101+ Dehydrating Recipes for Food Storage, Hiking and Paleo Diets

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If you think that dehydrating is limited to fruits and raw vegetables, you are wrong. Dehydrating is just one part of creating a vast and effective food storage program. You will find that you can create any number of recipes for eating at home or on the go if you become accustomed to dehydrating and …

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52 Weeks Savings Plan: Watch for these January bargains

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It’s a New Year and time for all sorts of resolutions. Some people resolve to eat healthier, lose weight, and exercise more. These are all great goals, but one that many of us forget has to do with finances. Imagine having extra cash set aside for emergencies — the unexpected trip to the doctor, replacing […]

Dehydrating Kale And Apples: Step By Step

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Dehydrating Kale And Apples: Step By Step It is amazing how much kale has taken over. When the nutritional benefits of kale came to light it seemed that people just flocked to it in a way no one could have ever seen coming. Apples are packed with all the right ingredients for health as well. …

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7 Foods You Should NOT Try To Dehydrate

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Any pro-prepper will tell you that dehydrating food for storage is one of the smartest survival tactics in their repertoire. Dehydrating food gives you the ability to store otherwise perishable rations for years on end. This will not only increase the volume of your food supply but can also add some nutritional variation to what […]

The post 7 Foods You Should NOT Try To Dehydrate appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

How to Use Garden Produce to Bulk Up Your Prepper Pantry

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Many of you are undoubtedly beginning to harvest some veggies from the garden, and many of you generous samaritans are giving away extra stuff.  You may want to reconsider that for a time, and consider dehydrating your extra produce to add to your prepper pantry.

There are as many types of dehydrators as there are words on this page.  The most important thing you can do with your dehydrator (besides ensuring that it works) is to put it to work.  A dehydrator packed in the box with its instructions, safe on your shelf is not doing you any good.  In addition to this, there are a ton of plans for solar dehydrators all over the internet, and articles have been written about solar dehydrating in the past.

One of the rules of dehydrating and perhaps one of the biggest mistakes that people make is that they do not boil/parboil their vegetables before placing them in the dehydrator.  This accomplishes several things.  By parboiling the food, it makes it easier for the dehydrator to extract the fluid from it.  The act of immersion in the boiling water for a couple of minutes also kills any bugs that may have slipped through, and any damaging fungus or exterior plant woes.

If you have a standard, 4-tray dehydrator, you can rock and roll with that thing for about 8 hours and dry your veggies out just fine. Another thing you may want to consider is that when you dehydrate fruits and vegetables there is some nutrient loss, especially vitamin C, but it can easily be added back.  Now, there are plenty of packets out there for canners, and if you want the “Uncle Caveman” method, here it is.  Take a couple of thousand milligrams of Vitamin C tablets, and crush them up into a fine powder.  Yes, the mortar and pestle made from marble are excellent for this.  A hammer with a clean striking face will suffice as a backup.

After powdering your Vitamin C very fine, then take a good-sized bowl (glass, such as Pyrex is best, as you can see the mixture occurring and it will not trap any Vitamin C on the surface) and fill it halfway with water at room temperature.  Mix in the powdered Vitamin C.  Soak the vegetables to be dried for about 1-hour minimum in the refrigerator.  This will allow the C to soak into the tissues of and adhere to the surface of the veggies.  The Vitamin C (being an acid, hence the name ascorbic acid) will keep mold from growing on your stored veggies, as the acidity is not something that fungus and/or “bugs” prefer to live in.

Some high-acidity foods such as tomatoes don’t really need this, as well as other fruits.  Even so, I still do it with apples; better safe than sorry.  Parboiling also helps with things such as berries, as unless the outer skin of the berry is loosened slightly by the boiling, the dehydrator will have a really hard time.  Make sure you use the Vitamin C on these as well!  I lost a whole “crop” of serviceberries because of mold; therefore, ever since I have used the Vitamin C “bath” on everything.

I’m telling you to dehydrate for a reason: in case you haven’t heard, the North Koreans just successfully test-launched an ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) capable of reaching Alaska (the U.S. admitted to) and in reality, able to reach the continental U.S. (CONUS).  It would behoove you to put preps of dried veggies into overdrive, and then maybe branch out to other things such as fruits, meats, and other staples.  You cannot overprepare, and eventually, you would have to can them all anyway if you did not give away your extra.  Keep in that good fight!  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Dehydrate Fresh Strawberries For One Healthy Snack

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Once you dehydrate fresh strawberries you will be hooked on dehydrating, even more, fruits and vegetables. I posted this article a few years ago but I think it needed a little work to refresh the article so here I go. I have taught classes to many people on how to dehydrate just about every fruit and vegetable known to man. I have dehydrated hamburger jerky as well. I need to update that post as well. I’m all about making dehydrating fresh strawberries as easy as possible. Call me lazy but I use a strawberry slicer for a few reasons. The biggest one is the fact that it makes all the slices the same thickness, which means they should dry evenly.

If you have a garden or you can buy them at the store it’s very easy to make a healthy snack in a dehydrator. I bought an Excaliber dehydrator because that’s what I used to teach classes and they sold that brand. It’s the only one I have used and I have had it well over five years. Now, I bought mine with a timer but it’s not necessary but it works for me. I can set it and forget it within reason. What I mean by this is that I like my strawberries a little pliable and not crispy, so I need to keep an eye on them so to speak.

 Dehydrate Fresh Strawberries

Here I am spreading the freshly sliced strawberries in a single layer on the drying rack above. My Excalibur dehydrator booklet states to set the temperature at 135 degrees.

 Dehydrate Fresh Strawberries

These took four hours to dry. Now, remember, the time to dry will always depend on the humidity of the room in which you are drying them.

 Dehydrate Fresh Strawberries

Here are the dehydrated strawberries. Yep, there are some strawberries missing in this picture…my grandkids kept eating them! Love it!

Strawberry Health Benefits:

1. Vitamin C is a great immune booster

2. Vitamin C protects our eyes from getting cataracts

3. Fights the bad cholesterol

4. High in antioxidants

5. Great for helping stop inflammation in arthritis

How To Use Dehydrated Fresh Strawberries:

1. throw a handful into a fresh spinach salad, add some almonds and homemade poppy seed dressing

2. throw some into lunch boxes for lunchtime snacking

3. throw some into a bag to munch on while parked waiting for music or sport lessons

4. add some to homemade muffins

5. sprinkle some on pancakes before flipping the pancake to add a special flavor

You can see why we keep reading to load up on fruits and vegetables. Life is good when our body is strong and healthy.

Dehydrate fresh strawberries:

  • Strawberries washed, hulled, and sliced
  1. Place the strawberries in a single layer and dehydrate at 135 Degrees (Excalibur Dehydrator). Please check your dehydrator for its specific temperature. These took about 4 hours. The dehydrating time all depends on the humidity where you are dehydrating them.
  2. No chemicals or preservatives needed if you eat them within 2 weeks if stored in an airtight container. I like to use my FoodSaver on quart jars.

Please let me know if you have used a dehydrator to dehydrate fresh strawberries, you know I love to hear from you!

Dehydrated Pineapple

The post Dehydrate Fresh Strawberries For One Healthy Snack appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

9 Tips to Avoid the Summertime Prepping Slump

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It’s so easy for the hot, lazy days of summer to just sort of run into each other in a haze of heat and laziness. Then the day arrives when it’s time once again to get the kids ready for school, and we ask, where did the summer go?

If your prepping goals have taken a break right along with your pledge to have the kids do daily math drills and read for at least 30 minutes every day, then here are a few prepping activities and tips to avoid the summertime prepping slump.

1.  Get the kids involved in prepping activities

If they’re sitting around the house doing nothing, then they can help you prep! Children can fill canning jars, mylar bags, and buckets with dry goods and oxygen absorbers. They can help weed the garden and pick ripe fruits and vegetables. They can wash and prepare produce for canning and dehydration. Kids can go through their closets and drawers and pull out toys they no longer play with and clothing that no longer fits.

Hey, every time they say they’re bored, give them a prepping related task, like the ones on this list! They’ll have something productive to do and you’ll accomplish your prepping goals more quickly.

2.  Learn something as a family

Check out online calendars for craft stores, REI, Cabela’s, gyms, and your city’s summertime offerings. Many of these are survival and/or prepping related, such as learning how to read a compass, learning how to crochet or sew, etc. and very often these classes are free.

If these resources aren’t readily available to you, then check out a how-to book or watch some how-to YouTube videos on something your family would like to learn and do it yourselves!

TIP: Browse through my Skill of the Month page for dozens of ideas that will appeal to all members of your family!

Or, ask around and see if there is someone in your circle of friends and acquaintances who has a skill you would like to learn and is a willing teacher.

3.  Turn a family outing or vacation into survival training!

Camping, hiking, fishing — those are all survival related, fun, and everyone can be involved. Check out these articles with more information about enjoying the great outdoors, as a prepper:

7 Summer Children’s Activities for Sowing Survivalist Seeds

25 Things I Learned From Long-Term Camping

A Camping Skill Basic: Safe Fire Building

Camping is More than Just Equipment — Here is a list of skills you need to have

Make This Summer a Family Camping Summer

Survival Mom Camping-Survival Secrets

And then there’s my series on family road trips. As a veteran of some 16,000 highway miles, I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert in this area!

Eating On the Road: A Family Road Trip Survival Plan

Survive the Family Road Trip With These 13 Tips

Surviving the Family Road Trip

4.  Check into summer day camps related to prepping

Two summers ago my kids learned rifle skills in a 2-day camp at a local gun range. Lots of towns and cities start the summer with directories of these day camps.  If your kids are in a day camp or have gone away to camp, learning some sort of practical skill, then you’ll have time to either take a nap, read a relaxing book (just for fun!), or do anything else you like! Free time for mom is necessary!

5.  Amass produce in quantities and begin canning and dehydrating

Summer is prime produce time. Even if your garden was a flop or you didn’t get certain items planted, there are probably local gardeners and farmers who would love to share their bounty. Some might even be willing to trade a portion of their harvest for a portion of yours.

Bountiful Baskets is a large produce co-op that operates in many states. Do an internet search for “produce co-ops” in your area and you may end up finding a source of delicious, fresh product that you can then preserve for later.

Here are a few resources I’ve accumulated here to help you with canning different foods;

Once you have a good amount of green beans or tomatoes or whatever, make a simple plan for canning, dehydrating, and/or pickling. If your kids are whining about being bored, then you know who your helpers will be!

6.  Get away from the electronics!

Nothing zaps energy faster than sitting in front of a TV or computer screen hour after hour. Not only is time wasted but our minds and bodies become accustomed to inaction and it becomes even hard to get up and start doing something!

Allow yourself and the kids only a certain number of minutes per day in front of a screen.

7.  Take a few minutes to make lists to organize your prepping activities

A lot of time we find ourselves in a slump because we’re unfocused and are not sure what to do next. I’ve found that when I have all my scattered goals written down, it helps immensely.

Three lists that have helped me stay organized and focused on my preps are To Learn, To Do, and To Buy. From my book, Survival Mom:

List #1: To Learn
On this list you’ll keep track of skills and knowledge you realize will be important. A few examples on my own list are: Learn to tie various knots and know when to use them; work on creating recipes from my food-storage ingredients; and push my knitting skills to a higher level and knit a pair of socks.

Interestingly, many items on this list won’t cost a dime. If your budget is already strained, and buying even a few extra cans of tuna is a stretch, put more time and energy into learning skills, gaining knowledge, and seeking out other Survival Moms as resources.

List #2: To Do
Here’s another list that doesn’t have to empty out your bank account. Have you been meaning to compile all your important documents or inventory a garage filled with tools? Do you need to prepare your garden for the spring season?

There are simply dozens of things we intend to do, but they flicker in and out of our minds and are then . . . gone! As you read this book, start adding tasks to a To Do list and keep track of what you accomplish. It’s very empowering to see progress, although you will likely never have an empty To Do list!

List #3: To Buy
Although Lists 1 and 2 will keep you busy, there’s really no way around List 3. Stocking up on food, extra toiletries, good quality tools, and other supplies requires money. However, the good news is that a master To Buy list will help set priorities, keep you on budget, and even provide a shopping list when hitting the garage sale circuit.

Without a To Buy list, you may very well find yourself (a) spending money on things you later discover tucked away in a back cupboard or (b) snatching up purchases in a panic. This list helps save money as well as time.

8.  Assess whether or not the emotions that started your prepper journey have changed

If we begin a project or set a goal based mostly on emotion, when that emotion fades, and it will, very often our motivation fades as well. If you began preparing out of fear or panic, it’s likely that you’re not as motivated as you once were.

