Our founding fathers did it ...
They had to.
Food was often scarce and especially protein. When meat was available leftovers would spoil quickly.
Botulism was a frequent and sometimes deadly result.
The earliest form of curing meats began with dehydration using salt. By the 1800’s meats were cured using a variety of salts to help preserve the red color of the meat. Sea Salt, rock salt and spiced salts were all used with differing results. With the addition of saltpeter (nitrates) botulism was eliminated in the curing process.
Homesteaders all over the world have used many methods of dehydration.
- Centuries ago cultures in the New East dried fruits by wrapping up the fruits in leaves and burying them in the hot sand to dry
- Native Americans used circulated smoke from a fire to dry their meats, fish and vegetables
- Indians in Peru dried potatoes by first freezing them, then trampling them while thawing to get the excess water out. Only to then air-dry them for future storage.
Sun drying foods has been used through the ages. This method is most effective for dry, hot climates. Foods like tomatoes can be treated with salt and vinegar, laid on trays, covered with cheesecloth and place in the sun. Typically the drying process can take between 2-4 days. For those living in cooler climates solar dehydrators are now available. These dehydrators are used with success even in the winter!
You can also dehydrate by oven drying, or using an electric dehydrator
I have been dehydrating fruits, herbs, yogurt, meats and herbs for years. It is such a nice way to provide portable snacks for hiking, camping, school and office snacks!
Today I’d like to feature how to “make” Raisins!
Raisins dried on the dehydrator are wonderful. In fact once you have them, you’ll never buy raisins commercially again. My kids always say "these raisins are like a party in your mouth!”
You will need:
- Dehydrator (Solar or Electric)
- Grapes (white or red seedless)
Separate the grapes from the stems and wash thoroughly.
Place grapes on dehydrator trays. Don’t allow grapes to touch each other.
Dehydrate at 135 degrees approximately 4 days. After day 3 check, larger grapes tend to take longer.
See! Its so simple. Your kids will love you for it. I promise! Once you make your own raisins you'll never buy them again! A great addition to recipes and of course snacks!
Thanks for stopping by! I would love to hear your favorite dehydrated food! I'll share more later!
Blessings to you all