Filling a Hole In My Preps, Fruits, Vegetables, and the New Dehydrator

by suburban on June 18, 2012 · 12 comments

share save 171 16 Filling a Hole In My Preps, Fruits, Vegetables, and the New Dehydrator

I always knew I had a damaging hole in my food preparations. I have quite a few proteins. In fact I consistently rotate my proteins because I use them in every day life. I also need to boost some of the protein preps, as an aside. However, what are/were missing are critical preparations because they cover two areas of importance that I personally think are overlooked. Overlooked you ask? Yes, overlooked. Here is why I say that. I think “most of us” focus on the “meat,” no pun intended. I purchase a lot of canned meats for my preps. Canned ham, turkey, chicken, etc. I also use them. I am starting to investigate canning my own meats to help cut costs if I can. I’m looking at a new pressure cooker for that. But more on that later. Back to the hole. When I looked over my food preps, I noticed a huge hole in vegetable preparations. I purchase and store a lot of stuff, but dehydrated vegetables or canned vegetables. I will tell you I like canned vegetables because they come packed in their own liquid (water) which can be recycled, purified, and ingested if necessary for hydration. However, the cans can get heavy and bulky if you had to pack’em for bugging out. So I have recently purchased a Nesco 75 PR 700 Watt Dehydrator.  I immediately started looking for YouTube Channels on Dehydrating.  I came across Dehydrate2Store‘s Channel.  I was immediately hooked.  I ran to the grocery store, and started dehydrating…

Now, I mentioned there were two reasons I started dehydrating vegetables.  While writing there are actually three reasons I can come up with immediately:

  • To gain ample fiber into my preparation diet
  • To gain ample carbohydrates into my preparation diet
  • To add ample vitamin, mineral, antioxidant content into my preparation diet.

I have read and honestly believe man cannot live on protein alone.  I have seen diets such as the Atkins diet do as much harm to a person as it is supposed to do good, and in general is NOT good for the kidneys.  The body needs carbohydrates.  A lot of them.  The body needs fiber, for a number of reasons.  All three reasons are of the utmost importance, and hacking my own diet in the past, I can tell you that they are all important to me for some various health reasons.  Especially from a fiber and vitamin impact.  Not to mention to keep you going from a carbohydrate perspective.  I have noticed that when replacing whole grains with vegetables for carbohydrates I have noticed I require a LOT of vegetables to get the same energy impact, with the exception that the energy impact lasts much longer with vegetables (and fruits) than with refined wheat products.  It has also been part of the Paleo Diet that I am trying to follow (not always as successfully as I think I should).

It feels good to be able to add to my preps in an area that I know has been bothering me.  So what have I been dehydrating and packaging for storage?

  • Corn
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Green Beans
  • Italian Green Beans
  • Mixed vegetables
  • Potato (Hash Browns)

What I am surprised at is the speed at which the vegetables dehydrate.  The size at which they dehydrate to, and how light they are for packaging post dehydration.

Testing and rehydrating the dehydrated vegetables was also interesting.  I am going to have to play around with the dehydrated measurement and rehydrate to know exactly how to portion control the dehydrated veggies so that I can build a proper meal without wasting vegetables once rehydrated… Maybe I will post some findings and calorie counts per portion so that you can pair your portion with your protein portions, etc. for mealtime once I mess around with it a bit.  I was surprised how quickly the vegetables rehydrated.  There was a cellular level change in how they felt in some of them, so don’t expect your carrots to feel as firm as they did prior to dehydration.  But, I made soup with some of them and it turned out just fine.  I rehydrated peas and ate them like I just popped them out of the pod.  I was pretty impressed and continue to dehydrate to store

If you are not buying pre-canned vegetables through a vendor, I highly recommend trying to dehydrate your own vegetables.  You may be able to pick an inexpensive dehydrator up on Craigslist (NJ Search) for MUCH less than purchasing new.  I have noticed that many people use them just after they have been purchased, but tend to let their interest fall off shortly after.  This is a great budget item to add to your preparation tools that take VERY LITTLE effort to complete.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

kito June 18, 2012 at 2:59 pm

hey there, i also live in bergen county. have you thought food production aside from produce, ie.  raising chickens? does your town allow for it?

