You may have seen my articles on dehydrating and re-hydrating corn and wondered why anyone would want to or need to dehydrate food. Dehydrating foods for long term storage just makes sense! "But, why?" you may ask. Well, hold on to your seat because I'm about to tell you!
First of all, I may have done things a little backwards, but that's just me. I should have explained the benefits of dehydrating food for long term food storage before I posted my articles on dehydrating/re-hydrating frozen corn. I was just so excited to have my new food dehydrator and so anxious to use it and share the experience with you that I got ahead of my self. It was just me being me.
The history of food dehydration
Before we get started on the benefits of dehydrating food, I want to give you a little bit of history on it. Food dehydration is actually the oldest form of food preservation. A long, long time ago (way before electricity and refrigerators/freezers were invented) people needed to store their food. They didn't go to the store and buy their food, they hunted and killed their own meat and grew their own vegetables. At some point in time they learned that if they ate the meat several days after catching and cooking it, it would make them sick and some would even die from eating it. Somehow (I believe it was God who showed them) they learned that if they cut the meat and set it out in the sun on a flattish hot rock it would dry it up and they could eat it for days and not get sick. The heat from the sun and the wind circulating around the meat would remove the moisture from it (dry it out) and it would remain consumable for quite some time.
Then along came the Native American Indians, who lived in the Northern United States, and they learned that they could dry their meat out faster by allowing smoke to circulate around the meat. They also learned that they could use this method with their herbs, vegetables, and fish. Today, we refer to that as "smoking" food. The low heat, smoke, and circulating air would dry out their food and preserve it long enough for them to make it through the hard winters.