Someone made a comment somewhere recently that our grandmothers weren’t called “preppers”, they just had sense enough to have a well stocked pantry. It was normal, not considered fringe, and I can imagine my grandmother laughing at me calling myself a prepper today.
She’d probably also have a lot of great advice to give if she were still with us because she was born in 1896 (yes, my grandmother, not my great granny!) and was raising her kids including my dad (who was the last of her 10 kids) during the depression and WW2.
Dang, I feel old now. 😄
Anyway, I decided to break out the dehydrator again and work on filling my mason jars which have been sitting empty for way too long. I want to avoid using my vacuum sealer bags on things I can put into reusable jars because they are pretty expensive and while I technically can reuse them, it’s a bit messy.
So, what to dehydrate? I thought to myself.
Well, I have loads of fresh veggies in the fridge, some of which I’ll probably end up feeding to the chickens if I can’t eat it all up within a few days. I also have a lot of frozen veg that will go bad if for some reason the power goes out for an extended period. I mean, it’s just the two of us here most of the time and the freezers are full of a LOT of food for just us.
Dehydrating it sure would solve that issue and could potentially save us a lot of money and frustration.
I did a bit of reading up on how to do things right and set about dehydrating a couple bags of frozen Italian vegetables. My dehydrator is pretty small, and I do plan to get another (or, better yet, a freeze dryer if we can afford it someday), but for now it works just fine.
I started with just one bag at 125 degrees for about eight hours to see how well they would dehydrate and they turned out great!
Of course they shrunk down so much they barely filled a quarter of my little mason jar, so I decided to bulk it up with some fresh broccoli, carrots and onions since we both looove those and did those next.
I remembered to blanch them (I forgot the first time even though I had just read I should do that ugh!) which took a minute or two…
I ran those last night while I slept and woke up to find they were finished and ready to put in the jar. Which still left room for more so now I have another bag of the Italian mix in the dehydrator, which should top it off.
So two bags of mixed veggies, plus what i added of fresh, and that’s quite a bit on one little ole jar for just us two! I’m not going to worry about putting an oxygen absorber in there because I plan to reconstitute this soon just to see how well it cooks up, but if I was going to try to store it for a year or two, I’d definitely throw an OA in there.
I did order a vacuum seal attachment for my FoodSaver to do jars with so when that gets here I’ll use it, too.
The last food I dehydrated was potatoes and I vacuum sealed them into bags but that didn’t work out too well. They poked little holes in the bags with their sharp edges and the seal didn’t keep. I even put the one bag into a bigger bag and it still failed.
So I popped those in a mason jar and will cook up both the potatoes and the other veggies soon to see how they are because I don’t want to wait until we’re starving to find out this isn’t the best option for long(er) term food storage! 😆
I think I’ll reconstitute some of them both later today and use them with dinner.
I am going to do my best to dehydrate everything I can around here to help curb against the possibility that we could lose power and, in turn, lose a lot of food supply. What I can’t dehydrate, like some of the meat, I will can. I’m looking into making my own beef jerky and even how to salt cure things like my Norwegian ancestors did.
I figure if they survived well enough in order to get the bloodline this far, I owe it to them to try to keep it going. 😉