Dehydrating Frozen Vegetables

March is Frozen Food Month and frozen vegetables will be on sale at stock up prices.  Now is the time to learn how easy dehydrating frozen vegetables is!

Dehydrating frozen vegetables is the perfect project for the beginning simple prepper. Save Time. Save Money. Save Space as you build your food storage. Your dehydrator is about to become your best friend as you work to stockpile vegetables for your pantry.

Why You Should Be Dehydrating Frozen Vegetables

    • Unless you have a really big garden, dehydrating frozen vegetables is much cheaper than buying fresh, and you can dehydrate frozen vegetables year round.
    • Dehydrating frozen vegetables requires no washing, peeling, slicing, chopping, or blanching,  saving you a lot of time.
    • Needs less room (much less!) for storage!Dehydrating frozen vegetables is the perfect project for the beginning simple prepper. Save Time. Save Money. Save Space as you build your food storage. Your dehydrator is about to become your best friend as you work to stockpile vegetables for your pantry.

Dehydrators

I use an Excalibur Dehydrator, and love it.  I also own a Nesco dehydrator, which is much cheaper and works really well for dehydrating frozen vegetables.   You can quickly and easily recoup  the cost of both of these dehydrators in just a few months of dehydrating your own fruits and veggies.

Dehydrators can often be found at yard sales, but so far the ones I have come across are usually missing most of the trays, or the trays and sometimes the motors are so covered in hardened gunk, that I pass them up.  But keep your eyes open for dehydrators at yard sales and thrift shops, as your luck may be better than mine!

Dehydrating frozen vegetables is the perfect project for the beginning simple prepper. Save Time. Save Money. Save Space as you build your food storage. Your dehydrator is about to become your best friend as you work to stockpile vegetables for your pantry.

Dehydrating frozen vegetables is the perfect project for the beginning simple prepper. Save Time. Save Money. Save Space as you build your food storage. Your dehydrator is about to become your best friend as you work to stockpile vegetables for your pantry.

How To Dehydrate Frozen Vegetables

Simply spread out the mixed veggies on the dehydrator trays. I didn’t worry that the pieces were touching, I knew they would shrink as they dried and it wouldn’t be an issue. As a matter of fact, my one POUND bag of veggies shrunk down to 3/4 of a cup!

I dehydrated these @125 degrees and they took about 10 hours. Please look at your dehydrator model to see what temperature is correct for your machine. The time to dehydrate will always depend on the humidity in the room where you are dehydrating.

Dehydrating frozen vegetables is the perfect project for the beginning simple prepper. Save Time. Save Money. Save Space as you build your food storage. Your dehydrator is about to become your best friend as you work to stockpile vegetables for your pantry.

Storing Dehydrated Frozen Vegetables

Now that you have a batch of inexpensive dehydrated frozen vegetables, you’ll need to store them properly. Here’s where a Food Saver comes in so handy!

My favorite way to store my dehydrated vegetables is to pour them into a wide mouth canning jar, and using the mason jar sealer accessory, vacuum seal the jar. You won’t need a ring for this, the vacuum sealing will securely keep the lid on.

Vacuum Sealing Mason Jars

The wide mouth vacuum accessory from Food Saver makes it so easy to vaccum seal items in wide mouth mason jars!

This method will keep your dehydrated goodness fresh for at least a year. It’s always a good idea to check your lid seals every six months or so, to make sure it’s still up to snuff. Simply press on the middle of the lid, if the lid gives and makes a popping sound, you seal is no longer good.

If you would like to add a little more ‘insurance’ this storage method, you can add an oxygen absorber to your jar before you vacuum seal it. I do this quite often.

Tip:  If you would like a bit more in depth description of how to use a Food Saver to vacuum seal canning jars, take a look at this video.

Dehydrating frozen vegetables is the perfect project for the beginning simple prepper. Save Time. Save Money. Save Space as you build your food storage. Your dehydrator is about to become your best friend as you work to stockpile vegetables for your pantry.

What To Do With Dehydrated Frozen Vegetables

  • Add a handful or two to soups or stews. Perfect for crockpot cooks!
  • Add some to a blender and turn them into a veggie powder. This powder can then be added to all sorts of things you’d like to up the nutritional value of.
  • Smoothies!
  • Use for camping and hiking trips.

