MrsM got her catalog from Emergency Essentials. They had a couple of really good sales on this month. I am not affiliated with them at all but they are a good place for your long term storage foods. The best deal (in my humble opinion) they are offering this month are their Freeze-Dried Tomato's. The # 10 cans are on sale for $15.00. They usually run $39.95. I didn't do the math but the ad says that's 62% off the regular price. You will have to buy 6 cans to get the deal but it is worth it for sure. They also have Freeze-Dried Cooked Shrimp in # 10 cans for $28.99. This is the same shrimp that MrsM bought last year for $59.95 a can so the savings on this one is 50%. She said the shrimp is really good too. Oh, in case you might be wondering ( I was ) this is not Gulf Shrimp.
I got a great deal on 10 pounds of carrots the other day at the grocery store. So of course I just HAD to pick some up to dehydrate. I know that many people have gardens and are able to grow their own vegetables. For those that don't, there is still NO excuse for not being able to can, dehydrate and freeze your own veggies. Even if you don't have a garden you can find good deals on fresh vegetables to put up. I know some people think that putting up food is hard to do but I can honestly say it really isn't. And it really isn't a lot of hard work either. Folks who put up their own foods will tell you that the toughest part is getting the foods prepped and ready to put up. The actual canning or drying is a pretty simple process.
You will need a few "tools" of course. For dehydrating you really don't need to much in the way of tools. all you need is a dehydrator. You can buy them new or find a good used one. Check out the thrift stores, freecycle, and your local Craigslist. I know quite a few people who have found dehydrators for free or really cheap with just a bit of looking. Heck, with just a bit of imagination you can even make your own solar dehydrator. Just do a search on the internet and you will come up with lots and lots of designs. You might even be able to drop a hint to Santa and if you have been good this year.....well who know!
Ok, now back to the carrots... I get to rambling sometimes! Here's how I dry my carrots.
Peel your carrots. (don't forget to put the peels in your compost pile)
Cut up the carrots in even pieces. I cut mine into round circles. You want to cut them all approximately the same size so they will dry evenly.
Blanche your carrots for 3-5 minutes and rinse in cold water to stop the "cooking".
Place your carrots on your dehydrator trays in single layers. It's ok if they touch each other but you want to make sure they are not laying on top of each other.
Set your thermostat at 125- 130 degrees and dry for 10-12 hours, or until they are hard and have no moisture in them.
Store them in and air tight jar. I like to vacuum seal my jars for longer shelf life.
To rehydrate, pour enough hot water to cover the carrots well and let them set until they are back to "normal". This usually takes about 20-30 minutes (sometimes a bit longer)
When you are dehydrating most vegetables you can follow these same directions. Some of the blanching times will vary though. That is why it is good to have a decent book on dehydrating. Most dryers come with an instruction booklet that will walk you through all the steps. I don't have any one particular book to recommend but there is a great website called Dehydrate2Store on dehydrating foods here. If you have never checked it out before you ought to give it a look. I highly recommend it.
~~~ ... Hey ... I'm Just Sayin' ... ~~~