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.

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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?

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How to preserve blackberries

I love to preserve blackberries.   It’s so easy to insure the great taste of summer in your food preps with just a small amount of work.  Rich in bioflavonoids, vitamin C and antioxidants, blackberries are nutritional power houses perfect for long term food storage pantries.   Here are my favorite ways to preserve blackberries.

There are more was to preserve blackberries than just making jam and fruit roll ups. Learn how to preserve blackberries to use in smoothies, oatmeal, muffins and more. Learn how to make seedless blackberry powder to stir into yogurt and use in baking. Preserve the fresh taste of summer all year long!

How To Freeze Blackberries

One way to preserve blackberries is to simply wash them using a 4:1 solution of water to vinegar, allowing them to air dry and then ‘flash freezing’ them.

To flash freeze,  simply lay out the now dry berries on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Pop the tray into the freezer until the berries are frozen, then  package them in a  freezer safe container.

By ‘flash freezing’ the berries first, you’ll be able to simply pour out the amount of frozen berries you need.

simple-ways-to-preserve-blackberries

Preserve blackberries without the seeds.

I prefer my blackberries in a seedless form, especially in smoothies, or my son’s blenderized diet.  First,  rinse the blackberries with the 4:1  water to vinegar solution and puree them in a blender.   With the back of a spoon, push the blackberry puree through a sieve into a clean container. Easy!

how to deseed blackberries

Fill ice cube trays  or the trays used to freeze baby food with the blackberry puree, and freeze. Frozen blackberry ice cubes are a fun way to preserve blackberries.    The result is a whole bunch of frozen blackberry puree ice cubes that  can be added to smoothies,  thawed to flavor yogurt,  or as  base for popsicles and more!

How to use blackberry 'ice cubes'.

How To Dehydrate Blackberries

Dehydrated blackberries last for years when stored properly.  Rinse berries in a 4:1 solution of vinegar water  and  allow to air dry in a dehydrator set to Cool.  Dehydrating wet blackberries makes them flatten out.

Once the blackberries are dry,  set the temperature of the dehydrator to 125F and allow them to dehydrate for 18-20 hours.  Blackberries are done when you can easily crush a berry into powder with just your  fingers.

How to dehydrate blackberries

Make Blackberry Powder

Fill a sieve with dehydrated blackberries and crush them with the back of a spoon, catching the powder in a bowl.  You’ll be left with just dehydrated blackberry seeds in the sieve which you can throw in your compost pile.

Sprinkle blackberry powder in  teas and juices, or  into  your daily water intake.  Spoon blackberry powder over your morning oatmeal or yogurt and into your smoothie for a ‘grit-less’ drink.

Rehydrate your blackberry powder and use it in your favorite blackberry jam recipe.  Bonus!  No seeds!

Use dehydrated blackberries in place of fresh blackberries to make a blackberry flavored simple syrup to use to flavor cocktails and sodas.

Too busy to preserve blackberries yourself?

I  store cans of freeze dried blackberries in my long term food storage.   A quick trip to  Thrive Life  and you could do the same!

Need more information on how to dehydrate foods?  I recommend Dehydrate2Store.

What foods are you preserving this harvest season?

Suburban Homesteading

While talking with a group of friends, each of whom expressing a wish to buy land to homestead on.  I couldn’t figure out why my friends felt the need to wait until they had a bigger plot of land to begin their journey to self sufficiency.    Why not start homesteading in your own backyard?   Right now!

Suburban Homesteading. It really is a ‘thing’!

Let’s face it.  Not all of us are going to be able to move from suburbia into the wilds of Nowhere, USA.   Postponing self sufficiency until all conditions are deemed perfect, could result in being unprepared in an emergency situation.

I’m of the mindset where you do the best you can with what you have now, while following a well thought out plan of where you want to be.  My in between is suburban homesteading.

Suburban Homesteading

What Does Suburban Homesteading Look Like?

We live on your average 1/3 of an acre in your average suburban neighborhood.  There is a stream that runs through my back yard from April to October that provides irrigation to the farmers living further out.  It used to run heavy and deep, but we’re in a dry cycle right now and it’s been much more shallow the last several years.

