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Lately I’ve been trying to eat healthier by cutting back on things like carbohydrates and sodium. But unfortunately, the vast majority of my food reserves are full of carbs and sodium. The reason for this is because those types of food just happen to store better.
High carb foods like pasta and rice last a very long time, sugar is added to canned fruits to help it lost longer, and sodium is often used to preserve canned vegetables. If there’s a short term disaster, those carbs will be great for some quick energy. But if there’s a long-term disaster, eating foods that are high in sodium and carbs every single day will wreak havoc on my health. This is concerning because I already have hypertension. Because of this, I’ve started dehydrating fruits and vegetables on the weekends.
I recently got a Nesco Dehydrator (which you can see in the picture above) and yesterday I worked on dehydrating a bunch of bananas. This is a great fruit to start with if you’re new to dehydrating. They’re very easy to prepare and they make a great snack when they’re done.
One of the main difficulties with dehydrating foods is that there’s a lot of conflicting information online. The manual that came with my Nesco dehydrator says how long to dehydrate the various types of food, but it says nothing about how to prepare them. In my other article, How To Dehydrate Food, I make some suggestions, but there are several ways to prepare food for dehydration. I recommend that you try several methods and see which one works best for you. You should also keep track of how long various foods take to dehydrate. Write it all down. The Nesco manual said 6-12 hours for bananas, but in the humid panhandle of Florida, it took about 14 hours. Just remember, practice makes perfect. So here’s what I did.
I started by slicing up seven bananas into slices thin enough so that they would dehydrate easily, but not so thin that they would fall apart. Then I squeezed the juice from a bag of lemons and dipped the bananas into it. The reason I did this is because the acidic properties of the juice stop the bananas from browning as much. This step isn’t required, but without it your banana chips will look pretty gross. It’s up to you, though. Don’t worry, it doesn’t affect the taste.
Once the slices had soaked for about ten minutes, I spread them out on the dehydrator trays and let the juice drip off of them for several few minutes. Then I stacked the trays, set the dehydrator to 135°, and turned it on. I figured they would take about 12 hours, so I waited until the 6 hour mark to turn them over. This step isn’t required, but I highly recommend doing it as it helps them to dry more evenly. You can tell they’re ready when they’re nice and crispy, or at least very leathery. When they’re done, store them in Mylar Bags.
Over the next year, I’m going to gradually replace a lot of my canned fruits and vegetables with dehydrated food, and I encourage all preppers to do the same. You don’t want to eat nothing but canned soup and pasta when the SHTF.
If you still don’t think your physical health will be a top priority during a major disaster, consider this: The stress of a disaster is already going to spike your blood pressure and strain your immune system. Considering this, it’s really not a good idea to eat processed foods with lots of salt. Give yourself every possible advantage, including a healthy diet.