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suburban June 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Kito, I have, however I live in an apartment, and space and resources are limited… So, I go to the farmers market and find inexpensive ways to prep where I can.  

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kito June 18, 2012 at 4:15 pm

 @suburban have you found many like minded preppers in this area? is there a local network that you are aware of? as you know, this affluent area is in its own world. i dont see most people even contemplating anything remotely close to what i anticipate. the malls in paramus remain full, restaurants around us are still full..not much concern….

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suburban June 18, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Kito, there is a Meetup group.  I used to run it, but stepped down because I didn’t have the time.  I took it over from someone else.  You can find it here:  http://www.meetup.com/NJPreparedness/.  Last time i went there were about 20 people that showed up.  
 
You are right about NJ.  It is an anomaly.  It is it’s own economy because where we live (Bergen county) is a stones throw from Manhattan.  However, you would be surprised how many like minded individuals there are here. 

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millenniumfly June 18, 2012 at 8:58 pm

You definitely can’t go wrong with dehydrating. And, since you’ve found Dehydrate2Store you’ve got all the tips I can share except that I would suggest you also invest in a foodsaver, canning jars, and the accompanying regular and wide mouth jar sealing attachments.

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suburban June 18, 2012 at 9:53 pm

I have the foodsaver.  I have found that the dehydrated vegetables can have sharp edges, and will penetrate the plastic foodsaver bags.  I have been using the plastic containers that my protein shake powder comes in with a couple O2 absorbers until they get full, and then I plan on buying the canning jars so I can heat them and get a good airtight seal… A work in progress for sure.

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Larry June 18, 2012 at 10:38 pm

We did the math and the dehydrator is the best. No need to heat and store all that water. Take a look at sweet bell peppers; they are very nutrient dense and re-hydrate beautifully. We got the Excalibur and love it. Good post! 

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suburban June 18, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Thanks Larry.  Will check out the sweet bell peppers this weekend and try it out.  How thick do you cut the peppers?  Dice them or into strips?

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Wicker67 June 22, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Hey Suburban, great post. I am getting this right? You buy frozen veggies and dehydrate them? Do you defrost them first? I’ve done fresh fruits with decent success but question their longevity of storage times. Great for trail mixes, but I’d love to do veggies. Sorry for so many questions, but I’d love to give this a shot if you’re willing to give a few more details. I can email you if you’d prefer and we could chat that way.

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suburban June 22, 2012 at 6:19 pm

 @Wicker67 No worries with the questions.  This is what I have learned.  Frozen vegetables are pre-blanched so you can put them right in the dehydrator frozen and let them go.  As for longevity, it depends on how you package them, room temp, etc.  The same as any food storage variables.  I have done fresh fruit as well, and strawberries, etc. will seem to store fine because they are sliced and dehydrated.  As for blueberries, you have to blanch them and then poke a hole in each one with a toothpick to give them an area for the fluid to dehydrate from.  A pain in the ass to be sure.  There is a level at which I will stop and poking a hole in several hundred or 1000 blueberries is a bit tedious.
 
There are a LOT of great Youtube channels on dehydrating fruits and and vegetables.  I would start there.  I did… 
 
Back to the frozen vegetables.  It is always going to be cheaper for me to hit the farmers market and blanch myself, but when I am feeling lazy, I buy the frozen bags.  

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Survival Food July 15, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Instead of concentrating on one type of food, it would be more prudent to go in for balanced diet.

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suburban July 16, 2012 at 7:15 am

 @Survival Food That is the point of the dehydrator to add the balance to my preps diet.  Thus far my preps have contained starchy carbohydrates, proteins, and fibers, but not the nutritional value, fiber, or carbohydrates from vegetables until now.

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