of liquid that you can put in the container, don’t worry if you somehow put too much. That just means that you will have to be vigilant with the rehydration process. Also, most of the time, too much water doesn’t hurt the dried foods.
- Feel the temperature of the water. If it’s too hot, let it cool for a bit. Remember that there are some foods that don’t react well to hot water. In addition to this, warm water attracts bacteria.
- Soak in your dried food and leave it as it is for the time it will take to fully rehydrate it. Do not rush the process because you will risk serving or consuming dried food which can be off-putting and frustrating. Make a specific schedule for the day to help you rehydrate the food properly.
- Regularly check the rehydration process. If you think it’s enough, you may prepare the dried food. Do not remove from the water if it tastes weird or if it still feels leathery.
- There are times when you can rehydrate at the same time you’re cooking. An example of this is when you’re making soup. You can put the vegetables and meat in the soup as you cook it. The food will rehydrate as the soup cooks.
How to Rehydrate Freeze-Dried Food
One of the most important advantages of freeze-dried food is that it takes a faster and more simple process of rehydration.
Like dehydration, it also reduces the weight of the food which makes it easier to carry in times when you have to bug out. Often, freeze-dried food lasts longer than dehydrated food while maintaining the original taste and nutrients.
So, when the need comes, how exactly do you rehydrate freeze-dried food?
How to Rehydrate Freeze-Dried Meat
- Place the meat in a bowl of warm or hot water. You don’t need to worry about how much water you should put as the meat will only take the water it needs. The benefit of using hot water is that it can cook the meat a little bit and make it tender, which means that can be eaten (if it was cooked before freeze-drying) or cooked (if it was raw beforehand) immediately after.
- Usually, the rehydration process will only take a few minutes. To make sure that it has been rehydrated, you can poke through the meat to determine if there are still parts of it that is frozen.
- When you remove it from the water, you have the option of either throwing it out or you can use as the base of your broth.
How to Rehydrate Freeze-Dried Vegetables
- The best thing about freeze-dried vegetables is that you can eat it as it is which makes it a tasty snack, especially if you’re moving and navigating through the wilderness. It’s a quick source of power boost that can satisfy your hunger and at the same time, give you the nutrients you will need.
- You can rehydrate freeze-dried vegetables by placing it in a bowl or pan of water. Like meat, it will only need a few minutes and you can start cooking while rehydrating it.
- For leafy vegetables, you can just spray or sprinkle some water on it to get it back to its former state. Alternatively, you can pound the frozen vegetables to make spice powder that you can just mux into water to give it the taste of the vegetables.
A pro tip about rehydrating dried food is to experiment and learn the best ways to utilize the nutrition and taste. There’s a value on learning what goes together the best before the situation calls for it. It gives you the advantages of being prepared.
Knowing what do means that you’re aware of the steps necessary to make delicious and rejuvenating meals instead of wasting time scrambling for the right process and trying to survive through unappetizing meals. It gives you one less thing to worry about in critical situations because as we know, food is an essential need for living things.
Dried food gives you the comfort of being able to consume and serve meals that will have the nutrients that you will need to survive. And doing the rehydration process right gives you fresher and tastier meals that could be your motivation to look forward to another day.