I know it seems like such a basic thing to most homesteader/prepper types, but I haven’t identified as either of these for very long so this business of dehydrating and storing food I’ve grown is a new adventure for me!
It was rainy yesterday (melting all our snow!) and there just wasn’t much to do since I didn’t feel like getting any more wet and muddy than necessary after already finding a muddy mess waiting for me in the form of seven very dirty pups who wanted to jump on me outside and mud puddles forming in the poultry pens, right where I have to walk (of course).
So I came in, vowed not to go back out until either the snow returned or spring came and decided it would be a good day to do something with all the potatoes we harvested from our garden that I have stored down in our little root cellar (aka the dark, cool space under the stairs).
I’d kept quite a few potatoes in a burlap sack down there and to my surprise they were still just as fresh as the day we dug them up, but I know that isn’t going to last forever so I thought dehydrating and then vacuum sealing them would be a good way to store them for long term.
I don’t want all our hard work to go to waste!
Dehydrating them wasn’t hard, but it was a bit more work than I expected. I learned quickly from my research that you can’t just slice them and pop them into the dehydrator. There are a couple steps you have to take first.
Step One: Peeling and citric acid wash
I chose to peel mine, mostly because when I go to reuse them I prefer them to not have peels for things like mashed and au gratin potatoes.
I picked just a few out that were relatively the same size, trying to guess how many would fit into my little dehydrator.
Once I peeled them, I put a quarter teaspoon of citric acid into some cold water (to keep them from turning brown) and put my slicer right over the top of the bowl to make it easier.
I peeled one and sliced it immediately before moving onto the next. It’s hard to see, but there were three potatoes sliced into the water there.
By the time I got to the top of the water, I was up to six potatoes total and figured that was a good amount to work with.
Step Two: Blanching and rinsing
Next, I needed to blanch them for about 5 minutes, because that’s what everyone who knows how to do it says to do it. Since I’m no expert, I trust they know what they’re talking about!
I actually put the water on to boil just before starting the peeling and slicing, which was perfect timing as it was ready to go when I was ready to pop them in.
Five minutes later and they were firm but blanched, so I drained them with a strainer and then rinsed them off in cold water, as I was instructed to do.
Once that part was finished I made sure not to dry them off, as per all the tutorials I read.
Next, they went into the dehydrator.
Step Three: Dehydrate and wait
Once I filled all the trays, I was just left with some that had broken up into small bits and pieces, so I fed those to the doggos.
I set it to 135F and let it run for ten hours, as suggested. Well, actually it was longer than that since I put them in in the evening and slept in, so it was more like 12 hours (but who’s counting?!).
When I checked after the time was up, here’s what I found.
Well first, I found it had snowed overnight (yay!). So no muddy mess today (yay again!).
I also found the potatoes were juuust perfect and ready to be vacuum sealed and put away.
Each dehydrator load is enough for one meal for us, so that’s good. I do wish I had a bigger unit than this to work with but it will do. For now.
Today I might try dehydrating shredded potatoes instead of sliced but since neither of us are big hash brown fans, I don’t know if I’ll bother.