I am a firm believer in redundancy. If the unprocessed manure ever is flung into the air oscillating device its going to be a bad day. As such, it’s not a stretch to think that some of your safety net may acquire some holes.
While I do have canned food in my pantry. Canned food is heavy. It takes up space. Additionally, most canned food contains lots of sodium. I do have some frozen food, but if I loose power, that food will spoil first. Besides, my freezer isn’t that big and I would rather fill the space with ice cream than frozen peas.
Why Dehydrate Food
Food dehydration is a good way to store excess food without a lot of waste or weight.
Dehydrating vegetables allow them to last longer, take up less space, with less weight. You can dehydrate your own vegetables with minimal processing or expense. 4 bags of frozen vegetables dehydrate down to fit in a single mason jar, ad water and they plump back up to almost the original size. In an emergency, a pack filled with dehydrated food and access to water can be a lifesaver. In later posts we will be making a solar dehydrator and working with meat to make jerked meat and possibly Biltong which is a special slightly fermented jerky from Africa.
Some Essential Steps Before Dehydrating
The problem with dehydrating vegetables is that some vegetables need processing, either by blanching, or by adding acid or some other solution to keep them from oxidizing. If you have ever ate an apple and looked disgustingly at the brown spots you have seen oxidization. By soaking or dipping your potato or apple slices in lemon juice you can prevent the unsightly discoloration.
Some vegetables like corn or beans need to be blanched before dehydrating. Blanching is an essential process for dehydrating or freezing any vegetable except onions, peppers, and mushrooms. To blanch vegetables, you cut them into the size you need, then briefly boil them until they are just cooked, then quickly dip them in ice water to stop the cooking process. Blanching kills the enzymes in the vegetables so they do not loose flavor or texture.
Tip for Dehydrating Cheap Frozen Vegetables
A tip you will see in the video below is that if you dehydrate commercially frozen vegetables they are already prepared by blanching so you can throw then straight from the bag into a single layer on your dehydrator.
Once the vegetables are dry, you can then store them in mason jars or other air tight container. It is important that there be NO moisture allowed in the jar, as the dehydrated food will readily spoil if allowed to get wet. Botulism spores present on your vegetables can also begin to grow and produce their deadly toxin if they are vacuum sealed in a moist environment. Make sure you have thoroughly dried your vegetables at 130º. Beans, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Corn, Mushrooms, Onions, Peas, Potatoes, Tomatoes, and the like should be dried until brittle. Beets and Sweet Peppers can be dried until leathery.
Uses are almost limitless, if you have some imagination. Tomatoes can be ground after dehydrating, and then depending on the water added can be used to make a paste, a sauce, or a soup. Paprika is a variety of pepper that is then dried and ground to make a spice. Feel free to experiment with your dehydrator and see what you like and what you don’t.
At our house we cook a lot of stews, soups, and chili’s which is provides the perfect environment for cooking with dried vegetables.
Use these dehydrated vegetables, cut down gallon Mylar bags sealed with a homemade bag clamp to make meal mixes that can be cooked straight from the bag with water as the only additional ingredient. This is perfect for emergency rations, and simple meals during the work week.