LOVE the idea of having veggies and fruits in your long term food storage as a hedge against inflation and emergencies? We’ve got you covered! Thrive carries a wide variety of freeze dried foods for this very reason!

So, which frozen vegetable will you be dehydrating first?

Make Your Own Brown Sugar: 15 Minute Prepper

Yes!  You can make brown sugar.  When I show you how easy it is to make your own brown sugar, you are going to wonder why nobody told you this sooner.

How to make brown sugar for baking, desserts and sweets.  A DIY recipe that can be used in your homemade and nautral products like body scrubs.  A frugal tip that will save your money too!

Why Make Your Own Brown Sugar?

Making your own brown sugar can be much less expensive than purchasing brown sugar.   November is when the big baking supply sales begin.  Last year I was able to score sugar at .12 a pound by combining sales and coupons.   Molasses  goes on sale this time of year too.   Purchase it in bulk, add one tablespoon to one cup of sugar, and you’ve got brown sugar for about .30 cents a POUND.    That beats even the very best sale price for brown sugar in my area.

That’s not all, folks.  No Siree!

When making your own brown sugar you can control how dark and flavorful the end result will be.  No more worrying about having to buy both dark and light brown sugar.  Oh, the ease and simplicity!

And seriously, who doesn’t love one less trip to the grocery store?

Make Your Own Brown Sugar and Save Time And Money

A Recipe To Make Your Own Brown Sugar

This will be the shortest, sweetest (get it….sweetest……brown sugar……heh) recipe you’ll ever take down.

1 cup granulated cane sugar

1 Tablespoon unsulphured molasses   (Have you seen these measuring spoons?  They are the cutest EVER.)

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the sugar and molasses.

Work it until the molasses is  completely incorporated into the sugar.   You’ll need to keep stirring using a small whisk or fork for a couple of minutes, but it will all come together.

For dark brown sugar, add another tablespoon of molasses.

How to make your own brown sugar!

Use as you would in your favorite cake and cookie recipes.  Store in an airtight container.   I LOVE these to store my brown sugar in.

What things have you bought in the past, but now make your own versions of?    How have these DIY versions saved you money and time?

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5-Gallon Food Grade Buckets

I received a bit of a jolt when entering a local food storage store in search of 5-gallon food grade buckets for several bags of rice and beans I recently purchased for emergency prepardedness.   Over SEVEN dollars for a bucket and lid.  And we aren’t talking gamma lids, here.  Nope.  We are talking just the plain old hammer it down with a rubber mallet type of lid.

As I stood there doing the math for the 10 buckets, mylar bags and oxygen absorbers I would need for the long term storage of my vittles, I also thought of how many more bags of beans and rice I could purchase for that $70.00 I would paying for buckets.

Where To Find CHEAP 5-Gallon Food Grade Buckets For Long Term Food Storage

You can’t eat the buckets, boys and girls.  And then, as if to add insult to injury, I turned the buckets around only to find the store’s logo covering the bucket from top to bottom.  It has always been a pet peeve of mine to have to pay for stuff that serves as advertising for a company.  Think about it.  If I’m going to be advertising for them, shouldn’t they be paying me?

But I digress.

I’ll admit.  I did purchase 4 of the overpriced, logo blasted, desperately needed buckets.  With my medically fragile son, I’m not able to get out as often, and I really needed those buckets.  I justified my purchase by telling myself I only purchased four instead of the ten I truly needed.

And, as I walked out of that store, I proclaimed to all who could hear, that I would never, ever pay through the nose for a plastic bucket again.  While I consider myself pretty lucky that my Mom was the only person close enough to hear my proclamation, once uttered, it still needed to be fulfilled.

My 5 Gallon Bucket Research


Bakeries will usually give out empty frosting buckets.  Yay! for free buckets, but yikes! for cleaning out the greasy frosting residue.  I’ve found that by making a solution of Dawn dish soap and vinegar then spraying it inside the bucket helps clean the frosting out.

Fast Food Joints will often give out empty pickle buckets.  However, the smell of pickles will pretty much forever be in these buckets.  A friend even power washed his buckets out to no avail.  If you are using mylar liners in your buckets though, the smell of pickle shouldn’t be an issue.

Lowe’s carries 5-Gallon Commercial food grade buckets for $4.50 each.

Use food grade 5 gallon buckets to store bulk foods.