My neighborhood consists of about 60 homes and we are surrounded on one side by a private golf course and on another by a fairly busy road.  Luckily we are tucked deeply enough into our neighborhood that we don’t see or hear the traffic.

Most of my neighbors garden for summer salad and October pumpkin kind of reasons.  I often think of several neighbors getting together to plan out who will grow what, and then sharing.  This makes even small space gardening more profitable.

 

basil

My Spring garden includes, kale, mustard greens, swiss chard, broccoli, beets and peas. The Summer garden  boasts  tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, beans, pumpkins, winter squash and peppers.

I was thrilled  to recently plant  both an apple an a cherry tree.  Neighbors have several of both so I know we’ll be fine pollination wise.

You can find raspberry bushes in diverse places and a large section for blackberries in our back yard.  I love having a freezer full of berries to last the year.    Half a whiskey barrel is home to a thriving black currant bush.

garden 2

Along one side of my lot I have my herb garden.  It’s also home to a few cabbage plants, lettuce, arugula and dikon radishes.

Herb wise I grow Sage, Thyme, Oregano, Parsley, Basil, Chives, Rosemary,  Peppermint, Spearmint, Anise, Heal All, Horseradish, Horehound, Comfrey, Vervain, and Chamomile.

This is my first year to really grow medicinal herbs, and I’m excited for how things will turn out.  Rosemary Gladstar’s books have been inspirational as I grow my family’s self sufficiency and as we grow our homestead.

I’m thinking of an Elderberry Bush too, as I make our own Elderberry Syrup to help ward off colds and flu.

 

 

Bail Grows Easily in Backyard Suburan Homestead Gardens

There is a big stack of homesteading books just waiting in my Amazon cart that  I can’t wait to dive into.  Dreaming is a big part of the fun of having a suburban homestead.   Using the experiences of others, I’ll create a suburban homestead that reflects the unique needs a capabilities of my family.

garden

Can I grow all the food my family eats on my Suburban Homestead?

Growing everything my family would need here on our suburban homestead simply isn’t possible, at least not yet.  But like all  homesteaders I am pretty creative and resourceful.  

To help us become more self reliant as we grow our backyard homestead, we implemented a few new ideas.

*Trading bumper crops for things I can’t grow in my back yard.

*Paying close attention to the FB yard sale posts and watch for those inviting people to come and glean from their trees and gardens.

*Planting early Spring seeds and plants.

*Growing a Fall garden for fresh greens through the colder months.

*Storing long term food items such as beans, rice, sugar, and flour.  Daisy Luther’s The Pantry Primer is a great source of information on getting a year’s supply as cheaply as possible.

*Purchasing long term freeze dried food at the best possible prices using the plans offered by  Thrive’s Montly Q Program.  Having freeze dried food on my shelf in case of an emergency offers great peace in these turbulent times.

blackberries

It’s a win-win.  More time in the garden.  More fresh, organic food and I don’t have to worry if there is a recall with it’s name on it down the road.

Self sufficiency.  Homesteading.  Food security.    Part of the fun is in the journey that gets you to where you are going.

What goals have you set to become self sufficient?   Is suburban homesteading something you might try?

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Egg Prices are Going Up. Way Up.

Egg prices are going up.  An announcement was made at the beginning of January alerting consumers to a price hike in eggs as California starts requiring hens be raised in spaces big enough to move around in.

States selling eggs to California must also meet these standards in order to continue doing business in the Golden State.

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Less Chickens = Less Eggs = Prices Going Up

So much for thinking chickens would suddenly be living out their days in luxury digs with prices staying the same.   With the new standards, chicken farmers are sending their flocks to their Heavenly Rewards rather than building new, larger buildings to house the hens in.

Less chickens  mean less eggs, which  drives up prices. It’s the whole cost vs. demand thing.

How Thrive Makes Storing Eggs EASY!

I’m thinking it’s a good time to make sure my preps include some shelf stable eggs.   Thrive makes this easy with their great tasting scrambled egg mix!  Thrive Scrambled Egg Mix.