That’s all perfectly normal. However, if the logical part of your brain is convinced that prepping is important to the well-being of your family. You’ve just entered a new level of motivation based on rational conclusions. This is where lists come in handy: To Do, To Learn, To Buy. They’ll help you stay focused on what is most important regardless of the current state of your emotions.

9.  Start making plans and goals for when the kids are back in school

Summers are wonderful but let’s face it. When the kids return to school, so do routines. Having a predictable schedule once again will help you set priorities, focus on achieving small prepping goals, continue with prepping activities, and become the Super Survival Mom of your dreams!


How To Dehydrate Pineapple When It’s Fresh-Healthy Snacks

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Today it’s all about how to dehydrate pineapple when it’s fresh and juicy. You can see why I have been showing you different foods to dehydrate. I would love it if everyone could get a dehydrator of some kind. This is probably my favorite fruit to dehydrate. My grandkids love freeze dried pineapple. Of course, I can’t freeze-dry my stuff so….I dehydrate it. I had purchased some pineapple from Costco and I could see that my husband and I were not going to be able to eat it as quickly as I had thought. So I put the dehydrator on the counter and started slicing the spears. So easy! Here’s the deal if you have any fruit that you know you won’t be able to eat in the next day or so, you can usually dehydrate it. I dehydrate bananas all the time. The take up less freezer space.

Dehydrate Pineapple-You Will Love It

Dehydrate Pineapple

Here is the finished product. These dehydrated pineapple pieces are ready to take camping, hiking or just to snack on! No preservatives or chemicals…..just a healthy snack for our family! Pineapple helps alleviate arthritis pain.

How To Dehydrate Pineapple When It's Fresh | via www.foodstoragemoms.com

Pineapple is packed with vitamins for a healthier stronger body.  Pineapple strengthens bones. Pineapple even helps with digestion!  Gotta love it!

How To Dehydrate Pineapple

  • 1-3 Pineapples, sliced about ¼ inch thick
  • No chemicals or preservatives
  1. You slice the spears into ¼ to ½ inch pieces and place on the dehydrator racks. I set my Excalibur Dehydrator at 135 degrees. Be sure and check your own dehydrator for the temperature that is required. They took about 9 hours. I like to dry mine so they are still a little pliable, but not too crispy. I place them in quart jars and use my FoodSaver if I do a lot of them. These are a great healthy snack!

Dehydrate Watermelon

My favorite things:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Ratcheting Pineapple Slicer with Depth Guide

Excalibur 2900ECB 9-Tray Economy Dehydrator, Black

Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator, White

The post How To Dehydrate Pineapple When It’s Fresh-Healthy Snacks appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

How To Dehydrate Cucumbers-Amazing Health Benefits-Uses

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Today it is all about how to dehydrate cucumbers. I recently did a dehydrating class right here in St. George, Utah at a local kitchen store. It was so fun to hear the people talk about what they have been dehydrating. I love the fact that I can dehydrate most fruits and veggies when my garden is overloaded. Sometimes I purchase more veggies at the grocery store than is feasible to eat in the short term and they just sit in the refrigerator.

I have decided I need to start dehydrating them when that happens so they don’t go to waste.

Dehydrate Cucumbers:

How to Dehydrate Cucumbers | by FoodStorageMoms.com
You can slice the cucumbers with a knife evenly or use a Salad Shooter like this one: Presto 02910 Salad Shooter Electric Slicer/Shredder
Here is the finished product:

How to Dehydrate Cucumbers | by FoodStorageMoms.com
I snack on these and throw them into salads……no chemicals or preservatives. Just slice and dehydrate. They are ready for a snack, camping or a salad. Have you tried dehydrating pineapple?

How To Use Dehydrated Cucumbers:

1. as a healthy snack

2. puree the dried cucumbers into a salad dressing

3. throw into any fresh garden salad-they add some yummy crunchiness

4. throw some into your morning smoothies

5. they make a great soup base

Amazing Health Benefits Of Cucumbers:

1. they are high in antioxidants

2. they have anti-inflammatory properties-they help cool inflammation in our bodies

3. they manage stress because they are high in multiple B vitamins like B1, B5  and B7

4. they are fiber rich and make you feel full longer

5. cucumbers are made up of about 95% water so fresh cucumbers are a great food to help us stay hydrated

6. place a slice in your mouth-they may help get rid of odor-causing mouth bacteria

I recommend Excalibur Dehydrators

Decide what size dehydrator will work for your family. I bought the 9 tray with a timer because I knew it would last me for years. I like having a timer because I can set the timer and go to bed and it turns off automatically. Some people only need a four tray. Once you start dehydrating, trust me you will never waste food again. This is the one I have: Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator, Black

Here are a few other choices that work great: Excalibur 2900ECB 9-Tray Economy Dehydrator, Black (has a timer). This one is great but does not have a timer but is still a great machine: Excalibur 2400 4-Tray Economy Dehydrator, Black

Jan (awesome reader) mentioned she got her dehydrator at Kohl’s with a 30% discount!! WooHoo!

  • 1-6 Sliced Cucumbers
  1. This recipe is for any amount of cucumbers that you want to dehydrate. It is very simple and easy to dehydrate cucumbers. Wash, dry and slice your cucumbers and place on your dehydrator racks. No chemicals, no blanching….nothing to do but slice. This is an easy way to use up excess cucumbers in your garden or your refrigerator. They are yummy to munch on or add to a fresh garden salad.
  2. I used my Excalibur Dehydrator set at 135 degrees….**with the humidity today it took about 4 hours to dehydrate them.

Dehydrate pineapple

The post How To Dehydrate Cucumbers-Amazing Health Benefits-Uses appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

Food Storage and Freeze drying!

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Food Storage and Freeze drying! Ray Becker “The Ray Becker Show” Audio player provided! On this show, I have a guest with me: Stephanie from Harvest Right. We are going to cover Freeze Drying food for long term storage. Along with freeze drying, I will address other methods of storing your food. Long term storage … Continue reading Food Storage and Freeze drying!

The post Food Storage and Freeze drying! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

What Preppers Are Storing That Will Kill Them!

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What Preppers Are Storing That Will Kill Them Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio in player below! Could you be stockpiling something that will ultimately kill you after SHTF? Odds are, you have been storing this stuff for years. What is this potentially deadly and exceedingly common prepping item? If you guessed prepackaged food storage, … Continue reading What Preppers Are Storing That Will Kill Them!

The post What Preppers Are Storing That Will Kill Them! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

10 Awesome Tips You Never Knew About Using Wood Stoves That May Change Your Life

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 ReadyNutrition Readers, we’re having a heatwave out here in Montana…it’s 9 degrees Fahrenheit while I’m writing this.  I hope you guys and gals are nice and warm and you have a good wood stove in front of you keeping it so.  You recall I wrote one on wood stoves not too long ago, and I wanted to supplement this for a few more things you can do with yours.  Aside from using wood stoves to stay warm and cook food on, here are a few tips you never knew on how to get the most out of your wood stove.

10 Ways to Make the Most of a Wood Stove


One of the things you should consider is the potash that comes from your stove.  Yes, all that wood turns into ashes that can be recycled and used.  One of the things that you can do is to store them in a container (preferably a metal one that has a tightly-fitting lid) and use them later for producing your own soap.  The ashes are boiled down in water (yes, this too can be done on your wood stove!), and combined with lye and other ingredients.

Your ashes can also be used for metal polishing, for the likes of metals such as brass and silver.  It works really well straight up, or mixed with just a few drops of water.  The ashes can also be combined with your compost piles and used as a form of fertilizer to replace many valuable minerals and nutrients that comes from carboniferous materials being burned.  Why do you suppose a new forest sprouts up in a few years after a forest fire?   All of that burned wood goes into the soil and enriches it.  You can turn it into your gardens when you’re planting in the springtime for the same effect.


Charcoal is another product that you can take from your wood stove.  Used for a variety of things besides just cooking, charcoal can also be finely-crushed and added to your ash supply to make soap.  It can be set aside for use as cooking material or a fire-starting ingredient and even used to clean teeth.  Charcoal can also be used to filter water (see previous articles on water purification).


There’s also soot from the chimney (although you’ll probably have to wait until springtime to obtain it when you brush your chimney pipe).  Soot is the black substance formed by the combustion of your wood in the stove.  This is fine particulate matter that adheres to your pipe walls, and is blackened, consisting mainly of carbon that has not been completely burned. Soot is responsible for many chimney fires.  Soot can be mixed (in small quantities as needed) with a little bit of vegetable oil and some water to make your own ink.  A type of soot is called lampblack, and is used in enamels, paints, and inks from a commercial perspective.

That soot also has a great deal of unburned oils and resins in it (especially if you burn a lot of pine…don’t scoff…if you live in the Rockies, you will burn pine unless your last name is Rockefeller, believe me).  The oils, resins, and unburned carbon are excellent to mix with things such as sawdust and lint, with some wax for fire starters for the wood stove or camping and backpacking.

Dehydrate Food

The top of the stove is great for dehydrating food as well.  You have recipes from ReadyNutrition for pemmican and jerky.  You can make your own on top of the stove with small-aperture wire racks…of the type to cool off hot sandwiches and the like.  Lay your meat on top of the wood stove top on the racks and allow that heat to dry them right out.

We’d love to hear any suggestions of things that you have found to do with your wood stoves (along with heating your home and cooking, of course).  It is all part of your preps and homesteading and learning to economize and obtain the maximum use for all of the materials you have at your disposal.  Explore some of these and let us know what you think, as well as things you have discovered on your own.  Keep up that good fight, drink a good cup of coffee, and stay warm!




Don’t forget to join us March 9th 7 p.m. (CST) for a FREE interactive webinar about solar cooking. Click here for more details!


Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

How to Avoid This Potentially Dangerous Preservative Found in Dried Fruit

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dried fruitIf you opened up a pantry belonging to any prepper, you’d most likely find a veritable cornucopia of dried foods within. It’s pretty much a staple for preppers. Unfortunately, dried foods of all kinds often come packaged with preservatives that aren’t so healthy. It can be a real challenge to find long-lasting foods that you would want to eat during an emergency, that aren’t also filled with toxic preservatives.

Among those preservatives, there’s one that most people aren’t aware of. It’s called sulfur dioxide, and it’s found in more foods than you probably realize. It can be found in wine, jam, fruit juices, shrimp, instant coffee, pickled foods, processed meats, and powdered potatoes.  And the one food that probably contains the most sulfur dioxide is dried fruit. It’s typically added to all of these foods, not only to prevent bacterial growth, but to preserve the color of the food.

So is sulfur dioxide something that you need to worry about? That really depends on who you ask. The FDA has deemed it safe for most people. I say “most people” because some folks are more sensitive to it than others. About 1 in 100 people have some degree of sensitivity to sulfur dioxide, and people who are asthmatic are 5-10 times more likely to have a sensitivity.

When these individuals consume this preservative, they may face nausea, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and sometimes full-blown asthma attacks. Occasionally this leads to death. And just because you’ve never had any harmful symptoms from eating these foods, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re out of the woods. You can develop a sensitivity to sulfur dioxide at any point in life. It’s also important to note that even if you never have this kind of reaction, sulfur dioxide might still hurt you. A study conducted in 2004 found that sulfur dioxide, when fed to mice, would damage their DNA and cause cancer.

With that said, it may be a good idea to avoid this preservative entirely. If you avoid processed foods, then you’re already on the right track. You can also avoid sulfur dioxide by buying organic products. At the very least you should be checking the labels on anything you buy. Any food item that contains this preservative in more than 10 parts per million is required to be labelled as such to protect people who are sensitive to it.

And if you really love dried fruit and want to make it a staple in your emergency food supply, you can also make it yourself in your oven. You can dry fruit in the sun. And if you’re a real fanatic for dried fruit, you can buy a food dehydrator.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Be Our Guest – Food Preserving Part 2

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Creek, Food Preservation, Off-grid, Refrigeration, Spring House,

Want a spring house but have no spring? Diverting water from a small creek is an option

In Part I, I covered canning and smoking as food preservation methods. This aricle take a look at refrigeration and dehydration.

Freezing and refrigeration is the easy way to preserve food compared to some other methods. The only problem is, once frozen or cooled it has to stay that way until consumption.

Before the wonders of electricity and modern technology, how did people do this?

On farms and in small villages it was common to have a spring house which would provide natural refrigeration. A stone building with troughs dug into the ground on which the house stood would be built over a natural spring. Water from the spring would flow through the troughs and jugs of milk or other produce could be placed in the channels. These would then be kept cool as the water flowed around them. Ledges and hooks would also be provided in the spring house, to hang meat and vegetables in a cooler environment.

If the house wasn’t built over a natural spring, water could be redirected from a nearby creek. Initially some spring houses were made of wood, however this was prone to rotting. Stone therefore is the better material, not only does it hold the cold better but it won’t decompose or decay with time.

