A lot of people nowadays go into gardening. You might think that only bored old people do it, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is, people (yes, even young ones) go into gardening because it has a lot of benefits.
One of the main reasons that people set up their own garden is because it allows one to live a more sustainable life. No matter which angle you look it from, having your own garden will allow you to save more than when buying produce from the grocery store.
Aside from this, having your own garden would also allow you to have more control over what you eat. Farmers, especially those who produce for business, uses all sorts of chemicals on their plants to make them grow fast or to make them produce bigger fruits. These chemicals can be very harmful especially when the produce are not washed properly before eating, and they can make you sick. When you plant your own fruits or vegetables, you are 100% sure that they’re all grown naturally and they weren’t sprayed any kind of chemicals.
Of course, gardening – for many people – is therapeutic. As one gardener puts it “the cyclical nature of gardening and being part of it is simply magical”. My grandma used to have a garden, and I never quite understood why she loved it so much until I had a garden of my own. There’s nothing like seeing something grow from a seed into a full grown plant through your hands.
The kind of plants that one can grow in a garden is almost endless. While putting up a shrub garden is quite popular, more and more people are choosing herb and vegetable gardens for the simple reason that they don’t too much space. Fruit garden is a favorite too although you might need a bigger space than your backyard if you want to grow different kinds of fruits.
If there’s a problem with growing herbs and vegetables (including fruits), it’s that you have too much produce during season that you don’t really know what to do with it. Some gives it away (which is okay but it’s actually greater if you could use them for when you ran out) or worst, the produce just sits on the kitchen until they go bad and you throw them away.
Good thing that there are several ways to preserve produce, with freezing and dehydrating on top of the list.
Freezing is a relatively easy option, although most vegetables would require blanching before they can be frozen. Blanching is the process of “cooking” the vegetables in boiling hot water for a minute or two to stop the enzyme that keeps vegetables ripening. It also helps get rid of the bacteria from the dirt and it slows vitamins and minerals loss.
Fruits, as well as herbs can also be frozen in order to preserve them. While freezing is a very wonderful way to preserve food, I wouldn’t say that it doesn’t have its downsides. Having a freezer dedicated to preservation, for instance, is needed if you are going to freeze large batches of food. A freezer can be very expensive you know, not to mention the electricity needed to keep it running. People with a small space may also want to look for another way to reserve produce as a freezer is bulky and would take a large amount of space.
Food dehydrating, on the other hand, is a much excellent way to preserve foods. By definition, dehydrating is the process of drying foods out of its water content to stop it from rotting. The best way to dehydrate is by using a food dehydrator, which is a small home appliance designed to blow slow, warm air.
The process of dehydrating fruits, vegetables and herbs is almost the same. With fruits and vegetables, you just have to slice them thinly and arrange them on the dehydrator trays. Herbs are almost the same except that there’s no cutting needed.
The great thing with dehydrating is that it doesn’t take a lot of space, especially when you go for a square dehydrator. You can keep it in a cupboard when you’re done so it doesn’t get in the way – an excellent choice if you have a small space. Even the dehydrated produce won’t take space as they actually shrink after dehydration.
Dehydrated food can last for months, and even for a year when kept in a cool, dark place. Just make sure to use air-tight containers for storing so moisture don’t get inside. This means you can always use them whenever – even when they’re not in season anymore. Have yummy fruit chips or even warm soup with your favorite herbs during winter!
More and more people are seeing the advantage in food dehydration, especially those who are practicing raw foodism. If you want to just be able to preserve produce conveniently, then food dehydration might just be the best option for you.