My local Walmart carries food grade buckets and lids for $2.97 and lids for under $2.00.  I found them in the paint section, but I looked and they had food grade written right on them.

Look on your Local Classified Ads.  Often people sell 5-gallon food grade buckets and lids they are no longer using.

5 Gallon Buckets Too Much Work?

What?  You don’t want to wash out your own buckets, and the smell of pickles makes you shudder?  Nearest WalMart too far away?  Amazon will deliver your 5-Gallon Food Grade Storage Buckets right to your door step!

Thrive Life: The BEST Freeze Dried Foods

Some of you may not need to store food in the type of bulk that would require purchasing  5-Gallon Food Grade  Buckets.   I get that.   For you  prepackaged freeze dried food would be the perfect option.   Light weight and good for up to 25 years, Thrive Life offers the best quality in Freeze Dried foods that I’ve found.  Through Thrive Life you can create your own food storage pantry, saving both time AND money.

How do you store your  long term emergency food?

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Freeze Dried Meals in a Jar: Sausage Potato Soup

Freeze Dried Meals in a Jar provide nutrition, convenience, and long term storage ability to your food storage plan.   Boil a pot of water, dump in the ingredients, and viola!, dinner is served in record time.  Even if that dinner is made for a year later!

How to make Freeze Dried Meals in a Jar

What makes Freeze Dried Meals in a Jar so fantastic?  Imagine coming home too tired to cook, and the family wanting to eat…..NOW.  You boil water.  Dump in the contents of the jar.  Stir.  Viola.  It’s dinner baby.  It’s way healthier than fast food, AND at about $10.00 a jar for a family of 4, CHEAPER too.

You are learning to use your food storage, saving money, creating shelf stable, long lasting meals for your storage, and making your life easier.   We aim to please, here at Simply Preparing.

Freeze Dried Meals in a Jar Recipe using Thrive Life Foods

Sausage Potato Soup


Thrive Freeze Dried Ingredients:

1 C. Freeze Dried Sausage
1 C. Dehydrated Potato Chunks
1/3 C. Freeze Dried Sweet Corn
1/4 C. Freeze Dried Onions
1/3 C. Dehydrated Carrot Dices
1/3 C. Freeze Dried Peas
6 TBSP Chicken Bullion

Ready to try Thrive? I would love it if you bought using my link so I can grow my food storage as well.

Buy Thrive Freeze Dried Foods

Ingredients Needed From Your Pantry

1 TBSP Parsley
1 TBSP Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp Pepper
4 TBLS Butter

Bring three quarts of water to a boil.  Add in the freeze dried ingredients along with the garlic powder, parsley, salt and pepper.  While these ingredients simmer, make your thickening sauce.

 

How To Make A Thickening Sauce (Roux)

(Important Note:  The ingredients for the thickening sauce/roux will NOT be part of what you actually put into your jars.  These are items you’ll need to have on hand in your fridge/pantry to complete this meal.)

1/4 Cup flour

1 C reconstituted Powdered Milk

2TSPB Butter

 

Melt butter in a small pan over a low temperature.  Whisk 1/4  C. flour and allow to cook for a minute, whisking constantly.   Pour in 1 C. (reconstituted) Powdered Milk.  Stir until thick and bubbly.

Add a bit of your soup liquid to your thickening sauce to thin it out some.  Then add everything back into your soup and stir.  Allow to simmer for a few minutes before serving with a garnish of  Freeze Dried Parmesan Cheese.

When putting together the ingredients for your Freeze Dried Meals in a Jar, you also need to add an oxygen absorber to each jar or vacuum seal each jar.  Personally, I do both.  This will give you at least a year’s storage for this recipe.

Why You Should Have Freeze Dried Meals In A Jar In Your Food Storage Stash

Beans and rice might keep a body and soul together, but they are not going to be able to do much when food fatigue sets in.  Food fatigue is the idea that food is food and when you have nothing else you will eat it, whether you like it or not.

While this may be true to some extent, it is important to stock a variety of foods, as well as some meals that are tried and true family favorites.  That’s where Freeze Dried Meals in a jar come into play.   Having to eat beans every day for a month straight might just be what brings you down not only physically, but psychologically as well.

DIY Freeze Dried MREs for But Out Bags

Shelf stable meals such as Freeze Dried Meals in a jar offer variety and simplicity.  You can add fruits and veggies to your family’s diet even during an emergency.  You can even skip the jar and packaged these meals in mylar bags with an oxygen pack to store in your bug out bags.  Think homemade MREs.

