Drying Foods

Photo: Elena Mozhvilo / Unsplash

Living in the arid Southwest gives us an opportunity to dry many fruits, vegetables, and herbs instead of canning or freezing. Indigenous peoples have done this in the Rio Grande valley for centuries. Dried fruits make for great lightweight snacks, and dried vegetables are perfect for soups and stews.

Drying foods changes the nutrient content but not the calories. Even though the final dried product is small, the calories per piece remain the same as when fresh. Vitamin C is totally lost, but other vitamins and minerals are pretty much retained as long as you use the rehydrating water later when you are cooking.

Approaches to drying are different according to what you wish to preserve. Here is a little over-view of the general process:

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