Monday, March 3, 2014

National Frozen Foods Month, Or the Easiest Dehydrator Project Ever

March is National Frozen Foods Month. Grocery stores are having sales on some frozen foods, so it may be worth checking out the sales to see if there is anything you use on a better sale than you usually see, or if there is something that is usually out of your price range that is at a decent price now. Just don't buy those creepy frozen pizzas with three pepperonis and barely any cheese. Just don't.

I did buy several frozen foods today. Plain, normal, run-of-the-mill frozen veggies. They were on sale for $.88 per 1 lb package. That is a better price than those veggies usually are in the fresh produce section. While fresh veggies are picked and shipped halfway across the globe before they get to your store (and continue deteriorating until you buy them and eat them), frozen veggies are frozen shortly after picking and then shipped. While they are far from an ideal source of produce (that is your garden, farm stand or farmer's market), in the dead of winter, when the garden seems forever away and the stores from last year's harvest are dwindling, frozen veggies are a decent source of nutrition.

My freezer is currently filled to the gills with some clearance-priced yogurt, bacon I found on an awesome sale, and some venison my parents gave me. There wasn't a lot of room for frozen peas and carrots. So I dehydrated them.

I have a Nesco American Harvest Snackmaster dehydrator with 5 small-holed trays. My last dehydrator was an older Snackmaster that had the large hole in the middle. Even thought the trays are not the same,  they fit perfectly together, so I use the old trays on my new dehydrator. Now I can dehydrate 9 trays all at once.

I dehydrated 6 packages of frozen foods: 2 lbs broccoli, 1 lb green beans and 3 pounds carrots/peas/corn/green beans.

This was the easiest dehydrator project ever. Usually filling the dehydrator is a 1-2 hour ordeal, scrubbing, peeling, chopping/slicing and arranging. Not this time. I simply cut the bags open, dumped some on each tray and spread them roughly even. The only cutting I had to do was to cut a few of the larger broccoli pieces into smaller pieces so the trays would sit flat, but in the 2 packages, there were only 6 large pieces. The produce doesn't need to be blanched. This is definitely a time saver, and an especially easy way to preserve food when you are desperately short on time.

They fit on 8 trays. The peas, corn and diced carrots were very small, so I put those on fruit roll trays or mesh screens so they didn't fall through the holes. If you don't have special trays, you could just use plastic wrap over the trays. I put them on 135 degrees.

This seems to be a great way to take advantage of a good sale, increase my food stores to get me through until the garden starts to produce, while saving valuable freezer space meat sales. Also, in my area, power outages are common, and sometimes last for weeks. For that reason, I prefer to dehydrate most of my food stores so I don't risk losing everything. Next year I hope to get a bigger harvest from the garden, and put up more homegrown foods for winter eating. However, dehydrated frozen foods definitely has it's place in the food stockpiling plan, and will be a great way to put up foods that I don't grow, like broccoli and corn.


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4 comments:

  1. Brilliant! I'm curious how much your product weighed after dehydrating. Definitely on my to do list.

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  2. Love how your trays from your old dehydrator work in the new one.

    God bless.

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  3. A great reminder! Time for me to get the dehydrators out and put them to work.

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  4. Just FYI: when you freeze yogurt, it looses all the probiotic goodness, and is merely low calorie food... it kills the bacteria.

    ReplyDelete

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