This title may seem like a stretch of the imagination and at the very least a gross over statement but you will have to admit that today’s family is being challenged from a variety of angles. Not the least of these angles would simply be quality time spent together. Family budgets are stretched the max. School and school activities are taking increasing amounts of valuable family time. Mom and Dad have to work more hours in the day just to make ends meet and the family sit down dinner is a concept that seems to have disappeared with the Cleavers. With all of these challenges and more happening every day to America’s families what is a parent to do? This may sound incredibly simplistic but here is one answer to this dilemma…purchase a food dehydrator.
Never before in our country’s history have our children been so far removed from the origins of their food. A recent poll showed that more than 87% of today’s urban, American school children have never set foot on a farm. When asked where there milk came from over half of the kids polled said "the supermarket". You will have to admit this is the rather pathetic outcome of our modern, urban, socio-economic family state. A home, kitchen food dehydrator can be an easy to use and very effective catalyst in this education gap. With a food dehydrator kids can have a literal, safe, hands-on experience with their food. This experience can undoubtedly open up a variety of other avenues to educate them about that specific food source that you may be working with. Food dehydration can be an inexpensive, visual in home or in classroom lesson on where our foods come from, how we get them and even how they, the kids themselves can prepare and eat them. By the way, the nutritional values of these foods that can be dried in a food dehydrator are without question far superior to much of the foods you will find in your supermarket. The various foods that can be dried in a modern food dehydrator range from fruits and vegetables to many different meat varieties.
Remember when we were kids and we played with our easy bake ovens or our creepy crawly ovens. We didn’t know it at the time but (maybe our parents did) we were learning to take a simple basic ingredient and transform it into an actual edible muffin or spider. These may have lacked nutritional quality and taste appeal but we didn’t care…we were creating and it was fun. This was an experience that we could share with our parents or the neighbor kids living around us. A food dehydrator can be a continuation of that experience. If you are fortunate enough to have a back yard garden, just think how satisfying it could be for you and your kids to take some of those garden goodies that they may have actually planted and turn them into great tasting snacks. You really don’t have to have a garden to experience this. Even if you have one tomato vine or a single mint plant growing somewhere around the house you can use your food dehydrator to transform this into a delicious, nutritious eating experience. Family time doesn’t have to be about trips to the mall or expensive theme parks. Quality family time, that is, the stuff your kids or grandkids will remember forever can be nothing more than creating tasty, nutritious memories with the help of your food dehydrator. These food dehydrators take up a minimal amount of kitchen counter space. They run at very low heat from 85 to 145 degrees therefore creating a very safe and low wattage cooking environment. Food prep may be as little as slicing the veggie or meat you are about to dehydrate and clean up can take no more than a minute or two.
One of the biggest complaints (if you could call it that) from back yard gardeners is that there is just too much. The bounty of their garden is more than they could ever eat themselves. This abundance is not unusual. It is more often than not, the norm. Once again, as a teaching tool for families and classrooms the food dehydrator could be used as a teaching catalyst to teach your kids how to give back to the less fortunate of society. Take a small portion of that garden’s abundance, from tomato slices to kale leaves (which can be dried into a delicious salted, crispy chip) and from apple slices to green pepper rings. All of these can be quickly, easily and cheaply dehydrated, put into a zip lock bag and given to your local Salvation Army or church food kitchen. This family teaching tool and giving experience can be priceless. Not to mention the appreciation and thankfulness of the organization you donate your box of healthy, dehydrated foods to.
Today’s modern family is facing a myriad of difficult obstacles which are forcing family members to spend more time apart. It is becoming much harder for our children to experience meaningful, creative, safe and inexpensive food cycle education. A food dehydrator just may be your most effective and wisest kitchen equipment purchase you could ever make. For the amount of money you will spend (most quality dehydrators are selling for between $100 to $175 dollars) the experiences and memories made can be priceless.