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Anybody else using this method for food preservation? My wife and I began using it this year, and so far have achieved excellent results. The method reduces the weight of a product by an average of 60-90%, and the bulk by at least as much. We have rehydrated strawberries, tomato puree, zuchinni, squash, onions, peppers, and peaches so far, with excellent results. For example, 28 cups of tomato puree fits into a quart jar with room to spare. We have an Excalibur dehydrator, which is far better than the old Nesco stackable we used to have. It is well worth the expense for anyone interested in dehydrating food for long-term storage. We also got a Pro 2100 vacuum sealer, but have just acquired it, so I will update once we have used it some.

 

Vacuum sealing and dehydrating are the best methods I have found for preservation and storage of food. Whether you are storing up food for a "rainy day", or just tired of the canning game, this method deserves a look.

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I have also done sweet corn. It rehydrats just as if it was fresh. Also I dehydrate mushrooms, cabbage, apples, pears, banannas, broccoli. When there is a sale on mushrooms or bananas I buy some and put them in the dehydrator. Oh, also have done blueberries, cherries, and little tomatoes. And of course dried herbs. Mostly I dry in the sun, but during the winter I use an old stackable dehydrator that works pretty good. Also use the wood stove in the winter and dry garlic. When it's all dry then I put most of it thru the blender to make garlic powder. I save a jar of slices for soups and stews. I like the cabbage, tomatoes, and broccoli in soups. The next thing I want to try is potatoes. Anybody dried those?
Great Idea... Elliot Coleman got me thinking along these lines also....


How do you dry in the sun?

I want to learn more - and do not think the Excaliber type dehydrators are up to par for my purposes for 2 reasons:

One they take electricity and that might not always be available when you need to dry the most.

Two. I am thinking of drying a few hundred pounds of just tomatoes and they sorta need to be dried as soon as they are ripe.

I would like to hear anyone's thoughts on using a hoop house to dry in as they get ungodly hot most any-time of the year and should work well though I have no experience in doing so.

For long term storage I am thinking of mylar heat sealable bags as it is my understanding that plastic allows air in over the long term.

There are vacuum sealers that will work with these mylar bags. BTW I get all my mylar at http://sorbentsystems.com/mylar.html


I am also interested in drying potatoes so let me know what you learn
Thanks!
Joe
Hi there,

I've been learning how to use the sun during summer, and then loving my Excalibur right now. The one I have according to the manual, costs 25 cents a day to run. The beauty of dehydrated foods is that once you are done, like you shared, vacuum seal it.

I'm wanting to get out video's how to dehydrated the very meals you enjoy for supper as well. I'm not certain on the shelf life of each dehydrated item, but I do know they last longer than canned foods do. So far what I've tested also tastes better when rehydrated than frozen or canned.

I'm looking for a good vacuum sealer, do let us know how you enjoy yours?

We eat a lot of wild edibles, and they dry nicely in the sun as well. My dehydrator has 9 shelves allowing me to dry a lot at a time. I believe whatever product you have, it needs to have a thermostat. No sense using the dehydrators that basically kill all your healthy enzymes. The Excalibur comes with a timer, and a thermometer telling you what foods to dehyrdate at what temperature. Speaking of which, I need to get offline and get some more deer soaking for jerky :)

This isn't a plug.....for anyone interested I did a video series on making Acorn flour. The season for picking is pretty much gone, but it may be something someone here will enjoy to do for next year.

Thanks for a place to share,
Tamar
Hi Joe,

Try this website :)

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/shaffer58.html
blessings,
Tamar



Joe Tittiger said:
Great Idea... Elliot Coleman got me thinking along these lines also....


How do you dry in the sun?

I want to learn more - and do not think the Excaliber type dehydrators are up to par for my purposes for 2 reasons:

One they take electricity and that might not always be available when you need to dry the most.

Two. I am thinking of drying a few hundred pounds of just tomatoes and they sorta need to be dried as soon as they are ripe.

I would like to hear anyone's thoughts on using a hoop house to dry in as they get ungodly hot most any-time of the year and should work well though I have no experience in doing so.

For long term storage I am thinking of mylar heat sealable bags as it is my understanding that plastic allows air in over the long term.

There are vacuum sealers that will work with these mylar bags. BTW I get all my mylar at http://sorbentsystems.com/mylar.html


I am also interested in drying potatoes so let me know what you learn
Thanks!
Joe


BushcraftonFire said:
Hi there,

I've been learning how to use the sun during summer, and then loving my Excalibur right now. The one I have according to the manual, costs 25 cents a day to run. The beauty of dehydrated foods is that once you are done, like you shared, vacuum seal it.

I'm wanting to get out video's how to dehydrated the very meals you enjoy for supper as well. I'm not certain on the shelf life of each dehydrated item, but I do know they last longer than canned foods do. So far what I've tested also tastes better when rehydrated than frozen or canned.

I'm looking for a good vacuum sealer, do let us know how you enjoy yours?

We eat a lot of wild edibles, and they dry nicely in the sun as well. My dehydrator has 9 shelves allowing me to dry a lot at a time. I believe whatever product you have, it needs to have a thermostat. No sense using the dehydrators that basically kill all your healthy enzymes. The Excalibur comes with a timer, and a thermometer telling you what foods to dehyrdate at what temperature. Speaking of which, I need to get offline and get some more deer soaking for jerky :)

This isn't a plug.....for anyone interested I did a video series on making Acorn flour. The season for picking is pretty much gone, but it may be something someone here will enjoy to do for next year.

