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
I just got an Excalibur for Christmas, so this is a very timely post. I am curious, do you try to vacuum pack your jars in some way or put oxygen absorbers in your jar w/ the dried produce in order to make them shelf stable for so long?
I have done both, and I find that simply using my vaccuum sealer and then putting rings on works far better long term than the little packets. 🙂 They are expensive, and often go bad before I can use such large amounts of them……….
Thanks for asking. 🙂
I LOVE my Excalibur! You will too. Check out Dehydrate2store here on the Web, as she has tons of information on drying many different things.
Blessings to you,
Hey girls I too have an Excalibur dehydrator and I love,love, love it! not only do I dehydrate fruits and vegetables but I rise bread in it and I make the most awesome yogurt in it. You can dry your homegrown herbs in it as well. Sometimes here in Texas I find cilantro on sale 5 bunches or sometimes more for $1.00 and i dry it in the dehydrator then jar it as this is an herb I use a lot. When jalapeno’s and other peppers go on sale I buy as much as I can and i dehydrate them to use later to make salsa. That thing is worth every penny I paid for it , listen it is not cheap but start saving your pennies nickles, dimes and quarters . I have done other things in it as well you know the cinnamon/applesauce ornaments you make well …. put a hole in the top with a small straw and dry them in the dehydrator. You can dry flowers and pods in it as well. I kcannot say enough good things about it and no I do not have stock in the company I only wish. But I have not done much of the 5 lb bag frozen vegetable but will start now .Thank you Heather you can teach an old dog new tricks after all!
love your site. I have a couple of questions about using my dehydrater. A bit off topic from this post, hope you don’t mind. I have been trying to use my jams to make fruit leathers….and they don’t seem to ever dry. Have you had this problem, and is it because of the pectin? or the sugar? Or just me?
Thanks for your time
not at all off topic, since we just covered dehydrating. 🙂 Jams have a super high sugar content, which means that they do not dehydrate very easily. I would either reblend them with an equal amount of fresh or frozen fruit, or do what we do, and combine them with plain yogurt and make smoothie leathers. 🙂
those are quite delicious, and dry very well into a fruit leathers. 🙂
Blessings to you,
I love my dehydrator and love to dehydrate anything I can get my hands on. Never thought of dehydrating frozen fruits and veggies though, thanks for another great tip!
oh my, once you realize all the things you really CAN dehydrate, that is when your husband starts counting children and pets before he leaves for work, and when he comes home. 🙂 It is addicting in a way, but you know, it is also a huge money saver. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by Annie!
Blessings to you,
PS–I would love to have you guest post sometime. <3 Contact me
Heather This is awesome. I never thought of doing this. My dehydrator hasn’t surfaced since I moved 2 years ago. I know it is here somewhere and there aren’t too many more places I can look for it. Thanks for these tips, I am definitely going to use them.
Also, I wanted to let you know that I am featuring you, again, on my blog today for Thrifty Thursday. It should be live at about 8:00 a.m.
Thanks for all you do for us.
Regina, you are a blessing to me. <3
Have a wonderful week. <3