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Dehydration - DOC by Levone



2004, Sugar Mountain
By R. Jobe

FOOD PRESERVATION There are 3 common, easy, and very basic methods of food preservation, to include freezing foods, canning foods, or dehydrating foods. There are obviously other methods, including pickling meats & other foods, sugar cures, smoking, and salting; however, this booklet will cover only the basics of canning and dehydrating, and very briefly touch on freezing. In my mind, the key to food preservation in preparedness is versatility. Each of the three methods discussed has its advantages and disadvantages. Freezing is the easiest method of food preservation, requiring the least preparation time. It can also be done in freezer bags or plastic containers, so does not require a lot of special equipment to do. However, frozen food requires freezer space and is not overly portable. The end product also requires thawing food before cooking. Canned food requires the most preparation time and the most amount of equipment, including a water bath canner and/or pressure canner, plus jars, rings, and flats. The end product is portable, but transporting or storing large amounts of canned goods takes up a lot of space. The end product requires the least amount of cooking time also. You just open the jar and heat the food up. Canned goods should be used within 2 years after canning. If kept longer than 2 years, examine food carefully before using. If there is any off odor, flavor, or color, DO NOT USE! Boil thoroughly before use, even if it looks & smells okay. Dehydrated foods require some preparation time in slicing and sometimes peeling food to be dehydrated. It also requires that food be rehydrated before eating, either before or during cooking time. It also requires a method of dehydrating, using slow & steady heat to remove moisture from food, whether you have an electric dehydrator, wood-fired dehydrator, or dehydrate food in the oven or in the sun. It is the most portable of preserved food, though. It is lightweight and requires the least amount of storage space. Dehydrated foods can be stored indefinitely, with proper storage methods. These should be stored in a cool, dry place. If it shows signs of mold, throw it away. Examine bags carefully for pinholes before opening. Moths and moisture will get into the smallest pinhole imaginable. If you utilize all 3 methods, you have dehydrated food that is eminently portable, lightweight, and easy to take on camping trips or use for an emergency situation. Canned goods take less time to heat and/or cook than dehydrated goods, but they also take up more room and require more equipment. Frozen foods require electricity and freezer space. It also requires thawing time before cooking. If transported, frozen foods also must be kept in a cooler during transport. Frozen foods should be used within 6 months to 1 year and examined carefully for freezer burn before consuming. Freezer burn will not hurt you, but it does affect the quality and taste of the frozen food.

Canned Food Planning Guide for One Year: Included are 4 servings of canned meat per week. 10 other servings of meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs (protein) are needed weekly. This is 14 servings per week per person. Protein can also be consumed via nuts & legumes (beans, lentils, peanut butter, etc.) Product Meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, (protein) Citrus Fruits & Tomatoes (inc. juices) Dark green/yellow veggies (greens, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes) Other Fruits & Veggies: Apples, apricots, peaches, pears, asparagus, green beans, lima beans, corn, peas, squash, etc. Soups Number x served 4 per week/36 weeks/1 year 7 per week/36 weeks/1 year 4 per week/36 weeks/1 year Approx size serving 2-3 oz (1/2 cup) Amount needed per person 18 quarts/36 pints; 26 quarts/52 pints 63 quarts or 91 quarts 18 quarts/36 pints for 36 weeks or 26 quarts/62 pints per year 76 quarts or 152 pints per 36 weeks or 110 quarts/220 pints for 1 year Amount needed Family of 4 72 qts/144 pints or 104 quarts/208 pints 252 quarts or 364 quarts (1 yr) 72 quarts/144 pints for 36 wks or 104 quarts/208 pints for 1 year 304 quarts or 608 pints per 36 weeks OR 440 quarts or 880 pints for 1 year

1 cup

½ cup

17 per week/36 weeks/1 year

½ cup

2 per week/36 wks/1 year 6 pr week/52 weeks 3 per week/52 weeks 2 per week/52 weeks 2 per week/52 weeks

1 Cup

Soft spreads (jelly, jam, apple butter, etc.) Relishes, chutney Pickles (Veggie) Pickles (Fruit)

2 tablespoons

18 quarts for 36 wks/26 quarts per year 40 half-pints or 20 pints per year 5 pints 13 pints 13 quarts

72 quarts for 36 weeks or 104 quarts per year 160 half-pints or 80 pints per year 20 pints 52 pints 52 quarts

1 Tablespoon ---

If you used mostly quart jars, you would still need 1168 quart jars per year for a family of four, PLUS at least 152 pint jars -- unless you put jelly/jam in half-pints, in which case you would need 160 half-pints plus 72 pints. Pretty confusing, isn’t it? You still need a minimum of 1320 jars for a family of 4 PLUS flats and rings, if you use all quart jars.

