stocking dehydrated foods

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by quiet mountain farmer, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. quiet mountain farmer

    quiet mountain farmer Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone else here make a habit of keeping a regular stock of dehydrated foods, and use them right along with the fresh foods, year round? I began this as an emergency stock for winters when we go months without getting out. As I went along, I grew fond of the easy vegetables (handful out of a can) and the easy seasonings, etc. The kids love my oatmeal when I put a handful of freeze-dried fruit in it, if I run out of canned fruit. My stock keeps rotated, because of our steady use. Nothing gets too old. If an emergency comes up, we will not only have the food, but I'll know how to cook with it.

    It's fun for me. Am I alone here?
     
  2. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    I plan to start this soon...but have yet to find the time. It would have come in very handy during the last 4 hurricanes as frozen goods didn't fare nearly as well as dried would have. Besides dehydrated foods are so much lighter to haul on camping trips and don't take up as much room in the pantry.
     

  3. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    We don't use much milk so frequently run out. Consequently, I use dry milk for cooking a lot.

    I like the dehydrated onions, too - very easy and no tears!

    I've dehydrated some broccoli, peas, and onions from the garden so far this year. I've also dried some herbs - basil, chamomile, and hyssop. I am planning on drying marjoram, oregano, and thyme too. Oh, yes, and a variety of peppers both sweet and hot.

    I plan to try dehydrating carrots, squash, and corn, too. Don't think I'll mess with tomatoes - I want to try my hand at catsup and tomato sauce instead. Might try potatoes. (This is my first year with a dehydrator and it shows!)

    I like dehydrated items because they don't take energy to store (like frozen), they don't take up a lot of space (like canned and frozen) but... they don't keep as long as either canned *or* frozen.

    This is a good thread! I'm interested in hearing what others go through quickly enough to make dried a viable option.
     
  4. cindyc

    cindyc Well-Known Member

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    I have dehydrated potatoes, carrots, kale, onions (bagged together in a soup mix). Dehydrated lots of onions, and potatos individually, b/c that is what I had. Works well. Walton's (The store) says that dehydrated foods keep more of their nutrients than either frozen or canned.

    This is my first year, too. I did some without blanching, which I found out later was a big no-no. So I had to use it instead of storing it.

    Cindyc.
     
  5. Ramblin Wreck

    Ramblin Wreck Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think you are right on track. Given that the sun can be your energy source for drying and that no refrigeration is needed for preservation, it seems a very wise path to follow. I've taken some mini steps at dehydration, but I need/want to do more.
     
  6. quiet mountain farmer

    quiet mountain farmer Well-Known Member

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    Oh, what a lovely response! I'm just having so much fun with it, that I wanted to share, and see if anyone else was. I admire those of you who are doing the dehydrating yourselves. I haven't gotten that far. The initial purchase, to stock up all at once was expensive, but ever since, I keep a check list, and when I run out of a can, I check it, to order soon. Now THAT is manageable!

    This month, I'm going to begin making my own pizza. I just need the shell, and I'll buy that at first. I have all the makings - from sausage crumbles, pepperoni chunks, ham bits, you name it, to four kinds of freeze-dried shredded cheese, even to freeze-dried pineapple to go with the ham one. I have pizza sauce mix... my mouth is watering!
     
  7. katlupe

    katlupe Off-The-Grid Homesteader Supporter

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    I love the dehydrated foods. I buy them from Emergency Preparedness and they are really good. We tried many different types to see what we really like. Love the diced carrots, corn, green beans (tasted like fresh! loved them!). We didn't really care much for some of the fruits, but used them in muffins and they were fine. I didn't like the scrambled eggs, but dh and ds liked them fine. I used the whole eggs in cooking.

    So I guess to answer your question, I like to use them like you did. Incorporate them into my everyday cooking and purchase them more often. I love their whole wheat honey bread & roll mix and purchase that by the case, the drink mixes (peach is the best!), dh loves the orange whey (tastes like a creamsicle!). I have many more to try.

    Whatever you do though, don't buy the dehyrdated ice cream bars!!! We found them not to dehyrdrate very well......

    katlupe
     
  8. wvpeach1963

    wvpeach1963 WVPEACH (Paula)

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    Lots of good info. I learned from all the posts
    I too just got a dehydrator.

