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.

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Zombie Soup: Dry Soup Mix For Emergency Prepardness

I have always loved the story of Stone Soup. A community coming together to chip in and make something out of nothing is how I envision what I hope my community becomes in an emergency scenario. Homemade dry soup mix made from dehydrated vegetables is an excellent part of your emergency food storage plans. Before I get blasted by the people out there who keep prepping 100% OPSEC (operational security), I have built sharing into my prepping in a short term emergency. I feel the best security is to make sure that no one around me is truly in need. AKA a zombie. Prepping things like this simple Zombie Soup will hopefully go a long way in keeping the zombies at bay for at least a little while.

Soup makes me happy. It signifies warmth and comfort. This weekend I put together Zombie Soup preps out of our Thanksgiving leftovers. I now have everything I need dehydrated and ready to throw together a soup in our 36 qt. pot that fits on top of the turkey fryer, which makes an extremely efficient propane boiler that would provide that needed warmth, comfort, and nutrition in an emergency situation to a large group.

To make Zombie Soup you really don’t need a recipe. What you do need is the foresight to put away dehydrated foods in your emergency food preps.

Homemade Dry Soup Mix Ingredients for Zombie Soup:

Homemade Dry Soup Mix Ingredients to make Zombie Soup

  • I am a big fan of quinoa for prepping. One cup of cooked quinoa has 222 calories and 8.1 grams of protein. Alternately you could use the prepper staple food- rice or beans or both. If you use quinoa put it in towards the end of your soup cooking cycle as it only takes about 20 minutes in a simmering soup.
  • Dehydrated mushrooms. One Costco sized mushroom container is dehydrated and packed into this Kerr 1 pint mason jar and 1 300 cc oxygen absorber.
  • Dry vegetable soup starter. The third pint size jar has 2 1/2 onions, 1/2 Costco sized bag of carrots, and 6 stocks of celery (had these leftover from Thanksgiving)
  • Bouillon cubes. Sodium and flavor! Or use canned stock. Personally, if I am feeding this to a large crowd I am saving my stock and using cubes with purified water here.

Add as much or as little as you need and want but mark on the outside of the jar what the original volume of the dehydrated foods are. Carrots and celery dehydrate into very small pieces so there is a good deal more there than it appears in its dehydrated state. You could also toss in any meat available.

To save space I could have put the mushrooms in with the soup starter mix, added the bouillon cubes in a small ziplock bag sealed on its on (they have moisture not good for the vegetables) and the quinoa also sealed separately (so it can be cooked less time) all into one foodsaver bag. But to be honest, I can’t find where I hid my last stash of foodsaver bags!

 

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How to Dehydrate Apples

Dehydrating food is a skill that all preppers should master and dehydrated apples are probably the easiest food to learn with.  But I would be seriously remiss in letting anyone think that I store dehydrated apples as long term food storage in this house. Truth is, the second my kids see this bag on the counter they will be gone. The work involved used to make the fact that they would disappear faster than I could peel them discouraging and then I bought an apple peeler/corer/slicer. It cut my prep time down into a ridiculous 20 mins for a 5 lb bag to be opened and the nesco trays running. Now, that is a time I can deal with for making a healthy snack! If you don’t have teenage boys roaming your home, this makes an excellent long term food storage option. Especially when you get apples on sale in the fall.

I used a combination of Fuji and Gala this round.

5# bag of fuji applesI was able to slice, peel and core all the apples in less than 10 mins. You can also use this when prepping potatoes.

apple on peeler/slicer/corerNext, everything goes into a water bath dip with Ball Fruit Fresh.

apples in water and ball fruit fresh bath

5 lb bag fits 6 Nesco trays perfectly.

nesco tray with dehdrated apples I dehydrate for 6-12 hours (depending on how chewy or dry you like them)on 135 degrees. It works perfectly for me to put them in around 3:30 in the afternoon and have my husband shut it off in the morning around 6:30 am.

bagged homemade dehydrated apples

This whole process yields roughly a 1/2 gallon Ziploc bag, which will take my teens minutes to munch through. If I was storing this for long term use, I would seal in a mason jar, take the air out with the foodsaver jar sealer and include a silica gel pack.

I had to wonder who this compares cost wise to just buying a bag. I looks like in my local area I can get a bag this size for roughly $10. Apples right now are running about $1 a pound (not on sale) in my area so this is cheaper. Finding apples less expensive would be better economically but even at the $5 savings I like doing this for my family. They love the taste and it is easy and I know what is in it!

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