Well, probably not—at least not completely. But there’s no doubt that without the ability to preserve foods by drying them, the Israelites wouldn’t have lasted very long in the desert. The reason drying food preserves it is that molds, yeast and bacteria all need water to grow. When foods are sufficiently dehydrated, microorganisms cannot grow and foods will not spoil. This time tested technique can not only help you keep your foods longer and make them smaller and portable for those long hikes and camping trips, it can make them darn tasty too. Sugars are concentrated in dried fruits making them sweet and delicious and the drying process overall brings out a richness of flavors that is truly wonderful.
What’s amazing is that dehydration hardly affects the nutritional value of foods at all, especially when the process takes place in your own home. When you dry foods in a dehydrator at home under gentle conditions, you produce a product far superior to anything that can be purchased in the grocery store. And compared to canning and freezing, which both involve extreme temperatures, food drying is the least damaging form of food preservation.
There is a minor loss in Vitamin C when food is dried because it is an air-soluble nutrient and food drying is an air-based process. Vitamin A is completely retained and minerals available in certain fresh fruits-such as potassium, sodium and magnesium are also not altered when the fruit is dried. The caloric value of food doesn’t change when it’s dehydrated either and dried fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and carbohydrates while being naturally low in fat.
So perhaps there’s something to the overall preservative effects of being dry. Moses was 120 after 40 years wandering around the desert and he’s just one of many centenarians in the Old Testament. I’m not making any promises, but I’m loading up on figs and long walks.