    I am taking baby steps and finding places to store all my dried goody's

    While eyeing dry butter from a preparedness site.

    Anybody ever tryed the dry butter. We run out all the time would be great to have a five gallon tub around.
     
  9. DW

    DW plains of Colorado Supporter

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    I, too, want to start doing this for all the good reasons mentioned. My husband says so I don't fill up the freezer with zucchini...so, has anyone dried zucchini??
     
  10. halfpint

    halfpint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I like dehydrating and use the items for making soups, stews and extras in the roast pots. They're already cut and no processing is needed before throwing them in the pot. I often run out before I restock, as I try to dehydrate what is on sale or abundant in my garden.
    Dawn
     
  11. busybee870

    busybee870 Well-Known Member

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    how do you dehydrate the potaoes?
     
  12. cindyc

    cindyc Well-Known Member

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    Slice them (thin if possible), blanch them, dehydrate them. That is all there is to it. Pretty easy. They really taste good when "reconsituted", too.
    Cindyc.
     
  13. Suburbanhmstedr

    Suburbanhmstedr Well-Known Member

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    Ooh, so glad to see this thread! Thanks to searching the archives, I just bought an Excalibur 5 tray, and started this weekend! I dehydrated 10 ears of local corn and one onion. I'm really excited to make more.

    so, what do you store your dehydrated foods in? So far, I've been putting them in canning jars.
     
  14. Bink

    Bink Well-Known Member

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    I'm dehydrating some onions and some cayenne right now. Will probably do some tomatoes when they start coming in heavy, and carrots, too. Some nasty little red grubs ate our potato plants down to the ground, so no dried tates, I don't think, unless I dry the store bought.

    Smells oniony in here. Mmm...
     
  15. Tabitha

    Tabitha greenheart

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    looks like I have to dry my onions or they will all rot. Heaven knows what's the matter with them, but the neighbors have the same problem. In th epast I have dried fruit, pears, peaches, apples in the back of a stationwagon standing in the sun. works good. I think the old van will make a great solar dryer.
     
  16. farmmaid

    farmmaid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    How do you all store the goodies?...Joan
     
  17. PinkBat

    PinkBat Well-Known Member

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    I put the dehydrated fruits and veggies into freezer bags and then into a large plastic storage container from Wal Mart. Be sure to store them in the dark.

    To answer someone else's question about zucchini. I just sliced and dehydrated without blanching. I sliced some 1/8" for snacking as chips.....and sliced some 1/4" for regular cooking.
     
  18. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    I ended up buying a dehydrator. In the summer time, when produce is available in the garden or at a reasonable price, the humidity where I live runs 85-98 percent. I absolutely cannot dry on screens in the sun here. It will all just mold.

    For most folks, though, solar dehydration is a great inexpensive way to preserve food. Just a little fuel for blanching, and some screens or cloth for drying.
     
  19. emulkahi1

    emulkahi1 Well-Known Member

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    There was an article in the most recent issue of Mother Earth News about dehydrated foods. The guy that wrote it had built a solar dehydrator (gave the instructions so you could build one too)...pretty cool thing. Now I want one :p. Apparently he just washed the produce, sliced it up and put it in the drier...no blanching or anything. He said his stuff would typically store in airtight containers for up to one year. (The picture showed his veggies, etc stored in glass jars)

    I really like the idea of it...preserving food w/o using tons (or any) of electricity. Canning always makes my kitchen so hot, what with the stove running full bore to boil the hot water bath. And, of course, having a stocked freezer is great but it makes me a nervous wreck about losing power to it (which has happened to us before :Bawling: ).

    Erin

    edited to add: TH, I wonder if the enclosed dehydrator in the article would work despite the humidity? They didn't talk about that in the article. Out here in MT, the humidity is often down below 20%, but I imagine that mold problem would exist in many areas of the country. But anyway, w/ your electric dehydrator...that solves the problem completely, eh :p?
     
  20. kitaye

    kitaye Well-Known Member

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    Nope, not alone. I started dehydrating extra veggies and fruit when we ran out of space for jars of canned goods. I hate wasting perfectly good food because I don't have a good way to store it. I've gotten to the point of buying extra of anything I don't grow myself so I can dry it and put it away for later. Love adding it to stews on the woodstove in winter.