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Dry Vegetables – Shelf Life Without Any Preservatives

At harvest time, your own garden provides more fresh vegetables than can be eaten at once. It is worth saving excess yields for the winter. Since space in the freezer is limited, other methods are needed. How about drying?

Dry – the oldest preservation method

Preservatives and their harmful effects on the human body are on everyone’s lips these days. With dry vegetables, you are on the safe side. The long shelf life is only achieved by removing moisture. This happens most naturally in the air. But the oven and a dehydrator are also ideal for gentle drying.

Drying time and temperature

The moisture needs to desecrate from the vegetables before putrefactive bacteria and mold can gnaw at them. It is important to adhere to a time that dries the vegetables as quickly as possible while preserving their aroma and nutrients.

The temperature is such an adjusting screw that can be used to turn the time. The higher it climbs, the faster the moisture evaporates. However, the vegetables should not be fried, which is why 50 degrees Celsius is the upper limit. A dehydrator regulates the temperature automatically, while the oven can be set manually.

Suitable vegetables

In theory, any vegetable can be dried. While at home you only decide on certain types and buy the rest you need fresh, on trekking tours, all types of vegetables are welcome as lightweight.

All types of vegetables that bring flavor to our dishes can also do this in a dried state:

  • carrots
  • leek
  • celery
  • zucchini

Tomatoes and peppers are also suitable for this type of preservation. In southern countries, pepper wreaths hanging to dry on the house wall are a common sight in rural areas. Since the weather is rarely that hot here, drying aids may have to be used instead.

Every vegetable dries differently

Since the individual types of vegetables differ in every respect, the process must be tailored precisely. Only the general characteristics of the drying methods can be given here. Obtaining variety-specific information is essential.

Drying – these are the key data

Are the vegetables ripe and freshly harvested, washed, and cut into suitable sizes? Then it can go! Which type of drying the vegetables are left to should be carefully weighed. The following tips can help you make a decision.

  • the most natural is air drying
  • but it also lasts the longest
  • can take many days
  • A dehydrator is suitable for large quantities
  • it dries automatically and gently at low temperatures
  • The oven is practical and always available
  • shortens the drying time
  • drying in the absence of light protects the color

Durability and use

When the dried vegetables come into contact with water, they come to life again. Many a type of vegetable is then in no way inferior to the freshly picked variety. Especially not when it is used in cooked dishes.

The shelf life of dried vegetables can be years but should be found out separately for each variety. All should be stored cool, dry, and protected from light. Some open, others tightly closed.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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