Food drying is a method of preserving food. The food is dried (either dehydrated or desiccated). Drying stops the growth of bacteria and fungi by removing water. These micro-organisms, which cause food to spoil, need water to survive.
This method of preserving food has been used since ancient times. The earliest known practice is 12,000 BC by people in the Middle East and Asia.
Water is traditionally removed through evaporation by drying the food in the air, sun or in smoke. A great variety of drying techniques are now used.
Many different foods can be preserved by drying. Meat and fish are preserved through such traditional methods as drying, smoking and salting.
Images for kids
1890 newspaper advertisement showing tin of dried coconut
This electric food dehydrator has a hot air blower that blows air through trays with foods on them. Pictured are mango and papaya slices being dried.
A whole potato, sliced pieces (right), and dried sliced pieces (left), 1943.