Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dried Up Stuff

When we went to Israel last spring - notice how I'm just throwing that casually into conversation as if we just run over there every other day? - we went up on Mount Masada.  Way up.  On a monorail.  Made out of glass.  But that's a different story.  Anyway when archaeologists explored those ruins they found dehydrated wheat that had been stored as part of the food available for the soldiers/families who lived there a couple of thousand years ago.  They took it back to the lab and it sprouted!  Not only that but dehydrated wheat found in pyramids has also sprouted!  People have been dehydrating food to last from one summer to the next ever since man figured out how to do it.  Even during World Wars I and II Americans dehydrated food because of the shortage of canning supplies.  All of that has been rolling around in my brain until I finally came to this conclusion:  if they could do it, I could do it.  And not only could I do it, but I should do it.  I can stuff - especially love tomatoes and green beans and soup canned, and we love having it in the winter long after the fresh vegetables are gone.  I haven't done as much lately since #1 I've gotten older, #2 it's harder to find farm fresh vegetables where I live now, and #3 I work at a mission in Louisiana in the summer and I'm not at home.  Dehydrated foods take up much less space than canned foods and last longer - if stored correctly some can last 30 years!

So first I bought this:
I know this is hard to see but it's black.  And that's hard to get a picture of for me - I'm photography challenged.  It's an Excalibur 9 tray Food Dehydrator.  It's supposed to be the best.  My sister told me that.  It's about the size of a large microwave but doesn't weigh as much.  I can pick it up and move it, which I have to do because I don't have the counter space to keep it out all the time.

It comes with 9 plastic trays that slide in after you put the food on them.  You turn on the dehydrator, wait anywhere from 6 to 30 hours depending on what you're dehydrating and it comes out all dried up.  The trays look like this.
This is right after I washed them yesterday when I had just dehydrated a case of pineapple slices.  Yes, a case (12) cans of Libby's Pineapple Slices in juice (drained) makes 2 quarts plus 1 pint of dehydrated pineapple.  And it's a wonderful snack - healthy and delicious.  Plus when rehydrated I can make Pineapple Cake.  My husband loves Pineapple Cake.  I know because I made it once when we were very young.

We plan to make deer jerky soon because we have some meat left from last year and it's time to deer hunt again.  I've also dehydrated all this.
There's broccoli, okra, hash brown potatoes, zucchini, onions, corn, apples, celery and more.  The small jar in the front - I also dehydrated the apple peelings, ground them up in my blender, and this will make apple tea.  You can get frozen vegetables on sale and dehydrate them - put them on the trays frozen!  That's how I did the potatoes and onions.  I have some real sweet potatoes to do tomorrow and some real white potatoes (not frozen).  But I'm going to do some more apples, celery and broccoli for sure because fall is when they're pretty cheap.  You can do pumpkin too!  And also I'm going to make tomato leather - tomato sauce dehydrated and broken into pieces will store great.  I'm going to put it into Food Saver bags with the dehydrated veggies to make soup in a bag.  To store dehydrated foods you must seal them in bags (I put an oxygen pack in mine to take out all the oxygen left after I've sealed it) and store them as much out of the light as you can so they won't lose their nutrients.

If you've been thinking about trying to store extra food in case of whatever - times when the electricity might be out from ice or tornadoes, etc. this is a great way to do it.  It takes less time than canning, it takes less space, and it takes less $ to prepare.  It costs about a nickel an hour to run the dehydrator.

Does anyone else dehydrate?  I could sure use some tips.  :)

Oh, and that apple tea?  I'm not doing that again.  That powder flies everywhere when you're grinding it in the blender and I'm not that Martha Stewart anyway.


Carol said...

Sounds very interesting, Marlene! You are such an inspiration!

Carol (NJ)

Gail said...

My sister does the dehydrating and has several running at once.

Last year she did squash with a cajun about great snacks!!!

This year, she tried cantelope with a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar. Every one loves it and it's a great way to save those extras from the garden.

Where do you get the packs?

Carol said...

How long did it take you to dry all that stuff in the picture? My dehydrator is obviously way too small.

B-Z-Quilting said...

