University of Missouri Extension

GH1564, Reviewed May 2015

Quality for Keeps: How to Use Dried Foods

Qualiity for keepsSusan Mills-Gray
State Nutrition Specialist

Dried vegetables and fruits provide convenient and delicious additions to family meals. They can be used alone, in combination with other foods, or as an accent to add flavor. Most uses require that the food be rehydrated, usually referred to as refreshing.

Refreshing is done by soaking or cooking (or a combination of both) the dried food in water until the desired volume is restored. The amount of water and the length of time needed to refresh 1 cup of dried food can be found in Table 1. If properly pretreated with steam or water blanching before drying, vegetables need a minimum of refreshing. Vegetables such as spinach, kale, cabbage, chard or tomatoes are refreshed by covering with hot water and simmering to desired tenderness. Root, stem and seed vegetables are soaked 1/2 to 1-1/2 hours in enough cold water to keep them immersed. After soaking, they are simmered until tender, and excess water is allowed to evaporate. If dried vegetables are added to boiling water, refreshing takes less time.

Dried fruits are soaked in hot water and then cooked, if appropriate, in the soaking water. If extra water is needed for preparation, it can be added after the soaking period.

Do not add sugar until fruit is tender, because sugar will toughen the product.

Dehydrated vegetables are best used as ingredients for soups, casseroles, sauces and stews. However, they may be served alone with the addition of butter, cheese sauce or herbs to enhance flavor. Dried vegetables that have been refreshed take less time to cook than fresh vegetables. Vegetables should be simmered to the desired degree of firmness.

Dried fruits can be eaten as is or refreshed and cooked until tender. Spices or flavorings such as cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg can be used to enhance flavor. Dried fruits can be used in cobblers, breads, pies or puddings.

Dried foods should be refreshed only when ready to use. Do not store rehydrated foods. Drying temperatures are not high enough to destroy all microbes, and after rehydration spoilage can occur quickly.

Table 1
Refreshing dried food.

To 1 cup dried beans, green snap

To 1 cup dried beets

To 1 cup dried carrots

To 1 cup dried cabbage

To 1 cup dried corn

To 1 cup dried okra

To 1 cup dried onions

To 1 cup dried peas, green

To 1 cup dried squash

To 1 cup dried spinach

To 1 cup dried sweet potatoes

To 1 cup dried turnip greens and other greens

To 1 cup dried apples

To 1 cup dried pears

To 1 cup dried peaches

For vegetables, use boiling water; for fruits, use water at room temperature.

Campfire corn chowder

4 to 6 generous servings


Note for backpackers
Save trouble by mixing dry milk, flour, salt and pepper before leaving home.

Creamed corn

6 servings


Corn fritters


Pork and apple bake

Rehydrate dried apple rings by soaking 1 hour or until soft in boiling water (just enough to cover). Brown pork chops, season, and pour off grease. Arrange one-layer deep in a casserole. Cover chops with apple slices; add water in which apples were soaked and enough more to barely cover chops. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes.

Winter corn pudding

6 servings


Green bean casserole

4 servings


Place in one-quart casserole. Top with bread crumbs or french fried onion rings. Bake in 325 degrees F oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

Vegetable soup


Add 1/2 cup cooked rice, noodles or barley with the other ingredients, or add 1/4 to 1/2 cup dried jerky, cut in bite-size pieces. Using low-sodium soup granules or bouillon cubes will allow people on low-sodium diets to enjoy this versatile recipe.

Beef vegetable soup


Instant soup cup


Apple pie

Crumb topping


Either sweet or sour apples may be used in drying. Sweet apples such as Red Delicious are used for sweet schnitz (dried apples), and the peel is left on to ensure a rich flavor. If a tart flavor is preferred, use late-fall or early winter fully matured apples. No research is available on the suitability of current commercial varieties of apples. Dry a small amount of a variety, and test by using it in one of your favorite recipes before drying large amounts of that variety.

Apple coffee cake


18 servings


Table 1 and recipes from Home Drying of Foods, Information Bulletin 120, Revised edition, 1983. Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.
GH1564 Quality for Keeps: How to Use Dried Foods | University of Missouri Extension

Order publications online at or call toll-free 800-292-0969.

University of Missouri Extension - print indicia