Home Canning Basics, Step-by-Step
Over the years, our understanding of basic food safety has grown along with new technologies in home food preservation and the development of new agricultural crop varieties. For these reasons, it is important to follow current guidelines for home canning rather than old recipes. While great-grandmother’s pickles might be an old family favorite, older recipes may not have been properly tested for appropriate heat processing times and temperatures, which can affect the quality and safety of your final product. Foods for canning are classified into two types for proper preservation: high-acid and low-acid foods. Each requires a different method of heat processing to reach the necessary temperatures to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and other microorganisms that cause food poisoning. Low-acid foods are those food with pH values higher than 4.6. They must be processed at temperatures of 240°F for a specified length of time to destroy harmful bacteria. Because boiling-water canners cannot reach this temperature, low-acid foods must be processed using a steam pressure canner. Low-acid foods include vegetables, soups, stews, ragouts, meats, poultry and seafood. High-acid foods are those foods with pH values lower than 4.6. They require heat processing to 212°F reached by using a boiling-water canner for a specified period. Since the pH of these foods is 4.6 or lower, meaning the acidity is high, bacteria and other spoilers do not grow as easily. High-acid foods include fruits, fruit juices, jams, jellies and other fruit spreads, tomatoes with added acid, pickles, relishes and chutneys, sauces, vinegars and condiments.

Canning Glossary
Acid Foods Foods that contain enough acid to result in a pH of 4.6 or lower. Some foods may contain very little natural acid but have a sufficient amount of vinegar, citric acid or lemon juice added to them to be classified as acids in canning. Antioxidant Is an affect agent that inhibits the oxidation of cut fruits and vegetables as well as controls discoloration. Lemon juice, ascorbic acid or a blend of ascorbic and citric acid are all antioxidants. Bacteria Microorganisms which are found in the soil, water and air around us. In certain low-acid conditions, some bacteria can produce harmful toxins. Proper heat processing of low-acid foods in the steam-pressure canner destroys harmful toxins. Band A threaded metal band used in combination with a flat metal vacuum sealing lid to form a two-piece cap. Blanch To dip fruits and vegetables in boiling water to loosen their skins. Blanching vegetables in boiling water or steam also slows the action of enzymes. Boil To heat to 212°F at sea level. Boiling-Water Canner (also known as Water Bath Canner)

A deep kettle equipped with a jar rack and lid. It must be large enough to completely immerse capped canning jars, allowing 1 to 2 inches of water to cover jars. A boiling-water canner is required for heat processing high-acid foods. Botulism An illness caused by ingesting a toxin produced from the spores of Clostridium botulinum bacteria under conditions favorable for its growth. Proper selection, preparation, packing and heat processing destroys this bacterium in canned foods. Cap Two-piece metal closure used to form a vacuum seal on home canning jars. See Two-Piece Vacuum Cap. Citric Acid An acid derived from certain citrus fruits used to increase the acidity of tomatoes. It also controls discoloration of cut fruits. Cool Place A location with a temperature ideal for storing jars of home canned foods – usually between 50°F and 70°F. Enzyme A protein in foods that affects changes in flavor, color, texture, and nutritional value. The preservation methods for canning and freezing destroy the action of enzymes. Headspace The unfilled space in a home canning jar between the top of the food or liquid and the underside of the lid. Headspace is necessary for food expansion as jars are heated, and for forming a vacuum as jars cool. Hot Pack Filling hot jars with precooked, hot food prior to processing. Jar A glass container specially designed and heat-treated for use in home canning. Lid The flat metal disc with flanged edges, having a rubber-like sealing compound on its underside. Used as part of the two-piece vacuum cap for sealing home canning jars. Low-Acid Food Foods having a pH of 4.6 or higher. To destroy harmful bacteria, their spores and the toxins they produce, low-acid foods must be processed in a steam-pressure canner at 240°F. Adjustments are necessary at elevations higher than 1,000 ft. above sea level.

Microorganism A microscopic living plant or animal which, if not destroyed by heat, can cause spoilage in canned and

frozen food. Mold Microscopic fungi that appear as fuzz on food. Molds may grow on acid foods like jams, jellies and canned fruits. Proper heat processing inhibits mold growth. Pectin A natural substance, found in varying amounts in fruits, that acts to form a complex gelatinous structure. It is used to make jams, jellies and other soft spreads gel. Commercial powdered and liquid pectins are not interchangeable. pH A measure of acidity or alkalinity. On a scale 0 to 14, a value of 7 is neutral, values lower than 7 are increasingly acidic, and values higher than 7 are increasingly alkaline. In canning, a food’s pH determines the appropriate processing method. Pickling Preserving using a brine or vinegar solution to decrease pH levels to 4.6 or lower. All pickled foods must be processed in a boiling-water canner. Processing Sterilizing jars and the food they contain in a steam-pressure or boiling-water canner to destroy harmful microorganisms. Raw Pack Filling jars with raw, unheated food prior to processing. This term is preferred over “Cold Pack.” Simmer To cook just below the boiling point in the range between 180°F and 200°F. Spice Bag A muslin bag or cheesecloth square used to hold whole spices and/or herbs that is added to a mixture to extract flavorings during cooking. Steam-Pressure Canner A heavy kettle fitted with a jar rack and a lid that can be locked in place and that has a safety valve, a vent and a pressure gauge. A steam-pressure canner is required for heat processing low-acid foods. Syrup A water/sugar or juice/sugar mixture used to add liquid to canned or frozen products. Two-Piece Vacuum Cap A metal closure for sealing home canning jars. It consists of a screw band and a flanged lid, the underside of which is coated with a rubber-like sealing compound. Vacuum Seal The absence of normal air pressure in jars that are airtight. After heat processing and upon cooling, air is