Fancy building your own spring house? You can find out more at Bright Hub.

Another option which was used before electricity and still used today is root cellars.

These underground rooms stay cool in the summer but above freezing in the winter – perfect for fruits, vegetables and canned goods. The cool temperatures prevent bacterial growth and the humidity prevents withering. Ideally the cellar will have temperatures between 30 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, have low levels of sunshine, good insulation from materials such as straw or soil and be easily accessible.

Root cellars come in a variety of forms from walk in rooms to putting trash cans in the ground to create a “mini” cellar. If you’re on a tight budget, take a look at this video by the Walden Effect, who made a root cellar out of an old refrigerator.

Speaking of refrigerators, if you want to be a bit more tech-centric, then there are various options for off-grid cold food storage.
Propane fridge, RV, off-grid, food preservation, chest freezer, solar freezer

RV owners have relied on propane fridges for many years – but are they worth the cost?

Propane fridges have been a staple for many RV owners and in off-grid homes. Some models can run off propane, DC or AC, making them more flexible. Although these appliances are good for keeping food cold and frozen with ample storage, they do require some maintenance and if they break down can be expensive to repair. Not only this, propane may be unavailable or very expensive to get hold of in certain areas and some propane fridge models can be extremely “fuel hungry” – not exactly the most economical option. There is also an initial investment of over $1,000. Take the Dometic DM2652 on Amazon at $1,119.99. This model measures 24 x 23 x 53.8 inches and so is perfect size for an RV, if you’re willing to spend the money.

Solar power refrigerators are also gaining ground.

Some of which can be hooked up directly to solar panels, running off direct current. The EcoSolarCool Solar Refrigerator on Amazon operates on 12 or 24 DC volts and is reported to be the most efficient solar refrigerator when tested against two other leading brands also advertised on Amazon. Coming in at 121lb, this stand-alone 25.3 x 23.6 x 57.1 inch model is a good size with just over 9 cubic feet capacity for storage. It comes with an upper freezer compartment and a lower refrigerator compartment. With prices starting at $1299.00 though, this is also an appliance that comes with a rather large price tag.

Another alternative is investing in a chest freezer.

These range in price but can be fairly inexpensive and have good storage space. Plus they can average under 2 amps when running. However, because of its shape (it’s a chest) rummaging around for the food you want can be a pain. Chest freezers can also develop condensation and it is best to buy a separate thermostat to monitor the temperature. Some chest freezers come ready to be run by solar power such as the Sundanzer Solar-Powered Refrigerator – 1.8 Cubic Ft., “>Sundanzer Refrigerator, specifically designed for off-grid use.

If you want a more DIY approach and temporary refrigeration then a zeer pot could be the answer.

Popular in Africa, zeer pots are essentially one terracotta pot inside another. One pot must be small enough to fit inside the other pot, but large enough to hold whatever you want to keep cool. The gap between the two pots is filled with sand and then water. The process of evaporative cooling keeps the inner pot much cooler than the outside environment. Although this is not cool enough for meat storage, it is still an option for other produce such as vegetables. If you fancy making your own zeer pot, have a read of this.

From keeping things cold to heating things up! Another food preservation technique is dehydration.

Efficient with zero energy input and little hands on time required, dehydration is perhaps one of the easiest ways to preserve food. The downsides to dehydration are that even though foods weigh less and so are easier to store, there is a longer time for food preparation later when making meals. Also dehydrated food can have a different taste (and texture obviously) to fresh produce. If using a solar dehydration method then you are limited to when the sun is out. This may not be such a problem at lower latitudes, but higher latitudes can be very restricted in their “sun time”.

Dehydrator, food preservation, solar, off-grid

Dehydrating foods can be done in a variety of ways from drying in the sun to using an electric dehydrator

Herbs and greens are the easiest foods to dehydrate; they dry quickly with no slicing required. Fruits and veggies are a little trickier; they need to be sliced thinly or diced into small pieces for drying. Smaller fruits like blueberries should be punctured to allow the moisture to escape during the process. Meat and fish are the most challenging to dry safely. The cuts need to be sliced as thinly as possible and be kept in a constant supply of warm air. Salting first will help with the preservation. Meat and fish especially should be stored in a cool place after drying to ensure they last for a few months.

So what can you use for dehydrating?

Firstly, you could invest in an electric dehydrator. These are probably the most convenient option for setting up (with no babysitting) but require a power source. The Excalibur Food Dehydrator being sold on Amazon at $244.95 is one such appliance. With nine large trays boasting 15 square feet of drying space, you can hardly complain for lack of room. But despite this the whole body is not overly large at 17 x 19 x 12.5 inches. An adjustable thermostat ensures you dry at the temperature you want and a 26 hour timer means you can walk away without the fear of forgetting about your food!

If you want to go down the solar dehydrator route, there are pre-assembled options. For instance the Hanging Food Pantrie Solar Food Dehydrator has five drying trays and protects food from insects and pests whilst using the suns energy to dry the food. No noisy fans and it’s collapsible for easy storage after use. Retailing on Amazon at $59.99, this is an option if you want something that stores well but also has good drying space.

Alternatively, you can go the whole hog and build your own solar dehydrator.

There are many variations and the beauty of this option is you can adapt the design to suit your needs. The basic components are a heat collector and a drying box. The heat collector has a clear plastic top which heats the air inside causing it to rise up and into the drying box. This is typically made of plywood with trays to rest the food on top of. Strategically placed vents help to control the air flow into and out of the dehydrator box to keep a constant circulation around the food.

If you want more detailed information on building your own solar dehydrator, take a look at this guide.

The post Be Our Guest – Food Preserving Part 2 appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

How to Make Pemmican: A Step-By-Step Guide

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dried-beefWe’re going to do an introduction on making pemmican, a survival and backpacking food that can be used all year round as well as prepared anytime.  It is a lot simpler to make than most people realize, and does not take up a whole lot of resources or too much time.  Pemmican can be stored for long periods of time and can give you a ready source of protein when you don’t have the time to cook up a large meal.  Sure, you can buy a whole pallet of it at a time from Costco, but when your supply runs out, how do you replenish it after the SHTF?  Well, this piece gives you the basics of how to do that.

Pemmican is the Original Superfood

Pemmican is similar to jerky, but it isn’t: it’s a little different.  It is actually the original processed meat, “invented” if you will, by the Indian tribes to provide a way to preserve the meat from their wild game.  Now, as I mentioned to you in previous articles, man needs fats in his diet and vitamins as well that are not able to be furbished completely by wild game.  Here is where it becomes tricky: the Indians had to supplement their meat with fish, vegetables, herbs, and fruits both wild-crafted and raised to well-round their diets.  Pemmican well-rounded the Indians diet by adding some fats as well as some vitamins and minerals to the protein.

Pemmican is the result of drying the meat in thin strips, grinding it and pulverizing it into powder, adding liquefied fat and seasonings, and re-drying it to form the finished product.  That’s it!  The Indians had deer, elk, buffalo (bison), and antelope to use.  Most pemmican these days is made of beef and comes in a family-friendly, happy plastic bag with food grade desiccant.  This method I’m going to give to you is bare bones to make your pemmican.  Here it is:

Jeremiah’s Pemmican Recipe

What You Will Need:

  • 4 cups of extra lean meat…this is about a pound/a pound and a half…pick your meat
  • 4 cups of dried fruits, such as raspberries, blueberries, or even raisins
  • 2 cups of fat (after rendering), or about ½ pound of weight
  • Seasonings: I prefer dried onion and garlic powder, salt, pepper, etc.
  • Sweeteners: You can also use some molasses or honey if you wish

The Process:

  1. Slice up your meat in long, thin slices (as thin as possible).  One way to slice it thin is to have regular pieces of meat, and harden it in the freezer.  Don’t freeze it!  You just want the meat to be “sliceable”, but more “solid” than just barely-refrigerated meat or meat at room temperature.  Then you can add your seasonings.  Rub it in with your hands, spreading it evenly over the sliced pieces.

2. Next set that meat on the rack of your oven, and keep the temperature as low as you can go…around 135 to 150 degrees F.  Permit the oven door to be gapped/cracked during the process, as this will cut down on the humidity and water building up from the drying.  Do this for 12-16 hours, until your meat is dried out and akin to a potato chip…brittle, or crisped.

3. Pulverize this meat in any way that you wish (mortar and pestle, hammer, food processor…whatever works).  Pulverize your dried fruits (you may have to dry them even further than when you first get them).  Next comes the liquefied fat to add…first you must liquefy it.  This is called “rendering,” and you can do it in a saucepan or in a crock pot, after you cut up the fat into pieces that will easily dissolve.  Beef tallow is the best…you can pick this up from a butcher shop.  You can use pork lard; however, I don’t recommend it because it doesn’t keep as long or as well as the beef fat.

4. All of your chopped-up beef and fruit can be placed in a large pan…such as a baking or casserole pan for the addition of the fat.  Do not use the fat until it has been liquefied completely, and you’ll have to remove the solid portions of any bits floating in it…use a small sieve/strainer to scoop these pieces out by hand.  For the sweeteners (such as molasses or honey) I like to take about a quarter cup and mix it into the meat prior to the addition of the liquefied fat.

5. Then carefully pour your hot rendered fat all over the meat, allowing the fat to be absorbed by your powdered mixture.  You need to take your time with this step, and then smooth/pat the fat into place with your hands to further enable the even distribution of the fat into the meat.  A good cook uses his or her hands.  A great cook washes their hands before using them to cook!

6. When this congeals and hardens, you can cut it into strips or whatever shapes your heart desires.  I personally like to use a pair of scissors (a pair I only use for food and cooking), and cut them into elongated strips about 1” in width and 6” in length.  The reason I make them this size is that they’re easier to pull out and eat.  So many times, with store-bought pemmican you have to rip it all to pieces just to cram it into your awaiting maw.  “Not I,” said the little red hen!  I want to eat leisurely and not waste effort or energy ripping my food into bite-sized pieces. You can store this best either in plastic or in wax paper (I prefer the latter) and then flatten it out, and throw it into Ziploc bags.  Keep it in a cool place free of light and moisture, and it’ll be good for a long, long time.

So basically, that’s it!  Simple enough, right?  Now you have the information and all you need to do now is employ it!  Just think: there’s still time to make yourself a batch before New Year comes about.  Oh, what a delightful crowd-pleaser it will be to make up some and have everyone eat it all up right in front of your eyes!  Partygoers and piranhas have one difference: both eat everything until they’re filled up, but the piranhas don’t also grab some extra to take home with them!  You make up a batch of jerky and (if they haven’t eaten it all) they’ll take it!  Just make sure to keep some set aside for yourself so that you can enjoy what you made.  Happy New Year to all!  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

16 Facts You Should Know Before Dehydrating Food

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16 Facts You Should Know Before Dehydrating Food

Dehydrating food is one of my favorite ways of preserving; I love it so much I’m teaching a class on dehydrating foods! So if you’ve got a dehydrator in the closet that you bought for just making jerky–get it out! Because let me tell you, it can do so much more than make jerky! There are 25 lessons in the dehydrating eCourse and only one of them is about making jerky. Yes, you read that correctly–25 classes, and I keep trying to make them short and sweet but they all at least 20 minutes long, most are a little more. Not to worry, they are not too long, most are under 30 minutes. I only mention this because there is so much more to dehydrating than jerky.

Maybe you don’t even have a dehydrator yet and are wondering if dehydrating is for you. I hope I can convince you to give it a try because it’s fun, easy and so versatile. You can build a complete food storage easily, quickly and safely.

Dehydrating is a very old method of food preservation. If you remove 90 to 95% of the water content from food then bacteria that aids in the decomposition process can’t survive. Your food is preserved in a sort of suspended state waiting for you to add the water back in order to nourish your body. Here are some important facts you should know about this great food preserving method.

Facts About Dehydrating Food

Easy To Do
Dehydrating is fun and easy. Most foods can be dehydrated and there aren’t a ton of rules you have to remember like other food preservation methods. There are techniques that help your food be at its best through the dehydrating process but it’s really hard to “mess up” when dehydrating.

Risk Factor Is Low
There is a risk factor with all preserved foods. After all, they are not fresh, so something had to make them safe to eat at a later time. The risk of your food not being safe to eat after you have preserved it is very low with dehydrating. There is also a low risk of your food not tasting good after you’ve dehydrated it, provided you’ve used the correct pre-treatment.

Dehydrating preserves more of a food’s natural enzymes than other forms of food preservation. Dehydrated food can be as nutritious as fresh food provided the food is dehydrated at low temperatures. This is especially handy for preserving herbs for natural remedies, since all of the herb’s healing properties can be preserved.

