Dehydrated Vegetables – Nutritious and Economical!
Fresh produce, both fruits and vegetables, are an important part of a well-balanced diet. Getting farm fresh vegetables is easy during peak harvest months, but how do you continue to keep your vegetable intake up in the dead of winter? Dried vegetables are easy to use, affordable and convenient – a perfect way to get your daily dose of vegetables without having to pay higher prices for produce grown half way across the country or around the world.
Dried or dehydrated vegetables are simply fresh vegetables that have undergone a preservation process known as dehydration. This preservation method removes 75-95% of moisture from a fresh vegetable. Removing the moisture prevents the produce from spoiling, allowing it to be kept for a longer period of time. Dried vegetables should be stored in a cool, dark and dry place to prevent moisture from re-entering the produce. While dehydration removes moisture from the produce, it does not change the calorie content and keeps many of the essential vitamins and nutrients safely intact.
While dried vegetables can be eaten raw, most people prefer to rehydrate them before using. The vegetables can be rehydrated in two different ways. The easiest, especially if using them in soups or stews, is to add them directly to the rest of the ingredients and let them simmer with the stock. The vegetables will plump up during cooking - just be sure to add some extra liquid to the recipe to replace the liquid that the vegetables will soak up.
The second way to rehydrate is to soak the vegetables in cold water for 1-2 hours, or until they reach the tenderness you desire. The soaked vegetables can then be used in casseroles or other recipes that don’t require much liquid.
The bulk food aisle provides shoppers with a number of dried vegetables to choose from. Most are perfect for making soups, sauces and stews. The selection includes a variety of mushrooms, carrots, peppers, onions and tomatoes and pre-blended mixtures like soup greens and vegetable flakes. Skip time-consuming prep work by using pre-blended mixtures like soup greens and mixed vegetable flakes in soups and stews. No washing, chopping, slicing or dicing - simply add the prepared vegetables to the pot and let them plump!
To explore what kinds of dried vegetables you can find in bulk food aisles, visit the Variety section of our website and click on the Products icon!
- USA Emergency Supply. “All About Dehydrated Vegetables.” https://www.usaemergencysupply.com/information_center/all_about_dehydrated_vegetables.htm
- “How do I Use Dehydrated Vegetables.” Harmony House Foods. http://www.harmonyhousefoods.com/assets/images/default/Other/UsingDehy2.pdf
- Kendall, P., DiPersio, P., Sofos, J. “Drying Vegetables.” http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09308.html