Book Review: The Beginner's Guide to Making and Using Dried Foods

Title: The Beginner's Guide to Making and Using Dried Foods: Preserve Fresh Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs, and Meat with a Dehydrator, a Kitchen Oven, or the Sun
Author: Teressa Marrone
Storey Publishing, LLC
To be published July 11, 2014
Thanks to Net Galley and Storey Publishing for an advanced reader copy


     The length of a title says something about the length of the book. At 352 pages, Marrone can use the first 67 pages just to talk  about the basics of drying foods including temperatures and creating your own home dehydrator how to's. If I could put this much detail in my dissertation I would be a happy camper. This is a textbook of preservation knowledge and most useful for those people that want to make dehydration a passion project or a money maker. Everything you need to know or didn't know you needed to know is right here.

Ready to dehydrate? Chapter 4 starts with fruits, from apples to watermelons. True to the methodical, throrough nature of the rest of the book, the author takes you alphabetically through the fruits starting with an intro, preparation methods, drying methods for the three common types of drying: dehydrator/convection oven, sun drying or non-convection oven. In addition, for each fruit, get information on the doneness test, yield and ways to use it. Thorough.

I like to read food books like novels rather than like manuals, so I am a sucker for author's voice. Here's my favorite example of voice:
Grapes (Raisins) First a bit of advice: If you have to purchase grapes from the supermarket, it's probably not worth your time to dehydrate them. Raisins are available everywhere, at a good price. . (89).
Not just thorough, practical! I love that. Seriously, though, this really is a textbook on drying and dehydrating: fruits, vegetables, herbs & spices, meat & poultry, leathers, baby foods & prepared foods, snacks, cereals gift foods. I think this is a must have door stop type of reference rather than on my e-reader.

Admittedly the amount of words were just too much until I looked at this as a way to preserve food, not, like my kale chips, as a way to eat food dehydrated because raw is yucky. It appeals to my thrifty nature of not allowing what we have in abundance to spoil.

Now if I could just get free electricity.


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