How to cook your DIY Freeze Dried MREs

Freeze Dried Meals in a Jar can also easily be cooked over simple bug out stoves using items found in typical 72 hour kits.  Just make sure you’ve got your water stored too!

How are you preparing to feed your family in case of emergency?   Do you have Freeze Dried Meals in a Jar in your preps?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Original Recipe by Amber Spackman   Modifications by me.
**Photo Credit:  Ladyheart

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Creating An Emergency Preparedness Blueprint

Emergency Preparedness.  Food Storage. Water.  Flash Lights. Batteries.   When I first began prepping, I thought about earthquakes and fires and droughts,  which are the usual concerns for my state.  I prepped more for short term than long term emergencies.

Life changed.  My family’s preparedness needs changed.  I found myself learning a lot of lessons on how to be prepared for an unexpected emergency the hard way; smack dab in the midst of it.

Emergency Preparedness Planning

What will YOUR emergency preparedness need be?

Our emergency came in the form of a tiny, premature, 5 pound baby boy.  Along with my 6th child came Life Flights, oxygen bottles, a list of diagnoses I’d never heard of before, 15 medications, so many surgeries we’ve lost count, durable medical equipment that would rival a PICU, and a list of specialists a mile long.

Even though we had savings and insurance, we found ourselves in sort of a no-man’s land between what our insurance paid out, what we were responsible for out of pocket, and what we brought home each month.

Grocery shopping didn’t make it as one of the line items of where our paycheck would go for months at a time.

Good thing I had my food storage, right?

Except.

In the midst of my emergency I discovered :  

 

*There simply wasn’t enough time to grind my wheat and make my own bread.

*My family HATED the brand of powered milk I had purchased.   We’ve since switched to Thrive’s powdered milk and will be using the other for baking and other products.

*My family needed more protein, yet  I had no where near enough protein stored.

*I couldn’t make everything from scratch and still have the time and strength keep my kid alive.  More quick and easy recipes would have come in handy.   While I prefer homemade chicken noodle soup, the canned stuff at least kept my kids happy.  And  why hadn’t I ever found the time to can some of my own homemade soups  before?  That would have been the perfect solution.

*If you don’t keep stuff rotated, it will, indeed, go rancid on you.

*Going down to my food storage room only to discover that I had most of the ingredients for a lot of different meals, but not all of the ingredients for any of them was frustrating.  This is especially discouraging when you don’t have the money to go to the store to purchase the remaining ingredients you need for your food storage menu plan.

*No matter how much my family has always loved rice, they WILL get tired of it and refuse to eat it if I serve it every single day.

*It makes NO difference how hungry my family is, they will never, ever, ever, ever eat oatmeal.  Yet I had 100 pounds of the stuff.  Why?  That money could have gone to other food items in my pantry that my family would have eaten.

Emergency Preparedness brings peace of mind.

What emergencies could you face?

-Job Loss

-Extended Illness

-Skyrocketing Prices

-Earthquake

-Flooding

-Snow Storms

-World Affairs
These are just a few of the unexpected types of emergencies a family could find themselves in the midst of.  I’m sure that if you think about it you’ll come up with a few more ways your family needs to prepared for the unexpected.

Create An Emergency Preparedness Blueprint That Meets Your Family’s Unique Needs

Sit down and make a list of the potential emergencies you and your family could face.  Start with the most important and the most probable and work your way down that list.   How would you make it through each scenario?

Envision yourself in the midst of the emergency and what you would need to make it through successfully.   Next, create a blueprint that will see your family safely through a time of need.

While my family prepares for an earthquake with great attention to detail, an atomic bomb attack is much further down on our list.  However, our biggest emergency preparedness plans center around our medically fragile child with special needs. 

While it’s great to read about what all of the ‘experts’ say, remember that your emergency needs are going to be unique.   Taking the time to identify what your emergency might be will help you focus on how to prepare for it.  A good place to find a basic emergency supply checklist is ready.gov.   Of course,  you’ll also want to check back here, as well as follow us on Pinterest and Facebook, to learn other great preparedness strategies.

What is your Number One Emergency Preparedness concern right now?  What plans are you making to successfully get your family through your emergency?

 

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