forced from the jar causing a vacuum seal. The sealing compound on the lid prevents air from reentering. Venting Forcing air to escape from a jar by applying heat. Or, permitting air to escape from a steam-pressure canner. Water Bath Canner See Boiling Water Canner Yeast Microscopic fungi that cause fermentation in foods. They are easily destroyed at a temperature of 212°F. Freezing Food: Freezing food is probably the simplest method of preserving. It also requires a freezer unit. Many people don’t own a deep freeze and have limited space available in their refrigerator’s attached freezer unit. Without electricity or some other method of providing power to a freezer unit, freezing foods is not possible, except outdoors in deep winter when freezing temperatures are constant. Even then, you would have to devise a method of keeping your food safe from predators. When freezing food, most vegetables are blanched before frozen. Most fruits are packed plain (without pits or seeds) or in syrup. The packaging is the most important part in freezing. Take out as much air as possible, as air in your packaging leads to freezer burn. For meats, wrap in butcher paper, place in a freezer bag, label, and place in freezer. Fruits & vegetables can be frozen in freezer containers or in plastic freezer bags. Always remember to remove as much air as possible. Meats, fruits, and vegetables can also be vacuum sealed before freezing. FOOD DEHYDRATION, An Alternate Method of Food Preservation Dehydration is another method of preserving food by removing most of the water from the food. Dehydrated foods are lighter in weight, easier to store, and easier to pack along than canned goods or frozen goods. If properly packaged, dehydrated food will last indefinitely. Archeologists have found dehydrated foods in the tombs of the pharaohs that still had nutritional value although it was centuries old. The trick to proper preservation of dehydrated goods is remove enough moisture, keep oxygen out, and keep away from as much light as possible. Most fruits need 80% of water removed. Most vegetables need 95% of water removed. Dehydrated meat needs to be dried to between leathery to brittle. Consistent dehydration is easier if produce or meat is sliced thin and slices are all fairly consistent in size. The light does not hurt the quality of the food, but can cause dehydrated food to lose its color (same as with canned goods). Vacuum sealing is a good way to remove air from packaged dehydrated goods. They can also be packed in zip-lock bags or dry canning jars. Dehydration – Formula for Fresh weight Versus Dried weight: After peeling, coring, etc., weigh prepared produce. (For example, peeled, cored, sliced apples weigh 10 lbs.) See water content of fruits or vegetables. (apples = 84%)

The total weight of the water equals the weight of prepared fruit/vegetable multiplied by the percent of water content. (10 x 0.84 = 8.4 pounds of water). Most fruits need 80% of water removed. Most vegetables need 95% of water removed. Multiply the total weight of water by the percent of water to be removed. (For apples, 8.4 x 0.80 = 6.72 lbs of water to remove). To find out how much the produce should weigh after dehydration, subtract the weight of water to be removed from the weight of the fresh product. (For apples, 10 lbs prepared apples minus 6.72 lbs of water = 3.28 lbs of dried apples. In this technique, the apples would be sufficiently dehydrated when they weigh about 3 ¼ lbs. Beef/venison needs 75% of total weight removed. 1 lb fresh meat = 4 oz dried meat. Water Content of Fruits & Vegetables Apples 85% Apricots 85% Bananas 76% Bean Sprouts 92% Broccoli 91% Cabbage Raw 92% Cantaloupe 91% Carrots Raw 88% Cauliflower Raw 91% Celery 94% Cherries raw 80% Coconut Dried 7% Collards boiled 91% Corn, Sweet Fresh 74% Cucumbers Raw 96% Eggplant Raw 92% Grapefruit Raw 88% Grapes 82% Kale 87% Lettuce Head 96% Okra Boiled 91% Olives 80% Onions 89% Oranges 86% Peas Raw 81% Peppers Green 94% Pickles Dill 93% Pineapple Raw 85% Plums Raw 87% Potatoes Raw 85% Pumpkin Canned 90% Radishes Raw 95% Raspberries 81% Rutabagas Boiled 90% Spinach Raw 92% Squash Boiled 96% Strawberries Raw 90% Sweet Potatoes Boiled in Skin 71% Swiss Chard 94% Tomatoes Raw 93% Watercress Raw 90% Watermelon 93%

Papayas Raw Parsley Raw Peaches Raw Pears Raw

89% 86% 90% 82%

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