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Discussion Starter #1
I'm pretty new to the forum so if I'm asking an old question forgive me.

I see a lot of people buying MREs, Gardening, and stockpiling groceries, but I don't see much discussion about home storage.

So, how are you storing the food you grow?
Each way I know of has it's own pluses and minuses:

Freezing:
Neg - Needs power, not a long life if not packaged well (vacuum), doesn't travel well, takes space.
Plus - Easy access to small amounts, tastes fresh if stored correctly, quick to store.

Dehydrating -
Neg - Needs clean water to use, doesn't taste as fresh as frozen, some foods don't dehydrate well.
Plus - Extremely easy to transport, long shelf life, small footprint for storage, use small amounts at a time, can be done without power, weather independent if stored dry.

Canning -
Neg - Disease if done incorrectly, some foods don't taste as fresh as frozen, large storage footprint (not as large as frozen), not easy to transport, can be damaged in cold weather, must use once open.
Plus - Can be done without power, recycle storage containers, large quantities can be stored at one time (canning party), open and eat without cooking.

Personally I'm working on all three, but because of my limited storage space I'm drying more than anything else. I can carry several weeks of dry food on my back without any trouble if/when I have to Bug Out (water is not an issue where I live).
 

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I dehydrate and can all the food I grow and store. I make jerky and dry certain veggies that take well to that process. When I can, I make stews and soups in addition to the usual veggies or fruit, jams and jellies, relishes and pickles. i like having ready made homemade food at my disposal when I might need an instant meal.

Do you have any specific questions on any of these things I can help with?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I dehydrate and can all the food I grow and store. I make jerky and dry certain veggies that take well to that process. When I can, I make stews and soups in addition to the usual veggies or fruit, jams and jellies, relishes and pickles. i like having ready made homemade food at my disposal when I might need an instant meal.

Do you have any specific questions on any of these things I can help with?
How do you store your dehydrated foods? Vacuum, freezer, neither or both?
 

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It's a good idea to be working on all three versions. Where one fails you will have the others. One of the ways I work with dehydrated foods is by mixing certain foods and ingrediants so all you need is to add water for an instand meal.

Example:

Dehydrated potatoes (flakes) Add the potatoes, dried milk, dried butter, little bit of salt, maybe a bit of garlic seasoning and cheese powder or bacon bits, (fake ones last longer). Then add up all the water it will take to hydrate this mixture then throw it all in a vacuum sealed bag and write on the bag how much water you add.

Voila two cups of cheesy garlic bacon potatos at a cost of less than a dollar!


-Cade
 

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I store my beef jerky in the freezer (for now) as I have a bunch of it. Make sure you trim off as much fat as you can from the jerky and pat off the extra surface oil that gathers on top after drying as it gets a bit off tasting (I think the fat turns rancid.) I have kept really lean clean jerky a couple months successfully at room temp, but I like to keep it in the fridge or freezer.

My dried veggies get stored in jar. I don't do the vacuum thing yet, but I have a nice cool dark pantry and all my stored foods are still very fresh. I do alot of veggies, but I have a great bulk food store in town, so I get my dehydrated carrots, onions and peppers from the store for pennies. It's so darn cheap and they are very tasty! I do my own dried tomatoes, but I love them Soooooo much that they only get to last until the next season. I have them in salads and on pasta and as a snack. Yummy!

I plan on making my own chipotle peppers this years. I grow a ton of hot peppers and fell in love with chipotle sauce recently. Smoke the jalapenos and dry them from there.

When some of my older dried veggies are ready to be rotated, then I add them to my stews and soups that I can. It works out well for me that way.

I also grow celery, it does so well. I dry the tops and add to roasts and soups. The main part goes in soups. I don't dry them, it takes too long, so I can them or freeze them until my next batch of soup.
 

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good point! but its also not canning/presurvation season yet...i assure you, you will see more than enough info around at that time. its always a good thing to have a good idea about wat your gonna do..before hand. wether it be any of the 3. personally i think that 2 outa the 3 would be fine, but all would better. don't rely on just one method of storage. i'm contiplating all 3.. i've got 1 ,but working on the freezing part do to (NO) extra freezer space. workin on finding a decent sized freezer. i had one yeeaars ago but got rid of it.
i would imagine the dehydrated food would taste better if it was froze too if space was provided. good luck with yours!
 

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i learned how to jar things up from my grandmother on my dad's side she whould jar everything that could be jarred and save them for when she need them, so right after i harvest my garden you can bet i'll be doing some jarring.
 

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I can, freeze and dry. I also store Alfalfa seed and mung beans for sprouts during the winter. They are a good source of vitamines.

My dried vegetables are for stews. I also can up stew in pint jars. We pick blackberrys for jams and canned berrys. We have apple trees for apple butter, apple sauce and dried apples. I will place a dried apple in a mug of hot water. Steep it for tea, and add cinnamon and honey. I drink my tea and eat the apple.

I can up plum butter, it is great on pancakes and biscuits.

I like to dry, because food keeps better. I realize it doesn't tast fresh, but if the SHTF it is going to tast a lot better then what most people are eating.

But the best flavor of all when you preserve your own food, is the flavor of success with every bite. Knowing that you grew the food and preserved it and then prepared it to eat, sure makes it tast really good.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
In my view the woods is where dinner is stored until you capture it or pick it.
Interesting attitude to take, but I live where it gets cold and in winter I wouldn't want to have to rely on the hope that what I need will be in the woods when SHTF. If too many people think that way everyone will be fighting over the last scrawny deer.
Yes, I would go for the wild first, but knowing I have backup at home for the lean times will be really nice.

But having said that I should have added the hunting/gathering option as the 4th choice because the more you know where your meals will come from the more likely you'll have something to fall back on.

