Preserving food by drying is old as mankind. Laying meat and berries out in the open air served people well for thousands of years, and the technique still works. The process can be as simple as hanging fish in the sun as the traditional Inuit people did or laying meat above a rack on a smoking fire. While the basic concept of drying food has not changed, there are now helpful appliances available to help the process of dehydrating food.
Dehydration is an alternative to canning and freezing fruits and vegetables when you don't have the canning equipment of freezer space. Dehydration is a low-cost way to preserve food. Dried foods take up less storage space and no freezer to keep running.
Some benefits of drying your own food are saving money, by drying your own food from your garden, taking advantage of vegetables/fruits in season when they are less expensive at the store. You can create your own food supply which, in a financial crisis or when a natural disaster strikes, can be like money in the bank. When you dry your own food you know there are no chemical additives which are added to commercially dried foods, ie meat products such as jerky and some dried fruits to preserve the colour. When food is dried correctly it still contains all of its enzymes as well as vitamins and minerals as there has been no damage done by heating.
You can dry fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, herbs, flowers, and much more, including frozen and canned foods. In fact, you can dry almost anything that contains water-items you may never have considered, such as tofu. See my post on Tofu Jerky !
dehydrated foods for hiking trip
Dried foods are also very handy for those who go camping or hiking regularly as they are convenient, light and easily carried and stored. A couple of years ago my daughter went on a long hiking trip. I dehydrated food for her trip and was able to pack a month's worth of food into one large shoe box. The food packed into the box was - tofu jerky, bananas, strawberries, kiwi, mango, apple, red/green cabbage, onions, carrots, various beans/legumes (chick, kidney, black, black-eye peas, lentils etc), garlic, turnip, various squash, pineapple, ginger, various mushrooms, red/green peppers, and cheese.