Light and Portable
Dehydrated food is light and portable. All the heavy water content has been removed so the food is super light. This makes stuffing it in a backpack, a bug out bag or a 72 hour kit a great choice. You can carry considerably more dehydrated food than fresh or other food preserved by a different method.

Easily Add Food To Your Food Storage
Since dehydrating is such an easy process you can quickly build up a food storage for whatever emergency might come along, or just for a rainy day.

Takes Up A Smaller Amount Of Space
Since dehydrated food is missing the water content, not only is it light and portable, but its size is greatly reduced. So your food storage takes up less space. This is great for people who don’t have a lot of storage space. Also, it can be stacked, unlike home-canned food.

Preserve Your Organic Garden
You worked hard on that organic garden. Dehydrating is a great way to preserve your harvest. You can simply put things in your dehydrator as they become ripe. You can dehydrate in large or small batches.

Unique Recipes
You can create some great-tasting recipes even if you’re not trying to build a food storage. Have you ever had homemade crunchy spiced corn or kale chips? They make great healthy snacks.

Less Running To the Grocery Store
This one is kind of a no-brainer if you have a food storage. But the thing is that sometimes you’d rather run to the store before opening a case, jar or can of something in your food storage. But when you dehydrate you can open almost any container, take a little out, and seal it back up with little or no trouble.

Uses A Minimum Amount Of Energy
Other forms of food preservation use a lot of energy either for the process itself (C

) or to maintain the environment (freezing). Dehydrating takes very little energy to process food and none to store it.

Dehydrated Food Is Easy To Cook With
Dehydrated foods are really easy to cook with. Most of the time you can throw them into soups or stews without even reconstituted them. Even if you need to rehydrate them for a recipe it usually only takes a quick soak in a bit of water.

Save A Ton Of Money Making Powders
Not only can you save a ton of money by preserving things from your garden but you can save a ton of money by not having to buy so many items from the spice isle. You can make your own garlic and onion powder. Dry your own basil and rosemary. You can even make some of your own spice powders like ginger and turmeric powder.

Equipment Is A Good Investment
A good dehydrator is not super cheap but it’s probably not the most expensive thing in your kitchen either. The thing is if you buy a good dehydrator (I recommend an Excalibur) then you’re likely to have it for years. They are excellent dehydrators and mine has paid for itself many times over.

Can Be Done In Any Location
You can dehydrate most any place on earth. All you need is either a bit of electricity or the sun. Sun Oven makes a dehydrating kit for their solar oven, and you always have the option of making your own solar dehydrator. So dehydrating is a great off-grid food preserving option.

Children Love It
Kids love bite-sized snacks, and dehydrating different foods can give them a variety of healthy snacks. They are no longer limited to just raisins. You can dehydrate most any food and kids love the sweet (most fruit is sweeter once it’s dehydrated) chewy bites.

Dehydrated Foods Can Be Stored At Room Temperature
Although any food will last longer the cooler, darker and dryer it stays, dehydrated food will last a good long while at room temperature as long as it stays dry. So that means you can store it in a closet or bedroom.

Did I leave any dehydrating facts out? What’s your favorite reason for dehydrating food?


Source : selfreliantschool.com

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How to Dry Pears for Pear Candy

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Dehydrating pears is a simple and super delicious drying project.  Dehydrating fruits intensifies the flavor and makes them portable, snackable, and easy to pack with you for day trips, camping, car snacks, long meetings, you get the idea.  Dehydrated pears are sweet and chewy like pear candy and you’ll probably have to hide them from […]

Harvest Time the right time to Preserve!

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Harvest Time the right time to Preserve! Bob Hawkins “The APN Report” Listen in player below! Now that we’ve reached the Fall season, we’ve reached the time to harvest & preserve foods for the coming winter… or at least that’s what people have done from the dawn of time. Today, normal folk now count on … Continue reading Harvest Time the right time to Preserve!

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The Beginner’s Guide To Emergency Food Storage

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Having a large food stockpile is one of the main goals of every prepper. Unfortunately, many newbies think that all they have to do is run to the store and fill a cart with canned foods. This is a costly mistake. You need to take some time to figure out what foods to store and […]

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Food Preservation – Preserving Your Harvest     

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It’s that time of year in Vermont… apple season.  We live near several family owned orchards that have a plethora of apple options – pre-picked, pick your own, utility apples, fresh pressed cider, and mouth-watering apple cider donuts.  It’s also the season for some wonderful wild mushrooms such as Black Trumpets – a relative of chanterelles.  Of course, it’s time for my herb garden to end the season – if I actually plant an herb garden.  Obviously I can’t keep all of this bounty in its current form for the winter, so now I’m in the process of preserving what I’ve grown, gathered, picked, and purchased.  Here’s an overview of my favorite food preservation options:

Food Preservation – Canning

I love canning; but I truly believe it’s the messiest food preservation option out there.  It also requires the most specialized equipment.  You’ll need a pressure canner or water bath canner and jars and lids.  Canning also requires the most preparation; but this includes preparing jams, jellies, applesauce, fruit butters, tomatoes, etc.

There are two types of canning – water bath and pressure canning.  High acidity foods like fruits and tomatoes can be canned using the water bath method.  The Ball Kerr website has a great step-by-step guide to water bath canning.  Water bath canning can be done using a special water bath canner, a pressure canner or a large stockpot with a lid.

Pressure canning is necessary for low acid foods to ensure there won’t be spoilage.  Pressure canners are not cheap and I recommend that you buy the best one you can afford.  Remember, a pressure canner can become a bomb if used improperly.  Don’t let this scare you; using a pressure canner correctly can store your entire harvest.  Again, the Ball Kerr website has a wonderful step-by-step guide to pressure canning.

Be sure that the jars seal.  You can hear them seal when they pop as they cool and the lids will be slightly concaved.  Never eat any foods from a jar with an unsealed lid or a broken seal.  Never reuse a lid; they are made for single use only.  Jars and rings can be reused again and again.

Canned foods take up more storage space than dehydrated and frozen foods.

Food Preservation – Dehydrating

diy dehydrator
Dehydrating is probably the easiest food preservation method with the least amount of preparation and special equipment.   Dehydrating is simply removing the majority of the moisture from the food.

Before you actually start the process you need to prepare the items.  Most often you need only to cut or slice the produce; think commercial apple chips or sun-dried tomatoes.  There is no hard, fast rule for this.  Simply reduce the size of the item and expose the “wetter” interior of the item.  Smaller, thinner pieces are going to dehydrate faster, but may not be what you want your final product to be.  Most fruits benefit from a short soak in water with a bit of lemon juice.  This keeps the fruits from browning.  Note – this doesn’t change the fruits, but keeps them from browning too much.

Fruit leathers and jerky take more preparation.  Fruits must be pureed for fruit leathers and spread thinly on a baking sheet or fruit leather tray for your dehydrator.  For jerky, the meat must be sliced thinly with the grain then marinated.  There are lots of recipes, suggestions and even premade marinades available.  Select very lean meat, as the fat increases the possibility of spoilage.

The actual dehydrating can be done in your oven, in a counter top – or larger – dehydrator or out in the sun.  A dehydrater can be counter top or larger.  There are so many options than run from <$50 to several hundred.  I have this Nesco model and love it.  What I like about my dehydrator is that it doesn’t tie up my oven and my baking sheets.  To use your oven, simply spread your prepared produce in a single layer on a baking sheet and put into your oven heated to 150F-200F.

If you want to dehydrate in the sun, all you actually need is something on which to spread your prepared produce.  Of course, this leaves it exposed not only to the sun, but also to the wildlife.  A quick, inexpensive trip to the hardware store or a browse about the garage, and you can make a dehydrating frame.  Make a square frame with wood- 2x4s work well because they allow some space for the items.  Tack wire hardware cloth or small gauge chicken wire to one side.  You can spread you prepared items on a flat surface and cover with the screen or you can make two screens and stack them.  Use clamps or something heavy to weigh down and make it harder for furry thieves.  Using the sun will take longer than using a dehydrator or your oven, but it adds a little something extra that’s difficult to define.

Be sure to remove as much of the moisture as possible before storage.  Once your items are dehydrated, they need to be stored in a sealed container – a vacuum sealer is great for this.

Food Preservation – Freezing

foodsaver gamesaver
Freezing produce retains more of the items “integrity” than other options.  Freezing requires very little preparation of the items, usually just washing then cutting or chopping the item.  The only equipment you need is a freezer (duh) and freezer-safe containers.  Reusable containers are great, but require more space in your freezer and initial investment.  Zipper bags are also good options.  The biggest issue with these options is freezer burn, be careful that you remove as much air as possible from your containers.  This is where a vacuum sealer is worth the investment.  Seriously, why spend the effort of growing, harvesting and gathering or spending the money on produce if it’s going to be ruined with freezer burn?

Vacuum sealers are available at most big box home stores and department stores as well as my favorite vendor, Amazon.  I have a FoodSaver GameSaver model.  This gives me the option of using the film as well as special reusable containers.  I’ve learned that wider, flatter bags store better and defrost faster.  Unless your seal breaks or the film is punctured, you won’t lose any food to freezer burn.

Before you prepare stacks and stacks of containers for your freezer, be sure you have the freezer space.  Refrigerator freezers have extremely limited space and should really only be used for short term storage since the door is opened so often giving fluctuations in the temperature.  Chest or stand freezers are available everywhere – Lowes, Home Depot, Amazon, Walmart, Craigslist, etc.  Get one that works with your space and lifestyle.  Remember, bigger is not always better, especially with a chest style.  Things tend to get lost at the bottom and you may find something you put in there 10 years ago.  It’s good to keep an inventory of your frozen foods to keep things from getting “lost”.

Food Preservation – Root Cellar

root cellar
When I was growing up, I was a little afraid of my grandparents’ root cellar.  It was built into the side of a hill and had a damp, mustiness about it that was in comforting in a way.  I wish I had one just like it. Traditionally, root cellars were below ground but that really isn’t necessary.  Root cellars are basically below-ground rooms to store food with a consistent temperature around 35F-40F with high humidity of 90%-95%.  Ventilation is also very important; good circulation inhibits mold growth.  Potatoes, carrots, beets, turnips, rutabagas and even apples can be stored for the winter in a root cellar.  I found this great article to help you set up your root cellar.  My husband and I keep trying to figure out where we can put one.

Don’t let all of the effort and expense you spent over the summer go to waste. Start small and within your budget, space and resources.  Enjoying these foods throughout the year is why we do this, right?

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Dehydrating Food Tips

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It doesn’t matter if you’re a Prepper or not dehydrating vegetables and meat has many wonderful benefits. Here are just a few:

1. Food storage.
2. Food Preservation. You actually increase the sugar, vitamins, and mineral content by dehydrating.
3. Easy food preparation.

Here are a few great tips to know when dehydrating vegetables:

1. There is no need to cook a vegetable before drying if it is one that you would eat raw in a salad such as pepper, tomato, mushroom or onion. All you have to do is clean, cut uniformly and spread in a single layer on dehydrator trays. You can go either way with carrots, but steaming them will turn them a nice dark orange when dried.

2. A vegetable that you would normally cook before eating such as corn, peas, broccoli and green beans will usually re-hydrate better if you steam them for eight minutes before drying, but it is not always necessary. It depends on how you will cook them.

3. It is not necessary to steam the vegetable before drying if included in meals where you bring it to a boil for one minute and let it sit insulated in the pot for ten minutes (corn is an exception).

Before going into the details of this article, there is one overriding tip you must follow to have success with your food dehydrator. Read the instruction manual fully and carefully. Different dehydrating units work differently and you will not get excellent results without first learning how to operate settings of your particular machine properly.

There are several designs of food dehydrators. The better designs have a fan at the back of the unit rather than on the top. The reason being is that this methods promotes a more even air and moisture low around your flow. Top fan units don’t give the even circulation that is needed to have all the food dehydrate at the same rate. However, if you’re looking for a top fan dehydrator unit try this one. It has excellent reviews from Amazon with over 2,400 comments.

Pay attention to the recommended thickness of the items you put on the dehydrator. Many of the items you dehydrate will need to be cut before you put them on the shelves. If the slices are of differing thicknesses, you will not get a nice consistent quality from the dehydrated food. Some pieces could dry too much and others could retain too much moisture – causing spoilage when you store it away.

Ultimate Dehydrating Success Tip:

Just like any successful recipe, I suggest that you make a log book of your dehydration recipes. This will help you recreate your success in the future. You should record all relevant details like: (1) temperature of the dehydrator, (2) how many shelves you used, (3) what items were in it and how thick the slices were, (5) how long it took to be ready, how well it stored and the weather conditions. A very humid day is going to affect your product differently than a very dry day. This book is especially important when dealing with seasonal items because it will get you up to speed much more quickly when season rolls around again.

