Monday, 14 January 2013

food storage friday: on dehydrating foods


Food Storage Friday is a bi-monthly series about food storage and provident living. I believe that slowly building up stores of food, medication and money, enough for at least 3 months shows prudence, forethought and self-reliance. Having these resources will give you peace of mind and prepare your family for both good times and bad.

I wish I could tell you a nostalgic story about dehydrating like the ones you read … the kind that reminisce about baking cookies with Grandmother, but I can’t.

I do have wonderful memories of watching my grandmother move busily around her 10-foot-ceilinged kitchen.

I remember watching as she fried doughnuts; sticking the holes together with toothpicks and making funny doughnut-men from them. One hole for the head, 3 for the body and sticking out from the sides, 4 sets of 2 to roughly resemble arms and legs.

I remember crying when I had to share a doughnut-man with my younger brother, and munching it while swinging my legs happily at the table underneath the kitchen window.

The window looked out on the busy Main Street, and in it hung white curtains splashed with nickel-sized polka dots. Grammie had polka dotted Fire King coffee mugs to match.


While these are all wonderful things to recall, memories of dehydrating food I do not have. As far as I know I am the first in my family to do it.

Do you know what the most amazing thing about dehydrating food is? It’s how small the pieces shrink!

I can fit enough dried apples to make a deep-dish apple pie into a quart sized mason jar…

 7 red peppers pack nicely into a cup…

 A whole head of celery fills one half-cup jar. So cool!

Of the memories my grandchildren will have of me, I hope numbered among them will be a nice collection called, Dehydrating with Grandma.
This will include cutting fruit and arranging it on dehydrator trays.

Watching as veggies mystically shrink to a tiny portion of their original selves.
Tapping dried food on the counter to hear the click that signals it’s ready to store.

And of course, my favourite…

Sneaking pieces of sweet apple or tart cranberry from the dehydrator to taste.

Until next time…

27 comments:

  1. I want a dehydrator sooooo bad! One of our goals this year is to preserve more of what we grow and dehydration seems like a great option. It's so crazy how small the food gets!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you reach your goal to preserve your produce and to dehydrate this year. Did you know that some food items will last up to 30 years if they are packaged properly? Talk about long term food storage!

      Delete
  2. I was so amazed that I could get two pounds of frozen carrot slices into a half-pint jar. The already sliced, blanched, and frozen carrots were given to me and would not fit into the freezer.

    You have inspired me to dehydrate more since I slacked off this winter, right at the time the bit of heat would be welcome. I love my nine-tray Excalibur dehydrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't done carrots yet. There are so many foods to try. 2 lbs in a half-pint is an amazing feat.

      Owning an Excalibur would be a dream for me. I have no doubt you do love it!

      Delete
  3. I put up a pint of freshly harvested shitake mushrooms. They originally took up 4 trays in the dehydrator. I love the look of dehydrated foods in the pantry. The ideas are endless, w/what you can do w/them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, I am looking forward to getting to that point where I have endless options. Still working towards that goal. Thank you for commenting!

      Delete
  4. You have just inspired me! Now I need a dehydrator. Have you ever dehydrated in the sun?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As in sun dried tomatoes? My husband makes sun tea all the time in the summer. Just got me wondering.

      Delete
    2. I haven't done any dehydrating in the sun, but I've thought about it. Sun dried tomatoes is exactly what I was think of. Your husband sounds like a keeper!

      Delete
  5. Awesome post! I have the same type fond baking memories with my grandmother...but none dehydrating. Now when the grands visit I hear...grandma found a sale on carrots, or there are apples dehydrating! It is fun and I hope they will be good memories for them

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha! It sounds like you are already passing on an excitement for dehydrating. I'm sure they will be good memories.

      Delete
  6. i love dehydrating too and have not done enough in the past few years! i have learned tho that i like my carrots, mushrooms, apples, etc. to be sliced thicker than i was normally doing. and yes - they shrink up and so much of them fit into a jar - bahahahahah! next year - i am doing cranberries...and you just wait until the figs go on sale - woohoo! great post, sweet Sue!

    your friend,
    kymber

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, sweet girl! When you prep for dehydrating do you slice by hand? The first time I dried red peppers I chopped them with my onion chopper. They dried almost as small as pin heads! Hahaha! I think it will take a few trials to see what size each fruit and veggie should start as.