Thanks for a place to share,
Tamar

BushcraftonFire, we have a Weston Pro 2100 vacuum sealer we bought online. Just google it. I am extremely impressed with this machine. We have been packing up dehydrated produce, sugar, and dry milk so far. The dry milk went into mylar bags with O2 absorbers and we just sealed them, not vacuum packed. The machine seals mylar bags with no over-melting like a lot of others. It has a 1/4" wide sealer as opposed to most others' wire sealer. The machine itself is very sturdily built and appears to be user repairable. No spot welds or special fasteners, just heavy-guage steel and phillips-head screws. Reminds me of stuff made many years ago in this country. It's not cheap, but is well worth the money. Hope this helps.
Looks like a great machine but out of my price range for now.

I am considering:

http://www.sorbentsystems.com/sinbosealer.html

as I could buy 3 or 4 of them for the price of the Weston.
I have been using mylar bags and O2 absorbers from Sorbent systens for about 5 years now. The mylar bags work great. they do have the specs for each type of bag. They are especially good in the plastic buckets. I have been using an iron to seal mine and no problems there. 5 and 7 ml mylar is what I get. I did get some bags with the clear plastic window and found that if packed too full the plastic will split easily. No need to vacume seal if using the O2 absorbers as they do the same job as the vacume. Amazing really. My pocket does not like the price increases of the mylar bags. Would be happy to split an order with others. Did not get any potatoes dried this year. Hopefully next. If anyone is interested in splitting an order personal email is the best way to contact me. blueslady@hughes.net.


Nancy said:
I have been using mylar bags and O2 absorbers from Sorbent systens for about 5 years now. The mylar bags work great. they do have the specs for each type of bag. They are especially good in the plastic buckets. I have been using an iron to seal mine and no problems there. 5 and 7 ml mylar is what I get. I did get some bags with the clear plastic window and found that if packed too full the plastic will split easily. No need to vacume seal if using the O2 absorbers as they do the same job as the vacume. Amazing really. My pocket does not like the price increases of the mylar bags. Would be happy to split an order with others. Did not get any potatoes dried this year. Hopefully next. If anyone is interested in splitting an order personal email is the best way to contact me. blueslady@hughes.net.

Nancy thanks for the reality check. Since I am single I use the smaller bags and pack about 5# of beans or grains into each bag. I have also opted for the 3.5 mil such as:

35M1014

10.0"x14.0"

One Gallon Pouch.

PAKVF3.5M

3.5 mil MYLAR pouch

Case Pkg: 500

100 @ $0.358

Because they are so inexpensive and so far have held up in the 55 gallon plastic drums that I pack them in.

I use the O2 absorbers also except on the sprouting seed that I pack in about 3 pound lots. A year after realising the possible folly of doing so, (using the O2 absorbers with sprout seed) I put a pin hole in each bag and put them in the freezer.

I have done business with Jim Mumm at http://www.sprouting.com/ and have been very happy. His product is organic and he also sells in bulk. I would be very interested in getting a bulk order together sometime if anyone is interested.

Sorbent systems also sells desiccant for the final drying of your heirloom seeds. I have found:

05MFS18L

w/Lip & Tear Notch

5" x 18"

PAKVF4

4.3 mils

100 @ $.275ea

Very economical to store the dried seed in because you can make 3 pouches out of one of these bags if you have heat sealer. I bought 50# of the blue reusable desiccant and can sell some of it if anyone is interested.

Blessings!
Joe
I did not know about the sprouting seeds. Makes sense as they are 'alive'. I think I processed my extra in the vacume seal bags. Will have to go check, open a package and see how they do. Should have thought they'd be the same as planting seeds. Duhhhh. Thanks for the info! Nancy
For drying in the sun I have a bunch of plastic bread racks. I cover the rack with cheesecloth, or any other similar material, then lay out what I am drying. A lot of veggies need blanching first. Then I cover with another piece of cheesecloth and set out in the sun. Do not set over the grass, just does not dry as well because of moisture in the ground. A metal roof works well, over cement drive or sidewalk. I have some metal chairs that I set up and place 2x4's on then set the racks on those. Try to get a tilt for the suns angle. I also look at my shadow when setting them up, and later in the day, so they get the most direct light/heat. I really want to make a solar dryer. I am not a good carpenter but think I can make it work. there are some good plans available online. I have the same feelings about the electric dehydrators. I would rather put money into supplies to build a solar that one that won't work when the electric is out. Also if one is drying apples and cabbage at the same time, or onions and peaches. I would think the electric dryer would hold in the odors thus peaches could have an onion taste.
I saw a web site a while back about a farm in Calif that dried their tomatoes in the sun in the field. Rows and rows of them. Will try to find that site again some evening and post. Nancy
Joe, You mentioned the 3.5ml have held up well so far. How long? 1yr? 2? I may try some 3.5ml as I have more buckets now. Thanks, Nancy


Nancy said:
I did not know about the sprouting seeds. Makes sense as they are 'alive'. I think I processed my extra in the vacume seal bags. Will have to go check, open a package and see how they do. Should have thought they'd be the same as planting seeds. Duhhhh. Thanks for the info! Nancy

Yes they both need oxygen. (But not a whole lot)
They should be fine at least for a year as vacuum packed especially if in the fridge or freezer.
I think packing seed with desiccant would be more harmful.

(Mine sprout seed had O2 absorber for a year and did well and I read of an account where a person used O2 absorbers on wheat berries and they still sprouted 2 years later.)

Another thing I may change is using bay leaves rather than DE with corn and bean seed to fend of weevils.

Best
Joe

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