  • Fruit leather trays are a good accessory to get, they actually make the job of dehydrating easier. You can even make all sorts of fruit and vegetable puree roll-ups. Some of the less expensive dehydrators tell you to just line a shelf with plastic wrap or wax paper. This will work too but it is better to have a tray built specifically for your unit. You will get better results. In the end the fruit leather tray just makes the whole process of dehydrating hassle free and a time saver.
  • Spray trays with a light coat of vegetable oil before using to keep foods from sticking. This is an area where you can experiment. Some foods will stick and others won’t. If you know a food won’t stick, there is no reason to add oil to it. But if it does stick, a light coating is a lifesaver.
  • Treat apples, pears and other fruits with citrus juice or ascorbic acid. This will help to retain the color of the fruit before, during and after the drying process
  • Blanche vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, celery, carrots, corn, peas and potatoes to speed drying time and to help maintain color.
  • Cool all foods completely before storing. Hot foods can cause moisture to condense in your storage container as it cools down. This will spoil all your efforts.
  • Humid air can slow down the dehydration process.
  • Slice and season meats like chicken, turkey, fish, beef or game. Fish and Poultry need to be cooked or smoked before they are dried.
  • You can dehydrate tomato sauce from a jar! It will look similar to a fruit roll-up. They can then be easily rehydrated with water! It’s a great way to bring sauces on camping trips without having to pack in heavy, bulky jars!

Be adventurous. Experiment. Try new things. The worst that happens is you lose a tray of food and a bit of time.

Once you get the hang of it, using a food dehydrator is pretty easy and it can make some amazing foods that can be eaten as is. Mix a few dehydrated veggies with a little seasoning and you have your very own to go munchie pack.

After foods are dehydrated, they need to be stored properly. Here are my recommendations:

1. Place your dehydrated food in an air tight food grade containers, mylar bags, or if you’re freezing your dehydrated food in Ziploc bags with a food grade oxygen absorber/moisture absorber pack as this will help alleviate any problems if a small portion still has moisture in them.

2. You should know that fats are and can be a problem when dehydrating. Even though you can make fantastic homemade jerky with your food dehydrator, you want to take pains to choose very lean cuts of meat or remove as much fat as possible. Too much fat in the meat will cause it to go rancid fairly quickly and this will ruin any meat that you might want to preserve long time.

Cost Saving Dehydrating Tip:

You can dehydrate frozen vegetables too. So if you find some great sales in the frozen food aisle, give it a go. It’s a great way to stock up on dehydrated foods without doing all the cutting and cleaning you will need to do with fresh produce.

The post Dehydrating Food Tips appeared first on American Preppers Network.

How to Make One of the Hardiest Non-Perishable Survival Foods

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pemmicanMaintaining a supply of non-perishable food is usually of the highest priority for preppers, which explains why there is such a wide variety of books and articles catering to the prepper community, on canning, dehydrating, and storing food. But among all of the food preservation methods that are so popular with preppers, there is one little known method that stands out. It is by no means unheard of, but it isn’t nearly as popular as it used to be.

I’m referring to the process of making pemmican; a type of non-perishable food that is known for its high calorie density. Pemmican was first created by the Native Americans, and was later adopted by European settlers. It remained popular among pioneers, explorers, and military units well into the 20th century, when it likely fell out of favor with the proliferation of canned foods. Which is a shame, because pemmican is awesome. It’s loaded with all of the fat and protein you need to get through a hard day, and not to mention quite tasty as well.

Though there are multiple recipes for this survival food, pemmican always contains lean dried meat and tallow. The meat is ground up into a powder like substance before being mixed with liquid fat. Nuts and berries are often added as well. Afterward the whole mix is sealed in a container, and stored in a cool dry place. Under these conditions it can last for months, years, and sometimes decades if nothing is added to the meat and fat.

So if you’re looking for another food preservation method, watch this quick guide on how to make pemmican, and enjoy!

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

6 Ways to Store Food Long Term

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When preparing food for long-term storage, consider how much is required, how long it needs to last, its nutritional value, and the resources available for preparation. Depending on your goals, there is a long-term food storage method for you.


  • Depending on the emergency, freezing may be an acceptable option. Storage times vary depending on the type of item and its packaging, but meats can last up to two years when frozen properly. Blanch fruits and vegetables to halt quality-compromising enzymatic processes before freezing them. Most of the nutritional content remains stable when frozen items are stored in air-tight packaging.



  • Dehydrated items maintain much of their nutritional content. Herbs, which are both beneficial to health and flavorful, are good candidates for dehydration. Fruits and vegetables also store well when dried. Blanch vegetables and fruits first to extend their shelf life. You can use a dehydrator or your oven on low heat to dehydrate items.
  • The key with dehydration is to ensure that all of the moisture has been removed. Food fresh off the dehydrator may still feel soft or moist. Follow instructions for each food, and take a sample off the dehydrator to cool for a minute or two in order to test its dryness. Dehydrated items should be stored in cool, dry, dark places. Use glass jars and vacuum-sealed pouches to extend the life of dehydrated foods.



  • The curing process harnesses the power of salt to eliminate moisture and prevent the growth of bacteria. Curing can be time intensive at the outset, but it will enable you to preserve flavorful meat for extended periods of time.
    • Dry curing involves coating a cut of meat in salt and other herbs and letting it set for an extended period. Smoking is another method of curing which adds flavor to meats. Brining is a wet curing method in which meat is soaked in a salt-rich solution. Research instructions for dry curing, brining, and smoking before using any of these methods. If cured incorrectly, items can harbor botulism, which can lead to food-borne illness.


      • Canning is a time-tested method for preserving fruits and vegetables. The acidity of the food will help you determine how to process it. Most jams and tomato-based products are safe to prepare through boiling. Low-acid vegetables and meats necessitate the use of a pressure canner. It is wise to look for updated canning recipes to ensure that new food safety measures are included in the instructions. Once food is canned, check to make sure that the jars are sealed. Store canned items in a dark, cool, and dry environment. With regard to shelf life, items with a high acidity can last one to one and a half years. Foods with a low acidity can last up to five years.



      • Fermented foods have been making a comeback in recent years. Their popularity is likely due to the health benefits associated with consuming them. Items like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and pickles are rich in pro-biotics. During a disaster, the benefits that fermented items have on the immune system make them must-haves.
      • The fermentation process involves many considerations. Fermenting can extend the life of your foods for months or years. While the items may be safe to consume after extended periods, their health benefits may decrease as they age. Using a fermentation pot is the most common way to get results.

Vacuum Sealing

      • Vacuum sealing may be performed on nearly any food. It is important to remember that vacuum sealing is most often used as an adjunct to other preservation methods. For example, you may vacuum seal meat, but you will still have to keep it in the refrigerator or freezer in order for it to be safe. Jerkies and dried fruits and vegetables may also be vacuum sealed to increase their shelf lives.
      • Vacuum sealing can be accomplished with equipment such as the Food Saver, but Mylar bags may also be used without a special machine. If you are not using a machine to suck the air out of the packaging, oxygen absorbing pouches can be used to achieve the same effect. This method is great for processing bulk grains. Vacuum sealed bags can be placed in five-gallon plastic buckets to make them easy to store and protect them from pests.


There are so many options for long term food storage. A conscientious prepper will take advantage of multiple food preservation methods in order to reap the benefits of each type. With proper research about storage environments, recipes, and food safety guidelines, it is possible to maintain a safe, balanced, and flavorful food supply – even during a disaster.

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How To Preserve Cilantro From The Garden

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I want to show you today how to preserve Cilantro from the garden. I dehydrated some Cilantro about three years ago and I was hooked on it. Thankfully Cilantro grows like a weed here in Southern Utah! All you need is good soil and some awesome seeds and you are ready to plant. It sprouts here in about two weeks, so don’t give up if you don’t see those little leaves start sprouting right away. The only downside to growing your own Cilantro is once you clip it, your crop is done. In other words, you have to replant some more seeds. But, here’s the deal, you can grow so much that one crop can give you lots and lots of Cilantro to eat and preserve.

You don’t have to buy a fancy dehydrator unless you plan on dehydrating everything you can get your hands on like me. You can dehydrate food in your car on the dashboard on top of a clean window screen or cookie sheet. I wouldn’t dehydrate anything that has a strong odor in you car or truck, it takes weeks or months to go away. Just giving you the heads-up here. Once when my daughters were really little we chopped onions to dehydrate in the house, yes you only do this once. We cut out sugar cookies for the Christmas tree to hang on the tree and didn’t realize those cute cookies would taste like onions. I called it a learning curve. The cookies looked fabulous but tasted like onions. Yikes! We dehydrated onions the next year outside on the patio.

Preserve Cilantro

Preserve Cilantro by Freezing:

  1. You can preserve Cilantro by freezing it in bags. I freeze spinach and basil all the time. I wouldn’t keep it in the freezer over two months or so, but man is it good in freshly made buttermilk dressing. In Utah, we call it Ranch dressing. If you use the blender just add a small handful of Cilantro into the mixture and it has a little kick to it.

preserve cilantro

Preserve Cilantro by Dehydrating:

  • 1-6 bunches of cilantro, wash and pat dry (any amount will work if it fits into your dehydrator)
  1. I set my Excalibur Dehydrator at 115 degrees and it took about two hours. I turned off the dehydrator and left the dehydrated Cilantro to rest on the racks overnight because I wanted to make sure it was very dry before I stored it. I placed the Cilantro in pint size jars and used my FoodSaver to remove any air to prolong its storage life. Remember, check out your dehydrator book for temperature. The drying time will always vary depending on the humidity in the area where you are drying it.

preserve cilantro

Can’t you just smell the Cilantro? When I cut it outside my hands and arms smell like it for days! Oh, how I love that smell. This is how it looks after it is dehydrated below.

preserve cilantro

I love using my dehydrator because I don’t want a lot of food in the freezer to go bad in case we lose power. Once you start dehydrating you will use your dehydrator all the time. Please note, I don’t dehydrate my food for long term storage. I leave that for the commercial processing companies. If you think about it, if you have two or three bananas that are going to go bad, dehydrate them for healthy snacks. You can do the same with any fruit or vegetable. If you dehydrate vegetables they would have to be cooked with water to soften them prior to eating or you may chip your front tooth. LOL

My favorite things:

Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator, Black

Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator FD-75A

Stainless Steel Colander for Kitchen Food Washing Self-Draining Pasta Bowl Wide Grip Handles

Prepare Your Family for Survival: How to Be Ready for Any Emergency or Disaster Situation

USDA Complete Canning Guide To Canning Food

The post How To Preserve Cilantro From The Garden appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

Storing Dairy Without a Fridge

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What about the milk and eggs? If you have a food stockpile, then at some point you probably asked yourself this question. Most people purchase milk and eggs every week, and the only place you can keep them is in the refrigerator. So how are you supposed to stock up on these things when they […]

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How to Preserve Meat: 5 Easy Ways

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How to Preserve Meat: 5 Easy Ways Let’s face it: meat doesn’t have a very long lifespan. If left out in the open, it will deteriorate in quality very quickly, essentially becoming useless. But if you know the different techniques for preserving meat, then you can make it last much longer without going bad. One …

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Dehydrating Frozen Corn

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I thought I would try dehydrating frozen corn. I used Costco’s organic frozen corn that they had in stock.

Dehydrating frozen corn is easier than you might think

The large bag was only around $4. The nice thing with frozen corn? I can just throw it on the tray and set the dehydrator. I forgot about it honestly and the corn was in there for about 24 hours. It didn’t need that long, but it didn’t hurt the corn either.


I ended up with one tray fitting in one jar. It doesn’t look like much once it dries.

I used my vacuum sealer to store it for long term.

This vacuum seal lid in the wide mouth size worked swimmingly. The regualar size? Not so much. Every time I pulled the lid off the seal broke. Could be operator error….maybe.

inner jar
I came across a video where she used regular jars inside a vacuum seal container. Once you pop off the tube, after it goes through the cycle, it seals the jar.

With this method you can use jars other than Mason jars. I save all my glass jars. There is something they could be used for. In the shop or the craft room. This has been a great way to re-use them and not just throw them away. Mason Jars can get pricey as food storage containers if I am not using them for canning. But re-using other jars is great!

This is how easy it is to re-hydrate. About 15 minutes soak time.

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Frugal Way To Preserve Your Food

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If you are like me, you are looking for a frugal way to preserve your food. What I’m talking about are those bananas sitting on your kitchen counter and they are starting to get those tiny brown spots. Well, I can’t make banana bread all the time, so I slice a few of those bananas and dehydrate them for snacks. Once dehydrated I place them in a wide mouth mason quart jar with a lid, either by using my FoodSaver to remove the air or just using those Ball jar lids like these: Ball 37000 Wide Mouth Plastic Storage Caps 8 Count. I prefer using the wide mouth mason quart jars because they are wide enough so my hand fits nicely in the jar to grab a healthy snack like dehydrated bananas.