I am impressed. I am always trying to find ways to save $$ and we really don't like to see any food wasted, regardless of how little. I have done quite a bit of canning and especially freezing this summer, but have never done any freeze drying.

Janet said...

I used to make dried stuff for backpacking but never had a REAL dryer and it often ended up pale and tasteless. Seeing how great yours looks I think I might have to get one of these dehydrators and try again. What brand did you buy?

Molly said...

My pepper grower would like this! But what I like is the quote at the top of your blog [that I didn't notice before.] Thank you for that.

Marie said...

Great idea Marlene. I have always wanted a food dehydrator. The only thing that has stopped me has been the thought that we might not have enough water to be able to re-hydrate things in an emergency, but it is amazing to see how much you can get into such little space! xxoo

Jane's Fabrics and Quilts said...

Wow, that is amazing about the Wheat! Such a great idea! You will be set for the long winter.

(thought your title was about me)!!!

Sherry D said...

Marie- if you don't have enough water to rehydrated - might be a good to keep water if case you need it to drink.
And I love the cantaloupe idea! Thanks for that I can try. Apples dried with a sprinkle of Apple Pie spice and a touch of cinnamon are Wonderful! We can't keep enough of them! We eat them too fast.

Arkansas Patti said...

You are preaching to the choir here. I love to dehydrate but it is a bit daunting how small a pile you get when you are done.
Good idea about sweet potatoes since I have a bumper crop.
I also do cantaloupe.

Gmama Jane said...

Well aren't you just Survivor Woman??!! I never knew! I once had the Ronco Dehydrator and used to dehydrate herbs in the fall and apples, bananas and pineapple. I usually did it in my classroom which made everything smell great and the kids loved checking it everyday. I don't know why I stopped. I even gave the dehydrator away. I might need to rethink this all over. How does the veggies taste??

Snoodles said...

I. Am. Impressed. Not only are you a world traveler, but dehydrating food, too!! Awesome! :)
This is such a great idea -- I had one of those cheapy Ronco ones a long time ago...maybe I'd better start shopping for one. I have no more room in my pantry for canned goods, and this would really fill a need. The broccoli and okra - when you rehydrate it, is it squishy like you'd put it in soup, or does it keep it's "body"? I'm wondering if I could fry okra when it was rehydrated? Thanks for an informative post. (Stroking chin thoughtfully) Really got me thinking!

Linda said...

Very interesting. Never done it, and probably never will do it. It looks like work!

Truffle queen said...

I was in Michigan a week ago and brought back a bushel each of Honey Crisp, Jonathan, and Cortland apples. I have a dehydrator in the basement - guess I need to get it out and get busy!! LOVE dried apples! What are oxygen packs?

Tracy P. said...

This made me smile. It is important to know just how Martha Stewart you are. I am pretty sure I am not AT ALL Martha Stewart! ;-)

Anonymous said...

My favorite is banana chips but the pineapple is really good too.

Grammy Staffy said...

Good for you!!! Our church has stressed the need for food storage for many years. We are always looking for ways to preserve and store food. We only have a small dehydrator but reading your post today makes me want to get a good one like you have.

Have a great week. I am sending you hugs.... you can dehydrate them and save them for the future if you Love, Lura

Purple Pam said...

A dehydrator. My father-in-law did a lot of dehydrating. Lots of meat jerky. It looks like you have been having fun with your new kitchen toy. Love your Halloween decor - quilts and things.

Pat said...

I dehydrated apple slices last year ~ it was a lot of work ~ even with a peeler corer crank thingy but the best part was having dried apples to eat - I refrigerated them in baggies and they lasted fair long that way. Have fun with it! So jealous that you visited Israel - It must really be awesome to walk where Jesus walked.

Judy D in WA said...

Tomatoes....When I run the tomatoes through the strainer to make sauce, I take the peelings and seeds and dry them. Then I put them in the blender to make powder. Let it sit and settle before removing the lid. Since I can't eat seeds, I strain berries and dry the leftover stuff, blend and then add the powder to my smoothies.
I've never tried the oxygen packs, can you reuse them? Love having the soup mix.