Dehydrated food became a major source of the American diet during World War I. When our country actively entered the War in 1917 - sending troops and a steady stream of supplies to Europe - dried food made up a good portion of nutritional supplied that were shipped abroad. Billboards of the time shouted the slogan: "Food will win the War." Dehydrated food did its share!
As the Roaring '20s, "the era of nonsense," rolled in with its flappers and speakeasies, interest in drying food dropped off. It rekindled as the 1930s Great Depression crashed down upon the nation. People couldn't afford or find the supplies needed for canning so many returned to drying to preserve what food they had. The urgent requirements of war supplies and materials set off another surge of drying during World War II. Food was rationed and every bit preseved as a step toward victory. With the rationing of sugar and the disappearance of canning supplies, homemakers relied heavily on drying as their main method of food preservation. The federal government developed a self-help program which made solar dehydrator plans available to citizens so they could dry their "Victory Garden" goods. Many commercial drying plants opened in this country to provide the necessary food for the free world. Dehydrated produce was a practical way to supply overseas troops; it was lightweight, easy to transport, and did not spoil. In fact, dried food continues to be used today by the armed forces and the space program.