I want to show you how easy it is to dehydrate food. Here again, this is for short term food storage only. I do not use oxygen absorbers or Mylar bags ever. If I want food storage with a longer shelf life I buy commercially processed #10 cans by the case or one #10 can at a time. I also buy food when my local stores have case lot sales for short term food storage. I have a printable for you at the bottom of this article with the temperatures you need to dehydrate foods per my Excalibur book. You will need to verify the temperatures for your own dehydrator. I would bet they are very similar, but check your book to be sure.The length of time to dehydrate any food items will depend on the humidity of the room where you are dehydrating. No worries about dehydrating fruit and vegetables, it’s really easy to do, I promise.

Preserve Your Food

When I talk about long term food storage I am talking about a shelf life of 25 years or so. I prefer freeze-dried food over dehydrated because it lasts longer. Therefore, I have little or no loss of food and the related expense when buying my long term food storage that I can rotate. Today this post is about dehydrating the surplus in our refrigerators or that bumper crop we harvest in our gardens.

I sometimes use my FoodSaver to remove the air out of my jars, but not if I have made vegetable or fruit powders from my dehydrated food. For instance, you can dehydrate those 12 tomatoes you have left after you pressure can that huge batch of tomatoes. I can only eat so many bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches. I can hardly wait until my tomatoes are ripe. It’s funny because I can see six tiny green tomatoes outside in my garden right now. Oh man, does that get you excited too?

If you dehydrate say for instance tomatoes, you can pulverize them in a food processor or your blender. Then I can use this powder in scrambled eggs, quiche, soups or spaghetti sauce. Here’s the deal, though, do not use your FoodSaver with your powders. The powder will get sucked up in the tube and damage the tubes that seal your jars. I went to class once and they showed how to use a baggie on top of the powders when using your FoodSaver. I can’t afford to replace my FoodSaver so I will never use it when making my vegetable or fruit powders. I do however use it all the time when storing several jars of dehydrated fruits and vegetables.

Now, you can make snacks or powders with any of your fruits and vegetables. It does take a huge amount of dehydrated vegetables or fruits to pulverize into a powder to fill a quart jar, just so you know. Dehydrated pineapple is my favorite, just giving you the heads up. I like to buy fresh pineapple at Costco where it’s already sliced into spears. If I can see that I won’t be able to eat that pineapple sitting in the refrigerator before it goes bad, I dehydrate it. You can do this year-round with most fruits and vegetables to preserve them for later.

A few ways to dehydrate and preserve food:

Dehydrate in your oven: I have heard people do this, but my electricity costs are so expensive where I live this would cost me way too much money to dehydrate food.

Dehydrate on homemade screens outside: If you have some extra window screens just place your food outside covered with netting (I live where we have critters) and let the food dry naturally. I would bring the food in at night and take it back outside the following morning to continue to dry the food.

Dehydrate some food on trays in your car: I have seen some awesome pictures of people drying food on their dashboards of their cars to preserve their food.

I am only talking about fruits and vegetables today, meat jerky is a whole different story. You must have a good dehydrator to maintain the temperature correctly for meats.

I use an Excalibur dehydrator similar to this one: Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator, Black. It’s quiet and I set it right on my kitchen counter, unless I’m drying onions and then it goes outside. It has a timer and that’s great for me because I can turn it off by hand when I want to, or set the timer to turn off on its own if I leave the house or go to bed for the night.

I have friends that use a Nesco and love it like this one: Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator FD-75A

I love my FoodSaver that’s similar to this one: FoodSaver V3460 Automatic Vacuum Sealing System

Dehydrating FRUIT Tips from Food Storage Moms

FRUITS: (cut away any bruising or bad spots) I use an Excalibur dehydrator, so be sure and check the temperatures for your dehydrator.

Apples: wash, pare, core and slice. I use an apple peeler. Cut in 1/4 inch to 3/8 inch slices. Dip in lemon juice to keep from browning. Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired, before dehydrating.  Dry at 135 degrees until pliable.

Apricots:  wash, cut in half, remove seeds and slice into desired thickness. Dry at 135 degrees until pliable.

Bananas: peel the bananas, cut into 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch slices. Dip in lemon juice to keep from browning. Dry at 135 degrees until leathery.

Blueberries: wash and remove the stems. I did not dip my blueberries. I placed them directly on the racks and dehydrated them whole. Dry at 135 degrees until dry and leathery.

Cherries:  wash, remove pits and cut them in half. Get a cherry pitter, if at all possible. You can dry them whole, but they will take a very long time to dry and the quality will be reduced. Place the cherry halves on the racks or trays skin-side down. Dry at 145 degrees for two hours then lower the temperature to 135 degrees for the remaining time until leathery.

Grapes: wash and remove the stems. I do not boil mine before drying. Dry at 135 degrees until wrinkled and pliable.

Kiwi: wash, peel and cut in 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices. Dry at 135 degrees until leathery.

Peaches: wash, remove the pits and skin, if desired. I do not peel mine. Cut them in 1/4 to 3/8 inch slices. Dry at 135 degrees until pliable.

Pears:  wash and peel, if desired. Remove the seeds and stems. Cut in 1/4 to 3/8 inch slices. Dry at 135 degrees until pliable.

Pineapples: rinse, cut off the leafy crown, peel and cut off the bad spots. Remove any of the tough sections that are too fibrous to eat. Slice in 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. Wear gloves if you are going to do several as pineapple is very acidic. Dry at 135 degrees until pliable.

Strawberries: wash and remove the caps/stems and cut in 1/4 to 3/8 inch slices. If you have a strawberry slicer it makes it a lot easier, plus they are cut more uniformly. Dry at 135 degrees until leathery and crisp.

PRINTABLE for dehydrating fruit: Dehydrating FRUIT tips from Food Storage Moms

Dehydrating Vegetable Tips from Food Storage Moms

VEGETABLES: (cut away any bruising or bad spots) I use an Excalibur dehydrator so be sure and check the temperatures for your dehydrator.

Bell peppers (green or red):  Wash, remove the stem, seed, and the membrane sections. Chop or cut in 1/4 inch circles or slices. Dry at 125 degrees until leathery.

Cabbage:  Wash the head of cabbage and remove the outer leaves. Cut the head into fourths and shred or grate into pieces about 1/8 inch thick. Dry at 125 degrees until brittle.

Carrots: Wash the carrots, trim the tops off, scrape or peel the skins off. Cut into 1/8 inch chunks or circles. Dry at 125 degrees until leathery.

Celery: Scrub the stalks to remove any dirt from them. Cut into 1/4 inch strips. Leave the leaves whole. Dry at 125 degrees until the stalks are leathery and the leaves are brittle.

Cilantro: Wash, chop and cut the tough stems off. Dry at 115 degrees until brittle.

Corn:  Remove the husks and scrape the corn off the cobs or buy frozen corn on sale. Place the corn on the racks and dry at 125 degrees until brittle.

Cucumbers: Wash, cut the ends off and remove any bad spots. Slice into 1/4 inch pieces and dry at 135 degrees until brittle.

Kale:  I prefer to buy baby Kale because to me it is sweeter. Wash the leaves and dry at 125 degrees until very crisp.

Mushrooms: Wash or use a brush to clean the dirt off of the mushrooms. Wash in cold water, but do not soak them. Remove the stems and discard. Use a mushroom slicer or slice them in 3/8 inch pieces with a knife. Dry at 125 degrees until leathery.

Onions: I cut the ends off and then cut the onion in half. Remove the outer membrane and discard. Chop in chunks that you would use for casseroles, soups, tacos, etc. Dry at 155 degrees until leathery. I would dehydrate these outside or your entire house will smell like onions for weeks, if not months.

Peas: If you have fresh peas those are the best, besides frozen ones you get on sale. Wash and shell the peas and dry at 125 degrees until brittle.

Tomatoes: Wash the tomatoes and remove the stems. I dehydrate mine with the skins on because I pulverize them for powder. You can cut the small cherry tomatoes in half and place the skin side down to dry. Slice larger tomatoes 1/4 inch thick and dry at 155 degrees until leathery and brittle.

Spinach: Wash and remove the bad pieces and discard. I prefer to remove the stems as close as possible. Dry at 125 degrees until crisp and crumbly.

Zucchini:  Wash, cut the ends off and remove any bad spots. Slice into 1/4 inch pieces and dry at 125 degrees until brittle.

PRINTABLE for dehydrating vegetables: Dehydrating Vegetable tips from Food Storage Moms

Let me know what you like to dehydrate and how you are drying your surplus food, I would love to hear. Thanks for being prepared for the unexpected.

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Dehydrating Veggies 101

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Dehydrating Veggies 101 Dehydrating is a bit easier to do than canning because you prep the veggies or fruits and you can let it sit in the dehydrator unattended. Because it’s less of a time investment, you get to do other essential things while the veg is dehydrating. The good thing about dehydrating the vegetables …

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5 Proven Ways Our Ancestors Preserved Meat Without Refrigerators

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5 Proven Ways Our Ancestors Preserved Meat Without A Refrigerator

Stockpiling food and other supplies is central to being prepared for an emergency, but there are some foods – such as meat — that are harder to pack for long-term storage than others.

I’m sure there are some people out there who think that they can live off of rice and beans, getting all the protein they need from the beans. While that may be technically true, I, for one, don’t want to try it. Not only am I not a huge fan of beans, but I also am a huge fan of meat. So, I need to have ways of preserving that meat and ensuring that I’ll have it available when a disaster strikes. Fortunately, there are actually a number of ways of preserving meat which work quite well — ways our ancestors used.

The Key to Preserving Meat – Salt

If there’s any one key ingredient for preserving meat, it’s salt. Salt is one of the few natural preservatives, and it works ideally with meat. Salt draws the moisture out of the cells in the meat in a process known as osmosis. Essentially, osmosis is trying to equalize the salinity on both sides of the cell wall (which is a membrane). So, water leaves the cell and salt enters it. When enough water leaves the cell, the cell dies.

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This happens with bacteria, as well. Any bacteria that are on the surface of the meat go through the same osmosis process that the cells of the meat do. This dehydrates the bacteria to the point of death. Unfortunately, the salt won’t travel all the way through the meat quickly, killing off the bacteria, so salt is usually used in conjunction with other means of preserving.

1. Canning

Probably the least complex form of preserving meat is canning it. Canning preserves any wet food well through a combination of killing off existing bacteria in the food and container, while providing a container that prevents any further bacteria from entering.

Canning uses heat to kill off bacteria. All you have to do is raise the temperature of the bacteria to 158 degrees Fahrenheit, and it dies. This is called “pasteurizing,” so named for Louis Pasteur, a French microbiologist who discovered the process in the mid-1800s. To kill viruses, you raise the temperature a bit more, to 174 degrees Fahrenheit.

The only problem with canning meat is that it has to be canned at a higher temperature than fruits and vegetables. This is accomplished by canning it in a pressure canner, essentially a large pressure cooker. The higher atmospheric pressure inside the pressure canner causes the water to boil at a higher temperature, thus cooking the meat.

Meats that are canned tend to be very well-cooked. You have to at least partially cook them before canning, and then the 90 minutes they spend in the canner cooks them further. That makes for very soft meats, but they do lose some of their texture.

2. Dehydrating

Dehydrating takes over where salt leaves off, removing much more moisture from the meat than just salting it will. However, dehydrating of meats is usually combined with salting the meat with a rub or marinating it with a salty marinade. The salt on the outside of the meat attacks any bacteria that approach the meat once it is dehydrated. Meat that is dehydrated without salt won’t last, as the bacteria can attack it.

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5 Proven Ways Our Ancestors Preserved Meat Without A RefrigeratorThe American Indians used dehydrating as a means of preserving meat, making jerky. While a very popular snack food today, jerky is excellent survival food. Not only will it keep without refrigeration, but it can be rehydrated for use in soups and stews. That takes it beyond being a snack and makes it possible to use jerky for part of your meals.

Dehydrating can either be done in the sun, in an electric dehydrator or in a solar dehydrator. The American Indians used the sun, hanging strips of meat on poles. However, there is a risk in dehydrating meat as they did, in that the meat may start to spoil before it dries. All fat should be removed from the meat, as the fat can turn rancid.

3. Salt fish

Salt fish is another means of dehydrating meat, something like making fish jerky. It has been done for centuries and is still a popular dish in some countries. Salt fish uses the concept that the salt draws the water out of the fish, starting the drying process. This is accomplished by packing the fish fillets in alternating layers of salt and fish. Then, the fish is sun dried to complete the process.

