Rehydrating

Introduction

Rehydrating restores the moisture to dried food, returning it to its original size, form, and appearance. Rehydrated food retains its aroma, flavor, and texture as well as its nutritional content. There are several methods for rehydrating dried food, but in their simplest form, they all add moisture back into the food using either cold or hot liquids.

As a general rule, 1 cup of liquid reconstitutes 1 cup of dehydrated food. If the food hasn’t softened enough after an hour, add more liquid. The liquid can be plain water, broth, juice, or milk. Fruit can also be reconstituted in liqueur or brandy.

Most fruit and vegetables reconstitute in one to two hours. However, larger pieces of food may take longer to reconstitute than powders or finely diced pieces. Generally, food that took longer to dehydrate also takes longer to rehydrate. Use only enough liquid as the food will absorb. Using too much liquid makes the food soggy and unappetizing.

Soaking does not take the place of cooking. Food still needs to be cooked after it is reconstituted by soaking.

Save the soaking liquid to add to soups, stews, or cereals. It contains the water-soluble vitamins and minerals leached from the dehydrated food.

Methods

Packaged Amanita muscaria mushroom caps for preservation

There are two main methods of rehydrating: cold soaking and hot soaking.

Cold soaking should be used for foods that are commonly eaten raw, like fruit. It is a slower process that allows the tissues of the food to relax and absorb the liquid. Food that is reconstituted in room-temperature or cooler water retains its shape and texture better than food rehydrated using hot water.

The soaking liquid, like juice or yogurt, adds additional flavor as it rehydrates the food, but don’t add additional salt or sugar to the soaking water, as they hinder the rehydration process. These can be added once the food is fully hydrated.

Use hot soaking when the food being rehydrated will be served cooked or added to a hot dish. Hot soaking breaks some of the plant cells as it rehydrates the food, causing the food to become softer. Hot soaking rehydrates food quicker than cold soaking.

Rehydrating the food while cooking it is fast and easy. Place dried vegetables in soups, stews, or sauces and rehydrate as the sauce cooks on the stovetop. Add dried fruit to sauces, puddings, and warm cereals during the cooking process and rehydrate it while the rest of the mixture cooks. How important role to canning and let’s discuss the details of the history of canning.

The Objectives of Food Dehydration

Impacting a peculiar feature, such as a different crispiness and flavor, to a food product: An example is the transformation of maize to cereal.

  • Shrinking the food material into smaller and more portable sizes to change their forms: Food materials, when the water has been reduced, become more portable and are easily packaged for transportation. Examples are the draining and grinding of curry leaves, thymes seeds etc. into spices.
  • Reducing the volume and the weight of the food: The volume of water poses a substantial addition to the volume and weight of the food, by reducing the water content, the weight and volume of the food particle is also reduced.
  • The conversion of food meals to a different form that is more convenient for storage, packaging and easy transportation: A great example is the conversion of milk or dairies to dry powder. When these products get to the places of consumption, they are reconverted to the previous forms through the addition of water.

The effect of water depression which leads to preservation and longevity of the nutrients.

Disadvantages of Dehydration

  • Time Consumption: Dehydrating food requires a lot of time in order to achieve perfect results. Some foods have a large amount of water content and to reduce the water will require a lot of time and meticulous observation. Taking so much time may be inconvenient for some individuals.
  • Unwanted Weight Gain: Dehydrated food might be rich in calories. Since it has shrunken in size, it may appear small; a little quantity consumed may seems insufficient while a large quantity consumed implies large nutrient consumption. The excess calories in the dehydrated food may lead to weight gain. People should be aware of it when consuming dried food.
  • Loss of Nutrients: Although when done correctly, dehydrating food can preserve nutrients, when done incorrectly it may lead to loss of nutrients in the food. Some nutrients can’t stand high levels of heat. The degree of heat applied therefore determines the survival of the nutrients in food. If the dehydrated food is not stored properly too, nutrient can be lost due to excessive heat and poor storage condition.
  • Change in Taste and Look: With high heat, the appetizing appearances of common meals change. In most cases, people are easily turned off when foods don’t wear the expected looks. When foods are dehydrated, the loss of water makes it shrink and the looks drastically change.
  • Technical Knowledge: Since not all foods are dehydrated in the same way or following the same pattern, dehydration requires technical knowledge in order to be carried out well. There is also the place of experience which gradually makes a person perfect in the art.

Why is Dehydration healthy?

Fresh radishes in water for cleaning, food safety concept

Dehydration is healthy for consumption because of the following reasons:

  • Retains Nutrients: As mentioned earlier, when we dehydrate foods, the nutrients in the food is one of our primary concerns. Unlike other methods of preservation, dehydration saves the nutrients in the dehydrated food, when it is carried out effectively.
  • Bacteria Free: Dehydrated foods are germ-free. When we keep these foods for a long period of time, they still maintain their healthy state.
  • No Addition of External Chemicals: The heat used to dehydrate food is the only external requirement for the process. This heat contains no chemicals or acids that may be dangerous for the food. Unlike some preservative methods which engage the addition of preservative chemicals, dehydration is a healthy choice for storing food.
  • Safe Handling: Since dehydration has nothing to do with handling dangerous chemicals or intense equipment, it is safe for the user to easily dehydrate. Dehydration can be done with the simplest household mechanical devices like oven, microwave or a dehydrator. The smoke or steam that escapes from dehydrating food is not unhealthy to the environment, unlike regular burning of waste products. This makes the process healthy. Feel free to learn more about a brief history of preserving foods.

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