Occasionally, I'm asked, "Why blanch vegetables before dehydrating?" We do this important step for certain vegetables before dehydrating for two particular reasons:
One: It’s important that we deter the food-spoiling process caused by enzymes being present in the vegetables. To kill the enzymes and to have your dehydrated food last longer, we use the food blanching technique.
Two: It aids in the actual food dehydrating process. I’ll go more into that shortly on this page.
Blanching simply means dipping foods into small amounts of boiling water for a short period of time. Remember, we're not cooking the food here - so a short period of time really only means less than a minute!
For vegetables that have relatively thick skins (that we want to keep/eat), blanching creates tiny cracks in the skins. These tiny surface cracks help dehydration to occur at a much deeper penetration level that’s more than just surface-skin deep.
For proper long-term storage, you must make sure the food you dehydrate has been “dried to the core,” if you will. Why? You don’t want to end up with moist centers! A moist center will create a breeding ground for mold. And sometimes moist centers are simply NOT visible in large pieces of vegetables with thick skins.
Of course we can alleviate that problem by cutting our vegetables into strips prior to dehydrating.
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Make sure to add an oxygen absorber to your dehydrated food packages, prior to vacuum-sealing. Oxygen absorbers do what their name implies: they absorb oxygen. This in turn helps inhibit mold growth which is an essential factor for long-term food storage!
Another reason for blanching vegetables is that blanching helps retain the beautiful color of your vegetables. Your zucchini and broccoli will remain bright green! Your carrots will remain a vivid orange! You get the picture. Blanching also helps retain flavor.
If you’re just starting out on your food dehydrating journey, make sure you get our free eBook, “Six Simple Steps.” It takes you through the six necessary steps to dehydrate food safely at home.
Look, before the next big thing comes down the pike, like COVID-19 - or Ebola and the like - make sure your food pantry is well-stocked. Avoid those empty sorry-looking shelves at the grocery store.