When it comes to food storage the first thing most people think about are buckets of grains, or cases of cans sitting on a shelf.
Sometimes it is big boxes of dry milk, or even for some folks they think about the crazy people pushing giant carts loaded with hundreds of pounds of food around a Sams Club or Walmart.
We Â ARE THOSE kind of people around here, because we believe in doing the best with what we have been blessed with, and that means shopping in bulk for our family.
But what a lot of people never think of is how to take advantage of sales and fill empty jars with dried foods, enriching your whole pantry/food storage experience.
I can take those large bags of frozen veggies you find on sale at Sams or Costco and have them shelf stable and waiting for the next meal in less than 24 hours. Doing that ensures that my family is living on more than just beans and rice, or bread and jelly for a long period of time, because they are simple to take right back to table-ready with a little water and time.
I am speaking of using my dehydrator to do this, and I really believe that if you are serious about saving money on groceries and having a stable pantry that is ready to help you get through tough times, then this is one tool you really should invest in. Now I have a large one, the Excalibur, and would recommend it to anyone, but seriously, get started with a smaller one that you can get at most big box stores.
Frozen veggies get poured straight from the bags to the trays, checked for anything less than edible, and then the dehydrator gets turned on. Once they are done, Â I can fit 5-6 bags of standard frozen vegetables (or corn, peas, mixed, green beans, etc) in a regular wide mouth quart jar. So think of it as one jar holding the equivalent of five meals for your family.
You certainly can also vaccuum seal it, but the veggies do get sharp edges and can break a seal. However, if you are looking at a space issue, that is absolutely the way to go. Double bag it, vaccuum pack it, and put it into a bin or box that is clearly labeled.
As all the air has been removed from it, these veggies are shelf stable for five years or longer. Think of them as stuck in limbo, with little to no change to almost any part of it, for up to five years. And think, do you KNOW what is happening to your family five years from now? Are you sure you will be better off then than you are now? I know that we have had our shares of ups and downs, and right now, many many folks are looking at some tough times ahead of them this coming year.
You can also do this with frozen fruit, and build up jars of those for pies, cobblers, baking or anything else where you would use them. Think of being able to make a healthy, nutritious meal for your family in less than twenty minutes, simply by running to your pantry, pulling the ingredients together, and never giving a second thought to having to not using the freezer. That is how it is in this house, and I know it can be in yours as well.
Drying vegetables or anything frozen that has nutritious value is Â one of the best additions you can make to your long term food storage. Ten minutes in boiling water (15 for peas) and you have a vegetable that looks, smells, tastes and acts exactly like the frozen veggies you are used to.
What is one thing you appreciate the most about your food storage?
Blessings to you and yours,Â