Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600516


  For  thousands of years, people have dried many  foods  to
preserve  them for leaner times.  Preserving seasonal  foods
by  drying  is still useful and convenient, and it  has  the
added advantage of conserving storage space.                

  Successful  home  food dehydration is dependent  on  three
basic principles:                                           

  Heat:  controlled  temperature high enough  to  force  out
moisture, but not hot enough to cook the food.              

  Dry Air: to absorb the released moisture.                 

  Air Circulation: to carry the moisture away.              

  When food is dehydrated, 80 to 95 percent of the  moisture
is  removed, inactivating the growth of bacteria  and  other
spoilage  microorganisms,  making  it  a  useful  method  of
  In  hot, dry climates, food will be reduced in a few  days
to  a moisture level that preserves them.  In  any  climate,
however, you can create satisfactory drying conditions at  a
moderate  expense by using artificial heat  and  circulating
air over the food.  You can do this:                        

-- in  your  own  kitchen  oven  (equipment  needed:  drying
trays, an oven thermometer and a small fan)                 

-- in a homemade or commercial portable vegetable dehydrator
(USDA  Bulletin 217 has instructions  on  how  to  construct
a   natural-draft dehydrator.   Electric food dehydrator can
be purchased in most appliance stores.                      

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