4. Smoking

Smoking is another method that combines salt with a secondary method of preservation. For preserving, one must use hot smoking, which cooks the meat, and not just cold smoking, which is used to flavor the meat. Typically, the process consists of three major steps: soaking the meat in brine (salt water), cold smoking and then hot smoking.

When meat is smoked, the proteins on the outer layer of the meat form a skin, called a pellicle. This is basically impervious to any bacteria, protecting the meat. However, if the meat is cut, such as to cut off a steak from a chunk of smoked meat, the open surface can be attacked by bacteria.

In olden times, this problem was solved by hanging the meat in the smokehouse once again. In some homes, the kitchen chimney was large enough to be used as a smokehouse, and meat was hung in it, where the constant smoke helped to protect it. Most of the fat was usually trimmed off the meat, so that it would not turn rancid.

5 Proven Ways Our Ancestors Preserved Meat Without A RefrigeratorOne nice thing about smoking meats, besides that it adds that lovely smoke flavor, is that the smoking process is a slow-cooking process, much like cooking meat in a crockpot. This helps to break down the fiber in the meat, turning otherwise tough cuts of meat tender.

5. Curing

The deli meats we pay top dollar for today are actually cured meats. Curing is a process that combines smoking, with salt, sugar and nitrites. Together, these act as an almost perfect preservative, protecting the meat from decay-causing bacteria. Technically, smoking is a type of curing, but normally when we talk about curing, we’re referring to what is known as “sausage curing,” which is the method used for making most sausage and lunch meat.

The curing process is all about killing the bacteria and is done mostly by the addition of salt to the meat. For sausage curing, the meat is ground and then mixed with fat, spices salt and whatever else is going to be used (some sausage includes cheese). It is then allowed to sit, in order for the salt to permeate all the meat and kill the bacteria. Cooking or smoking is accomplished once the curing is done.

Curing meats, like smoking, tenderizes it. So, traditionally, the tougher, lower grade cuts of meat were usually used for the making of most of what we know today as lunch meats. One nice thing about properly cured meats is that they can be left out, with no risk of decay, even when they have been cut. That is, if it is properly cured. I wouldn’t try that with commercially prepared lunchmeats, as they are not cured with the idea of leaving them out.

What meat-preserving methods would you add to this list? Share your ideas in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

How to Dehydrate Onions

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How to Dehydrate Onions for Long Term Food Storage

food processor
Sliced up in the food processor

onions on tray
Lay them out on the trays….much thinner than this. This was just a quick picture. You don’t want them overlapping.
I left them in overnight. Boy did my house stink!

dried up

All shriveled up and ready to be stored


Then I vacuum seal them to store long term.

I also made Homemade Onion Powder

I use this dehydrator

and this Food Saver

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Pumpkins for Food Storage – How and Why?

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Featured Graphic


Upon learning that pumpkins are a staple in my garden, the common reaction is “Oh neat! For jack-o-lanterns?” Then frowns only follow when I say ‘no.’ Only few brave souls will then ask “then why do you grow them?”  Society is so far out of touch that most people can’t imagine off the top of their head why someone would want to grow pumpkins if not for the Halloween decoration of carved pumpkins.

Tire Planter with Pumpkin Plants and Other Squash

Why indeed?

Pumpkins are very versatile in their uses for cooking, most parts are edible, including the fleshy shell, the seeds, the leaves, and even the flowers. Even green immature pumpkins can be eaten like zucchini or summer squash. They are extremely high in beta-carotene, B vitamins (including folate), and vitamin C. Pumpkin also contain a nice energy boosting combination of carbohydrates and sugar. As a food source pumpkins are invaluable and have earned a valid spot in your homestead or survival garden.

They are a fairly hardy plant that once planted require very little maintenance, other than regular water (unless you are lacking in bees, then hand pollination of the flowers is a must). Of course, the type of pumpkin plants I grow are a “sugar pie pumpkin“, more suitable to pie making than the varieties typically used for jack-0-lanterns. They are smaller than store bought pumpkins and have more meat on them than the Halloween variety and of course they are more sweet. They also are great for smoothies and canning.

What else can you do with pumpkin besides pie?

Aside from turning the seeds into toasted high protein snacks, you can make pumpkin soup, pumpkin butter, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin smoothies, use pumpkin as filling for pasta, you can also bread and fry the pumpkin flowers (of course this means less fruit on the plant) or you can roast pumpkins and eat them like you would a butternut squash. I would also like to note here that pumpkin puree added to dog food is not only good for them, it seems to settle their digestion system. I have used it for years to treat diarrhea. Real sugar pie pumpkins do however, make the best pumpkin pies and they also work best for most of the above applications.

How to store pumpkin?

I am going to start this section off by assuming everyone knows that they can buy canned pumpkin and stick in their food storage, if growing it is not a desired option. Just remember that with store bought pumpkin certain substitutes are frequently allowed and even encouraged to improve cost effectiveness – store bought canned pumpkin could be made up of several different types of winter squash with very little actual pumpkin and they don’t have to disclose it. Please note, there is no GMO pumpkin seed currently being sold – so don’t worry about that.

There are also plenty of “do it yourself” methods that us homesteaders like to fall back on, like canning, dehydrating, freeze drying and freezing! Dehydrating and freeze drying pumpkin will result in the longest storage time without loosing nutrients, canning will give you a combination of several years of storage time and convenience, freezing will give you lots of convenience but shorter storage time that is dependent on a power supply.


Click on this video below to see how to can pumpkin at home!


Recommended Canning Equipment
– Pressure Canner
Wide Mouth Pint Sized Canning Jars, Rings and Lids
Steamer Basket
– Lid Lifter
Jar Lifter 


*Safety First*
Think safety when planning to preserve pumpkins. Pumpkin is a low acid vegetable and requires special attention to preparation and processing. Use excellent sanitation in handling the fresh or preserved pumpkin.  Do not let cut pumpkin sit out at room temperature for more than 2 hours during preparation prior to preserving.  There are no properly researched procedures to recommend for home canning of pumpkin butters, purees or pickled pumpkin products such as salsas, chutneys and relishes; recipes like this you try should be served immediately or stored under refrigeration at all times.


Dehydrating Pumpkin

Recommended Dehydrating Equipment
Excalibur Dehydrator
Stick Blender 
Parchment Paper
Food Processor

The standard dehydrating instructions for pumpkins from USDA are as follows: Wash, peel, and remove fibers and seeds from pumpkin flesh. Cut into small, thin strips no more than one-inch wide by 1/8-inch thick. Blanch strips over steam for 3 minutes and dip briefly in cold water to stop the blanching action.  There is no need to cool to room temperature prior to drying. Drain excess moisture. Dry the strips in an electric dehydrator until brittle.

TIP: Pumpkin also makes excellent dried vegetable leather. Purée cooked pumpkin and strain. Add honey and spices, and then dry on a home food dehydrator tray.

The way I dehydrate pumpkin is this: I wash, remove the fibers (gut the pumpkin), steam it until tender all the way through, then off the peel.



Puree the pumpkin with a stick blender or food processor then spread it on to a dehydrator tray 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick using plastic wrap or parchment paper to line the tray.



Dehydrate pumpkin at 120 degrees for a day or two. I look to reach and overshoot the fruit leather stage and continue dehydrating until I reach the crispy stage.



Next, I remove the pumpkin, break it up into flakes and add it to a food processor. I then pulse the pumpkin in the food processor until it processes down to a granular powder.


This powder makes efficient use of storage space, can be easily re-hydrated as pumpkin puree to make pie, baby food, can be added directly to sweet dough or bread for pumpkin rolls and bread, and it can be added directly to smoothies for great pumpkin smoothies.



Roasting and Drying Pumpkin Seed

Instructions on drying and roasting pumpkin seeds from USDA are as follows: Drying seeds and roasting seeds are two different processes. To dry, carefully wash pumpkin seeds to remove the clinging fibrous pumpkin tissue. Pumpkin seeds can be dried in the sun, in an electric dehydrator at 115-120°F for 1 to 2 hours, or in an oven on a very low, warm temperature only, for 3 to 4 hours. Stir them frequently to avoid scorching. Dried seeds should not be stored with any moisture left in them.

To roast the seeds, take dried pumpkin seeds, toss with oil and/or salt and roast in a preheated oven at 250°F for 10 to 15 minutes.

The only tweak I make to the above instructions is that I like to soak my pumpkin seeds in salt water prior to drying so that I have a nice salted snack. Or you can air dry them and save them for seed for next year. Regardless of how to choose to enjoy your pumpkin seed keep in mind it is a nice protein rich, heart healthy snack.



Please note: There are many articles on the internet on processing pumpkin, any similarities are merely coincidental. 


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It’s a Matter of Dehydrating Parsley from your Garden

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Well, the frost is definitely on the pumpkin around here.  The summer garden is finished. This was the last survivor until I harvested it.  It is my “Parsley tree”.  
No, Parsley really isn’t a tree, but this one turned into one.  What is really amazing is that it grew this well in drought conditions!

Dehydrating Your Own Parsley:

This is one portion of the ‘tree’.  Just know that 2.5 feet of this plant is in the sink and not shown in this photo.  This plant had 2 stems that were very similar like that.
I rinsed the parsley in the sink. Use a salad spinner to get as much of the moisture off the plant as possible.
 I then started cutting/breaking off stems of the Parsley plant. Next, I stripped each stem and put the smaller pieces of parsley on the mesh inlays on each tray.
I had several trays full.  I dehydrated them overnight outside.  It really smelled delicious!
Remember that full tray of Parsley above?  This is what it looked like after it was dehydrated.
I had 8 trays of dried parsley when I was finished.
Remember the Mesh inlays?  I lifted each one up carefully held the to middle edges together making a type if a cone/funnel.
An carefully tapped the parsley into the container.  I ended up flipping my fingers on the mesh to help it dislodge and fall into the funnel.
I put a piece of paper-towel under the container to catch ‘stray pieces’ of Parsley. Next, I took the clean handle of one of my rubber spatula and started compressing the parsley. This helps it break into the small pieces that you traditionally see when you purchase dehydrated parsley.
Intermittently I would roll the paper-towel and tap the escaped parsley into the funnel. How much parsley did the 8 trays produce for me?
Enough to refill this bottle I purchased years ago. I just keep filling it from Parsley that I grow in my garden.
Isn’t this a thing of beauty?

Take Home Points:

  • I bought one Parsley plant for $1.50 cents.  It produced the equivalent of a container of McCormick Gourmet Collection Parsley Flakes 2oz which sells for $11.80 on Amazon.  This means that I saved 87% on this item.
  • It smells so fresh every time you open the container.
  • You know if you put pesticides on your plant if you grow them yourself.  I didn’t use any and this plant still flourished. 
  • You know how old your Parsley is. When you purchase herbs from the store, you do not know how long ago they were processed or how long they have been sitting on the shelf.  
  • Parsley is very easy to grow, and you get often get a good yield. This year, I planted my Parsley in  my raised bed instead of my little free-standing herb garden just outside my kitchen door.  I think this is what made the difference. I will be doing this again next year.

Try it!

Why Dehydrating Food For Long-Term Does Not Work

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Why dehydrating food for long-term does not work has been on my writing list for some time. Before you get all excited about this statement, let me explain what I know. Yes, I love my dehydrator to dehydrate excess food from my garden and food I can’t eat that sits in the refrigerator before it needs to be trashed. I call this dehydrating for short term storage only. I don’t recommend dehydrating your own food for long-term storage because in reality it will only be good for about one year, if you are lucky. Yes, you can use oxygenators and all that stuff. I tried that and I ended up throwing out all the food. It was rancid. I processed $1,200.00 of food at a local church facility in Salt Lake City, Utah. I threw it out one year later. It was a volunteer church group that did not know how many oxygenators to put in each #10 can. Plus the oxygenators were not properly supervised, meaning they were left open and no longer worked. I don’t have the money to waste and you probably don’t either. I can’t waste one penny on my food storage, I need long-term food storage, period.

Dehydrating Food For Long-Term Does Not Work

Dried Foods by National Center For Home Food Preservation:

“Dried foods should be stored in cool, dry, dark areas. Recommended storage times for dried foods range from 4 months to 1 year. Because food quality is affected by heat, the storage temperature helps determine the length of storage; the higher the temperature, the shorter the storage time. Most dried fruits can be stored for 1 year at 60ºF, 6 months at 80ºF. Vegetables have about half the shelf-life of fruits.”

Me: I can’t commercially preserve my food like the experts. Commercially preserved are the keywords here. Please don’t get sucked into paying for YouTube classes and online training to learn how to dehydrate food for long term storage life. It will not work. Period. Even our beautiful jars of canned peaches are really only good for one year at best. I know, you are thinking I ate my jars of peaches when they were ten years old. Yep, we all did. We have also learned a lot in the last ten years. Here is one of my favorite websites for safely “canning” food:

Home Canned Food by National Center For Home Food Preservation:

“Properly canned food stored in a cool, dry place will retain optimum eating quality for at least 1 year. Canned food stored in a warm place near hot pipes, a range, a furnace, or in indirect sunlight may lose some of its eating quality in a few weeks or months, depending on the temperature. Dampness may corrode cans or metal lids and cause leakage so the food will spoil.”

