How Does a Prepper Use a Dehydrator for Food Storage? A Book Review and an Herbal Tea Recipe for You
Oh, my goodness! The boxes and bowls of fresh produce boiled across the kitchen counter last August. What on earth is a person to do with all the harvest? Canning is fine, although it's not my favorite method of food preservation. It's fairly time consuming, and because the food is heated or cooked first, the nutritional value isn't as dense as it could be. But dehydrating all that food? What a great option!
It involves prepping the food, then popping it into the dehydrator of your choice and letting the process happen. You're then left with dried foods of all kind that retain their nutritional value too! Perfect!
The art and science of dehydrating all kinds of foods is as old as mankind. There is evidence that in the Middle Ages, folks in Europe actually had special rooms that utilized the heat from a fire to dehydrate food that was strung across the room. Whether you consider yourself a prepper or not, dehydrating foods for later use is healthy and useful---plus it helps build up your food storage in a major way!
Ulysses Press recently sent me a copy of Shelle Wells new book, Prepper's Dehydrator Handbook. I was at first a little skeptical because I have a couple of favorite resources I already use for dehydrating foods, BUT I have to say....I am very impressed by the comprehensiveness of this book.
At any rate, here is my opinion, both the good and the bad, about this wonderful gift.
FTC Disclosure: There are affiliate links scattered throughout this article. If you click through and make any kind of purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you--Heidi (Full Disclosure here)
What I Love About The Prepper's Dehydrator Handbook:
1) It's Comprehensive
Shelle's book is extremely comprehensive, as I mentioned above. She explains the history of dehydration, why you should dehydrate your foods, different methods of dehydration (so you don't have to go out and purchase an expensive dehydrator if you don't want to), along with basic instructions.
She also discusses food purchasing and safety for different type of foods, how to store your dehydrated food, how to make fruit leathers (and we all LOVE those, right?), how to make jerky, plus how to dehydrate soups, powders and herbs.
There is a HUGE chapter on specific instructions for dehydrating 50 common fruits and vegetables, and THEN there are the recipes! Loads of them! From syrups to snacks to sides, drinks, desserts, and even entire entrees---she's got you covered in all ways so you know exactly what to do with all that food you've dehydrated!
2) Its Size
This book is quite compact, even though it has 183 pages. You can easily take it with you wherever you'd like to go. It would probably even fit into a large purse, so if you are a reader like I am and love to have something to read with you at all time--this book works!
3) The Voice and Tone
Shelle Wells has a great writing style that is easy to read. It almost sounds like she's talking to you, and I like that.
4) It's Practical
You know what? Shelle doesn't beleaguer the zombie apocolypse thing. Nope. This book is just plain practical. Even if you do not identify as a so-called "prepper," you will still love the way she relates the importance of using dehydration as a food preservation and storage method.
What I Didn't Like So Much:
The font is thin and very light against the color of the paper, making it a little difficult to read. I really didn't have a problem with this, but I think some others may. If this is the case for you, then you can also purchase the eBook version from Amazon Kindle. Anyhow, you can do the "look inside" option Amazon provides and to see if this may be an issue for you.
2) There is No Index
When I was choosing a recipe to try and then to share with you from the book, I chose the Rose hip and Mint Herbal Tea (because you know how I love my herbs!). When I tried to find the section for directions how to dehydrate rose hips, I couldn't easily find it. You see, drying rose hips and mint leaves is really two different animals!
However, she has a good section on how to dehydrate herbs in general. If you use some common sense, this is not really an issue---at least with the lack of rose hip information.
And Now, an Herbal Tea Recipe:
I promised you an herbal tea recipe, and I'm not going to disappoint! This recipe comes from page 167 and uses only two ingredients: dehydrated rose hips and dehydrated mint leaves. Here you go:
Rose Hip Mint Tea
"Rose hips have more vitamin C than most citrus fruits. They are sweet and could be used on their own to make a tea, but the addition of mint makes this drink even more refreshing. This recipe is also a great help with stomach ailments and flatulence."
***I love how she gives some background information! There's even more to this recipe as Shelle explains that you can go ahead and eat the rose hips after preparing the tea, as they are tasty and retain the nutrients! Nice!
1 teaspoon dried rose hips
1 teaspoon dried spearmint or peppermint
1 cups water
NOTE: The links above are for Starwest Botanicals, my favorite place to purchase medicinal and culinary herbs and spices.
1) Add the mint and rose hips to a French press or teapot and pour in 1 cup of hot water. You can grind the rose hips if you want to.
2) Cover and steep for 10 to 15 minutes (I personally would steep a little longer because I like strong tea). "The longer you steep, the deeper the flavor and color will be."
Final Thoughts About the Prepper's Dehydrator Handbook
If you are new to dehydrating foods, this is a great book! If you know just the basics of food dehydration and storage, but want to go deeper into making jerkeys, leathers, soups, etc. then this book is a Must Have.
Shelle's book is a valuable addition to my collection of resources on the homestead! I hope you'll check it out because I believe dehydrating food is one of the best ways to get your food storage going while retaining the nutritional value of the foods.
Do you love to dehydrate your foods? Share your thoughts in the comments section! :-)
Hugs, Health, and Self-Reliance,
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