      We did cranberries this year. Yum! And figs...ooooo. I hadn't thought of those. And you could do blueberries too :-)

      Your forever friend ... xoxoxo

      Delete
  7. Hi Sue,
    I have a dehydrator but not much experience with it. Have done a bit of fruit. I'd like to try some veggies but unsure what to do with them afterwards. How do you use them? Do you just throw them into a soup for example, or do you have to rehydrate them? Also since I don't have all the stuff needed for long term storage, how long will they last in the jars on the shelf.

    They look absolutely great!

    hugs, Cathy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cath, I have been doing apples in the dehydrator for a while, and am just starting to branch out a bit. Fruit is fun and so delicious though ;-)

      Using the veggies is a new adventure for me. But from what I've read on how to use the veggies depends on what veggies they are and how you are cooking them with. In a soup which has broth and is going to simmer for a few hours I would just toss them in and let them rehydrate in the broth.

      I understand they work better in drier recipes (say, a casserole) if the veggies are rehydrated 15-20 minutes first...roughly 1 cup of water for each cup of dehydrated veggies (or fruit). Again, the amount of time and water depends on the veggie or fruit.

      Ask me again when I have had a while to play with recipes and techniques :-) There are some great tips and videos at dehydrate2store.com She is an LDS lady with tons of experience dehydrating and she shares it all.

      I would say just start doing it and find out the details as you go along.

      As for shelflife in jars - I would use these as a 'medium' term food storage instead of long term. Meaning use it within a few years. If you add an oxy pak to the jar it will last longer. Just remember that light is one of the worst enemies to stored food so if any sun shines into your pantry use your food up fairly quickly because it will deteriorate.

      I hope this answer helps. Thanks for commenting!

      Delete
  8. Great and interesting post. I like it.
    I also invite you to my blog. ;)
    Yours. Have a nice day.
     
    You can also find me on the fanpage and keep track of my work:
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/In-another-light/413836138693856?ref=stream ;]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The photos on your blog are stunning, Patrycja! Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  9. Great post, Sue, Your words make me want to try this. I hope to grow a small vegetable garden this year so I may have some things to start with. (or I could get things from Mark and Jenn's garden) :-) Well done,,,,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Ellecee! You are always so supportive with your sweet compliments.

      I hope you do grow veggies this year. It's awfully rewarding and tastes amazing.

      Delete
  10. This is a wonderful story, a great blog and lovely photos. I also have a dehydrator,and obviously don't use it enough. I have made Kale chips and apple chips. That's it. I have the same thoughts as Cathy. How and where do you use them afterwards.I am sure I want to try harder and do more and get wonderful advice from you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yum, kale chips! I have to be careful when I make these because they don't last long if I'm careless ;-) You have so much produce to try dehydrating with. Eventhough it is frozen, it can still be dehydrated if you would like. Give it a try!

      Delete
  11. I haven't done a lot of dehydrating but plan to this summer! I love banana chips! Do you treat your apple slices?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't, Wendy. Some people use lemon juice or Fruit Fresh.
      Good luck with it this summer!

      Delete
  12. Oh I love this post it is full of memories that all of us can relate too. Grandmothers doing their survival thing and us basking in the joy of watching. Now this new generation(us) doing our survival thing an our grandchildren basking in the joy of watching Grandma.
    Oh teaching and working never has been so much fun.
    I would love a dehydrator they look so beautiful those little dried bits of produce. Love this. B

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Teaching and working never has been so much fun" is a lovely thought! I admire your positive attitude, Buttons. Thank you for dropping by my blog today!

      Delete
  13. Oooh, your dehydrated foods look amazing! I'm aspiring to do more dehydrating, and do it well, like you do! :)

    I am stopping by to return the follow and say hi! Thanks for sharing at the Farm Girl Blog Fest as well!

    ~Kristi@Let This Mind Be in You

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Kristi! Thanks for visiting. I was happy to find your wonderful blog and share at the Farm Girl Blog Fest. Good luck with your dehydrating adventures!

      Delete

Comment