Dried foods are foods that have undergone a process that has made them unavailable for human consumption. Although dried foods do not retain much value for us, we do use dried products in our daily lives. We may purchase dried fruits from a market, dry meat from a butcher, or even use dried herbs to make teas and desserts. These products are commonly referred to as ‘drying foods’.
Dried foods, such as apples, dates, and prunes, cannot be kept in our refrigerator because they lose moisture very quickly. Because they lose so quickly, it would take hours, even days, for dried fruits or vegetables to dehydrate enough to be consumed. Fruits and vegetables can only be stored on dry places, such as shelves in cabinets, freezers, or outdoor grills. Dried foods are also commonly dehydrated using dry heat methods such as ovens, dehydrators, or gasification. Dried foods are still not safe to eat, as there is always the risk of microbial contamination.
Dried meats are similar to fresh meats: they are most often flavored with salt or marjoram but will lose moisture content over time. The moisture content of many dried foods will be similar to that of their fresh counterparts soft dried pineapple, but they will lose moisture content over time. Fruits and vegetables will retain their moisture content for months, even years. Therefore, dried fruits and vegetables can be preserved for long periods of time, similar to how they are preserved in fresh produce. However, to preserve these products, they will need to be processed using methods that preserve the moisture content, such as freezing.
Dried fruits and vegetables will never lose moisture and are safe to eat. They are perfect for freezing, as long as they are eaten after the tree or plant has grown. In fact, many people store dried foods in the fall for unexpected emergencies. Dried meat can also be used as a meat substitute, as it is more healthy than fresh meat. It is also a great addition to soups, stews, or chili, since it adds texture and flavor.
Some people use the moisture content of dried foods to determine when to purchase them. Certain types of vegetables will spoil more quickly than others. Also, some foods will last longer than others if they are dried at a high enough moisture level. Dried potatoes, for example, will last a long time if they are dried at 70% moisture content. However, dried apples will spoil more quickly and can lose moisture completely if stored at all.
There are many ways to prevent spoilage with dried foods. Depending on the type of product, it may be necessary to store the product in the freezer, or wrap and air-dry. Dried tomatoes should be stored in a cool, dark place. Most other items can be stored at room temperature but will spoil sooner if stored at too high of a temperature.