I get really frustrated when I see people charging for online classes or YouTubes on dehydrating food for long-term food storage. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in getting paid for work that I may do. I get it. I lose patience when people are trying to sell the idea that you can dehydrate food with a dehydrator at home when you read the experts are telling us another story. The truth is, you are lucky to get a shelf-life of one year. I realize under certain conditions you may get 2-3 years out of your own dehydrated food if you keep the temperature in your storage area at 60 degrees. That’s not going to happen at my house, or most other homes I’m aware of.

As far as short term food storage goes you can read all the posts on my blog for FREE or use the book that comes with your dehydrator. There are some definite foods you cannot or would not want to dehydrate, but the books tell you those items. My dehydrator book states “poor” results on those food items.

By now you probably know I mainly buy freeze dried food storage products. They typically last longer, a lot longer. Sometimes four to five times longer. But I also buy some dehydrated vegetables, but very little because their shelf life is so much shorter. Freeze dried food is more expensive but I have never had to throw out any of it out. Ever.

The main reason I buy freeze dried food is because it has one component, the vegetables or the fruits. Nothing else is in the cans. In most cases, I can eat the food straight from the can. I have said from day one, “buy one can at a time.” I can’t go out and buy a pallet of food and have it delivered to my home. I buy a can a month or a case of food depending on my budget.

When you are looking for food storage here are some tips you will want to consider:

  1. Not all #10 cans are equal in ounces, just because it is a #10 can it may weigh a whole lot less and cost more than other #10 cans.
  2. Be sure and consider shipping costs, the shipping might be cheaper but is the food more ex[ensive than their competitor? I add the shipping costs and figure out how much I am paying per ounce on every #10 can.
  3. Look at the ingredients, if you can’t pronounce it put the can down and walk away.
  4. Make sure you know where the food in your #10 cans is coming from, what country is the supplier getting the food from?
  5. Check the expiration dates, most companies put a date that tells us when the food was packaged AND will state the shelf life. Every supplier is different, ask questions.
  6. Remember temperature is everything. Our food will not last 20-25 years if it’s stored in a 105-degree garage. Nope, it won’t! I also can’t guarantee I can keep my house at 60 degrees. That’s not going to happen with the cost of utilities in my neighborhood during the summer.
  7. Decide if you want to make meals with your food storage or buy ready to eat meals by adding just water.
  8. If you can’t eat the pasta, for instance, in the stated shelf-life time period stated on the can, buy less of that product.
  9. Rotate the food your have and learn to use it every day.

Dehydrated Food Commercially Processed:

I’m going to try and explain about dehydrated food. The symbol or the letter (D) means dehydrated  when we order or shop for food storage. If it has no symbol like (FD) it’s dehydrated and therefore, we should know it is dehydrated and not (FD-freeze dried). Maybe it’s just me, but when I first starting buying the #10 cans I had to look twice to see if the can was freeze-dried or dehydrated. You will see most  cans have freeze-dried prominently shown on the order form as well as the #10 cans or pouches, etc. at any given store if they are freeze dried. If you are new to shopping or ordering online it’s confusing because they assume we KNOW it’s dehydrated if the product says “carrots” without a (D) or (FD)…..well I didn’t know. I hope this helps you as you continue to order and build your long-term food storage.

Okay….most of us buy dehydrated food every day. We purchase cereal, spices, pasta, beans, baking mixes, etc. Dehydrated is the way the water has been removed from the products. The water is slowly cooked out of the food without actually cooking it. It’s one of the most affordable, light-weight and compact ways to purchase food for our storage or everyday cooking. We need to be aware of the dehydrated term…it generally takes longer to cook. Generally you can’t “snack” on it right out of the can. It’s too hard. This is fine for soups, stews, etc. We need to remember that typically dehydrated food does not last as long as freeze dried. It usually has a shelf life of 5-8 years. They usually have an OPEN shelf life of 6 months to 1 year. Please read the information provided from the companies you purchase from. I made the mistake of purchasing a can of freeze dried turkey and ham….and then realized if opened….it had to be used within two weeks. Yep, I am saving those two cans to make omelets for the neighborhood when a disaster strikes….or just for fun with the neighborhood someday! Please learn from me…read the cans or pouches. I buy both freeze-dried and dehydrated. They are both good choices depending on your plans for their use.

Freeze-Dried Food Storage:

I’m going to give you my opinion on freeze dried food. Freeze dried or (FD), you will see this when you order your food storage, is a special process to dehydrate the food. The freeze-dried method is first, flash frozen then a low-level heat is applied to the product inside a vacuum chamber. The finished product is a premium or superior end product. In most cases, you can usually eat the food directly out of the can. They rehydrate quickly and taste as close to their freshly picked original flavor and texture as possible. The nutrition is higher than the regular dehydrated way of preserving.

You should really try the corn, green beans and peas right out of the can. Okay, the strawberries, pineapple, and apples are delicious as well. Great snacks! When I teach classes I have served every freeze dried fruit or vegetable available on the market. I have made chicken salad, tacos, lasagna, chicken enchiladas, etc. with freeze dried meats. You can’t tell the difference from fresh. I really love freeze dried cheese. I have cheddar, Colby, mozzarella, and Monterey jack freeze dried cheese. They typically have a shelf life of 20 years unopened and TWO years opened!!!  I never throw out moldy cheese anymore. Every food storage company has a different shelf life.  If the temperature of the area we store our food is higher than 60-70 degrees the shelf live will be shortened as well.

Yes, you might think freeze dried is more expensive. I like buying freeze dried for two reasons. I can cook every day with it and I save money because I’m not going to the store when I run out of something. I like the idea I can eat the fruit and vegetables as a quick snack directly out of the can. I like the fact that it cooks quicker than dehydrated.

Whether you buy dehydrated or freeze-dried food or can your own food storage, that’s awesome! I hope this post today helps you continue your path to being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless you for your efforts, Linda

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Fruit Leather: A Comparison of Methods

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Fruit leather, known at the grocery store as Fruit Rolls or Fruit Roll-Ups, is a wonderful way to preserve juicy, flavorful produce, and kids of all ages love it!

“Back in the day”, leather was produced by spreading fruit pulp in the sun, and solar trays remain an excellent method for drying produce today!  However, not every day is a sunny one, so we need indoor options, such as the oven or the counter top dehydrator.

This week, we are comparing the methods to determine what, if any, differences exist between the two with regard the time required to dry strawberry leather.

First, let’s prepare our fruit.

Today’s recipe includes three baskets of first-of-the-season strawberries, which needed a boost from a half-cup white sugar.  Any sweetener can be used, including honey, artificial sweetener, or corn syrup, which many recipes recommend.  If your berries are sweet enough, there is no need to augment.

Most recipes call for two tablespoons of an acid, such as lemon juice, to prevent darkening.  I prefer the more complex flavor produced with balsamic vinegar.

I also prefer to cook the fruit before making the leather.  This is not required, and you can just as easily puree raw fruit.  By cooking, however, the juices are released and flavor concentrated by an hour of simmering.

I puree the cooked fruit with my immersion blender, but you can easily use a counter-top blender or a food processor.

To dry the leather for our comparison, a cookie sheet and a dehydrator tray were both lined with a sheet of parchment paper, and exactly one cup of strawberry puree was spread thinly on each in roughly the same size.



To dehydrate leather in the oven, adjust the temperature to the lowest possible setting.  In my kitchen, it is 170 degrees.

There is some disagreement as to whether the oven should be completely closed, or cracked open slightly in order for the moisture to escape the oven.  Because I spread the puree very thin, I elect to close the oven completely.  (Also, my frugal spirit cannot abide escaped heat!)

Counter-top food dehydrators vary wildly in their features.  I am pleased to own an Excaliber, economy model, of course!  The Excaliber has temperature settings and a fan, which speeds up the drying time considerably.  For fruit leathers, the suggested setting is 135 degrees.

Most recipes indicate a drying time of 8-12 hours.  Because I “go thin” when I spread the puree, the drying time is significantly reduced.  The question remains, however, which method, oven or dehydrator, is the quickest?

The above picture was taken after two hours of drying time in the dehydrator.  The top left quadrant has a ways to go.

Once the surface is shiny, and the fruit does not stick to your finger when you touch it, peel the entire sheet off the parchment and invert it.  Another 30 minutes of heat and it should be completely dry.  (Thicker layers will take longer.)

I like to roll up the leather and cut into strips, which the kids enjoy unrolling and pretending they are super stretchy tongues!


Which method took less time, the 135 degree dehydrator with a fan, or the 170 degree oven?  Well, start to finish was 3 1/2 hours for the dehydrator and 4 hours for the oven.  There was a mere 30 minute difference between the two.    For all intents and purposes, it was a tie!

If you are unsure which method would work best for you, perhaps the deciding factor would be capacity.  The average household oven can efficiently manage two cookie sheets at a time, while the Excaliber has nine trays, more than doubling the amount of leather produced at one setting.

A couple of extra notes from the Frugal Files:  Do not discard the parchment sheets after only one use.  Flip them over and use the reverse side next time.  Also, the dehydrator puts out a bit of warm air when in use.  In cool months, I position the unit in proximity to my work area, allowing the dehydrator to keep the room cozy while drying the food!

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How to Dehydrate Garlic

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How to dehydrate garlic yourself

What does one do with this much garlic? How do you dehydrate garlic?

Love me some garlic!

I recently purchased garlic at Costco. Very affordable, but there was way more than I would use in a couple of weeks.
I decided to dehydrate it.

opening garlic

It was a team effort to do this.
First we had to break open the garlic cloves.

Garlic peeler
A great purchase. Just roll the garlic clove around and it peels it for you!

dehydrating your own garlic

Then you slice it on this mini mandolin.

lay it out on the dehydrator tray
Spread it out on the dehydrator tray.
Did you know garlic was sticky?
I lost track of how long it was on there. I put my Excalibur on the vegetable setting. I know it was at least 12 hours though.

results of 5 trays
Finished product.

Seems like there isn’t much there. I always feel that way with my dehydrated veggies too.

Thank you for using affiliate links and such.
It doesn’t cost you extra to use them, so thank you.
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of any product regardless of if I were paid in addition
to receiving the free product. You can trust me.
Do you need Essential Oils of your own?
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Free Webinar: Sun Cooking Essentials

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Two years ago, my husband snapped this picture with his smart phone… 

Free Webinar: Sun Cooking Essentials

Now, I know it’s not the most visually appealing photo of a roast chicken you’ve seen but it’s a picture worth saving because it’s a picture of the first thing we ever cooked in our Sun Oven. 

The photo may leave something to be desired but the chicken did not. It was down right delicious! We’ve made quite a few of them since that photo was taken.

Sun Ovens are really cool. We love ours, however I’m embarrassed to say we haven’t made anything else in it…only the roast chicken. I want to use it more but I’m a little intimated. I definitely could use some help getting things cookin’. 😉

I thought you might enjoy learning more about how to harness the power of the sun to cook too, so I invited Paul Munsen of Sun Ovens International to teach an interactive online seminar. Paul has devoted his life to sharing fundamental Sun Oven cooking techniques with people all over the world. He’s definitely the right guy to teach us. 

Join us for the FREE Sun Cooking Essentials Webinar!

Sun Cooking Essentials on HomeReadyHome.comThe Sun Ovens Cooking Essentials Webinar will show you the fundamental sun cooking and baking techniques to help you warm up to the idea of cooking with the sun to save money now and be better prepared for emergencies. Whether you have a Sun Oven and want to learn more or you know nothing about solar cooking you will find this seminar beneficial.

You’ll Learn:

  • How to harness the power of the sun to cook and dehydrate food, purify water, and be better prepared for emergencies
  • How a Sun Oven can help you never worry about burning dinner again
  • How to use a Sun Oven to naturally dehydrate fruits and vegetables
  • How to reduce your utility bills while learning how to cook during hard times when normal fuel sources will be in short supply.

Mark Your Calendar!

Thursday June 25, 2015

7 p.m. CST, (8 p.m. EST / 6 p.m. MST / 5 p.m. PST)

Space is limited so register now and save your spot. 

Register Here. 

What questions do you have about solar cooking?

If you have a question for Paul, please leave it in the comments below and I’ll make sure he answers it in the webinar.

Looking forward to learning with you!


This article may contain affiliate links. For more information, read the Disclaimers & Disclosures here. Thank you for your support!

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