One way to combat rising food prices is to purchase on sale and in bulk.  This allows you to ‘lock in’ the price of a food.   Purchasing enough to last a year will give you amble opportunity to begin looking for a good sale price before you run out. Doing this allow you to avoid being victim of high prices.

How To Use Thrive Powdered Eggs

Pro Tip: :  How do you rehydrate powered/dehydrated eggs?  It’s easy.  In any recipe calling for eggs use 2T. dry egg powder + 3 T. water per fresh egg.  Mix well.

Other Brands Of Shelf Stable Eggs for Long Term Storage

OvaEasy are actually freeze dried egg crystals.  The shelf life per unopened bag is 2 1/2 years.

Made from only chia seeds and garbanzo beans, Neat Egg is an excellent egg replacement  for those who choose not to eat animal products.

Are  egg prices going up where you live?  Do you store eggs?   Do you use powered eggs in place of fresh ones?

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Prepping With Potatoes

Potatoes are cheap, store well, and are easy to find thus making them a great friend of preppers. Recently 10# bags of potatoes have been on sale for $1.99 in my area leading me to search for many ways that prepping with potatoes can be done. Here is how I have been using these sales to further increase my food stores.

Prepping With Potatoes – Dehydrating and Freezing

For both dehydrating potatoes and freezing potatoes you want to par boil them first. That means you want to boil them until they are soft but still firm. You need to be able to grate them into hash browns for dehydrating so you do not want to boil them until they are too soft. See what I did here?

Dehydrating pototoes-step one, boiling Big mistake. I should not have cut them. This was my first time dehydrating potatoes for hash browns so I followed the advice on one of my favorite sites, Dehydrate2Store. The next time I do this I will peel them first with my apple peeler and leave them whole and hope that makes it easier for me. Cutting them in half allowed them to boil too softly which made grating them a bigger chore than it should have been.

I used half of this batch to dehydrate shredded potatoes into hash browns. I had mixed some yellow potatoes in which the 10# bag of russets because I had a few sitting around that I did not want to go bad. I store these in vacuum sealed jars. I don’t like the bags or mylar for these because they are pokey. These are considered a long term food storage option if packed in mylar with oxygen absorbers, estimated to last 20 plus years.

dehydrating hash brown potatoesI experimented with half of the batch doing what Nasreen of RamblingStump.com suggested on our facebook page (you are friends with us there, right?). Nas shared that she typically stores her potato bumper crop by:

I like to scrub them, dice them up and shake them with paprika onion powder salt & oil. Then I freeze them to make homefries with later. I haven’t had an issue with browning while freezing. The oil is just me being lazy. Then they can go straight into the pan & cook without having to do anything else.

I did this as a trial so I skipped the foodsaver bags but here is how mine looked. If it turns out well after tomorrows breakfast I will make a new batch and freeze them in foodsaver bags.

prepping with potatoes: homemade home fries

Prepping With Potatoes-Storing and Growing

I was telling Tammy about this post and she reminded me that she had a great post on how to store potatoes through the winter on Parker’s blog. Click over to see how she uses cedar shavings to keep them fresh.  I have also seen some great ideas on building root cellars on Pinterest that I will share next week.

I often take gardening classes in the winter and a few years ago one of the skills I learned was how to grow potatoes in garbage cans. Potatoes are one of the easiest plants to grow and you can use a standard garbage can or 5 gallon bucket. Ideally you want to start with organic ‘potato seeds’ which is really just cut potatoes revealing the eye’s to start the plants. In a non ideal situation though, any potato you have can be cut into “seeds”. They take roughly 140 days to produce plants but one eye can be quite prolific. It would be best to always have 1-2 (or more) containers going in rotation.

prepping with potatoes: growing potatoes in containers

If you are unfamiliar with growing your own potatoes, this is a great video to get you started. Remember, growing food takes practice. You can’t expect to become a master gardener in one season and with the cost of food going up like crazy it makes sense to start growing as much of your own food as possible! This is one you can do in a small amount of space with a big impact.