Reed mat drying rack. Currently drying greens and fungi. Greens need to be dried in the shade to preserve nutrients.

Without refrigeration and options like canning foods, it is important to find ways to keep foods viable for the seasons when they aren’t available. Many greens are bundled and hung to dry, other items use other means of drying on various kinds of racks. It is important that greens are dried in the shade to preserve their vitamins and minerals. Fruits, on the other hand, dry well in the sun. Fruits can be cut and dried as they are, or mashed and spread thin to dry as a fruit leather.

Summer squash drying on rack.

Cattail mat drying rack drying commercial blueberries, wild red huckleberries and St. John’s Wort. I made this rack to hang since I was having problems with birds stealing the berries from a stationary rack.

Drying rack with beef strips. I used this rack to dry just as is, or covered and put over a smoky fire to smoke just on a campfire. Came out great either way. The smoking helped with the yellow jackets- unless I was drying turkey- they were savages about that no matter what I tried!

Meats are another problem since it can’t be kept fresh for long. The best options in a primitive situation is through drying or smoking. In either case, the meat is cut into thin strips and suspended to dry. When smoking, a low fire with green wood is used to add flavor to the meat. When finished, both can be eaten as is or can be added to stews to re-hydrate.

Fully dried and ready to eat or to break into pieces and re-hydrate in stew or soup.