Removing the water

Like all living things, the microbes on food need water to survive. Dehydrate the food, and the bugs won't reproduce, which means the food stays edible longer. That's the rationale behind raisins, prunes, and pemmican, a dried mix of meat, fat, and berries adapted from East Coast Native Americans and served to 18th- and 19th-century sailors of every national stripe. Dehydration (loss of water) occurs when food is

  • Exposed to air and sunlight
  • Heated for several hours in a very low (250 degrees Fahrenheit) oven or is smoked (the smokehouse acts as a very low oven)

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