Thanks for sharing all of your ideas/stories, very informative.
 

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Interesting attitude to take, but I live where it gets cold and in winter I wouldn't want to have to rely on the hope that what I need will be in the woods when SHTF. If too many people think that way everyone will be fighting over the last scrawny deer.
Yes, I would go for the wild first, but knowing I have backup at home for the lean times will be really nice.

But having said that I should have added the hunting/gathering option as the 4th choice because the more you know where your meals will come from the more likely you'll have something to fall back on.

Thanks for sharing all of your ideas/stories, very informative.
Yep. During the depression a lot of game animals were almost hunted into extinction. Deer and turkey had to be repopulated and protected for some time. This is why we have seasons, to give the animals time to repopulate. If every hunter went out and killed animals everyday all year round we wouldn't have many left.

-Cade
 

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I sincerely like the idea of dehydrating and vacume sealing some vegies and fruit....


gives me something to think seriously about....

thanks Hikerdad
 

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Home dehydrating does not get the moisture level in food down enough for it to be considered true long term storage. Especially in more humid areas like the south, we've only got six months or so on dehydrated fruits.

We can 90% of what we grow, the rest is eaten fresh while in season. Meat we put in the freezer, I just don't like the looks of canned meat. Reminds too much of a lab experiment- YUUUUCK! Our AE system hasn't had a failure in 5 years and that was when a well meaning but none listening "friend" helped me PM the batteries and put about 10 gallons more water than needed in our battery bank!

A lot of the meat is kept on the hoof (on the paw actually) also. As freezer space (small freezer that's part of the fridge) frees up, I butcher more. Have about a dozen rabbits to do this weekend.

Lowdown3
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Vacuum

Home dehydrating does not get the moisture level in food down enough for it to be considered true long term storage. Especially in more humid areas like the south, we've only got six months or so on dehydrated fruits.

We can 90% of what we grow, the rest is eaten fresh while in season. Meat we put in the freezer, I just don't like the looks of canned meat. Reminds too much of a lab experiment- YUUUUCK! Our AE system hasn't had a failure in 5 years and that was when a well meaning but none listening "friend" helped me PM the batteries and put about 10 gallons more water than needed in our battery bank!

A lot of the meat is kept on the hoof (on the paw actually) also. As freezer space (small freezer that's part of the fridge) frees up, I butcher more. Have about a dozen rabbits to do this weekend.

Lowdown3
Lowdown-
Point taken, but when I dry I always vacuum seal everything afterward. I also, freeze it if I know I wont use it very soon (some will go in my B.O.B and be eaten as a snack every so often).
If you freeze it you don't necessarily have to vacuum it, but it will extend the life.
Get one of the vacuum sealers that will allow you to seal a large mouth mason jar so you can store some of the lumpy foods that you will use during the year like beans.
Also, you can add a desiccant pack to the vacuum bag/jar to really do the job.

All of this combined and I think you'll find it lasts years.

And one more point, when you dehydrate, be sure to do it on the least humid day you can or it will take longer than you may want.
 

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How long have you kept (and used) home dried stuff? Maybe I wasn't doing something right or the humidity (averages about 90% here year round) took it's toll on it.

If I need special containers to store it in and special equipment (dehydrator) to dry it with, I don't see much in the logistics train different than with canning.

One of these seasons I'm gonna do a dozen or so "test" jars using USED canning lids to check the seal and search for losses after a period of time. It's ironic that they used to reuse lids but really just in the last 20-30 years have they pushed for not reusing them.

At $1. per dozen or less, the lids are the only true variable costs. We "lose" (in other words BREAK lol) a jar or two a year. Out of 300-500 jars I don't consider this that bad.

Now here's a little buying tip- wait till around Sept or Oct and watch your local Walmart. The $8. a case quarts usually get reduced to $5. (sometimes less). When you figure that you be paying $2.00 for the bands and lids alone, $3. for a dozen quarts is a pretty decent deal.

Yard sales, Craigslist and an ad in a free newspaper "Wanted to buy Mason jars/canning jars" will get you a pile of jars cheap also. Old black women at this huge yard sale this spring had BIG boxes (smallest one held 20) of jars marked a $1. per box. Now each one had 2-3 mayonnaise jars, sanka coffee containers, etc. but it was still well worth it.

Didn't mean to derail the subject of the thread, sorry. :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
How long have you kept (and used) home dried stuff? Maybe I wasn't doing something right or the humidity (averages about 90% here year round) took it's toll on it.
I've stored dried tomatoes in the freezer in standard ziplock bags for over two years.
I munch on them for a snack and rehydrate for stews, salads, etc.

If I need special containers to store it in and special equipment (dehydrator) to dry it with, I don't see much in the logistics train different than with canning.
I understand what you mean here, but you can always buy a small dehydrator for as low as $60 just to start you out. Don't get anything less than 500watts and be sure it has a temp setting.
The real advantage to drying is the low volume storage and easy transportation.
You can also make complete meals very easily without actually cooking them. just mix what you have stored as dried and reseal it.
Add hot water when you are ready to eat.
Check here for some pretty good recipes:
http://www.freezerbagcooking.com/

One of these seasons I'm gonna do a dozen or so "test" jars using USED canning lids to check the seal and search for losses after a period of time. It's ironic that they used to reuse lids but really just in the last 20-30 years have they pushed for not reusing them.
I don't know about this. I mean with the cost of lids being so cheap I can't see chancing loss or worse yet botulism just to save a few cents. But you can save the lids if you are using freezer jars and use them over and over again. Oh and also for the vacuum sealer as well.

Now here's a little buying tip- wait till around Sept or Oct and watch your local Walmart. The $8. a case quarts usually get reduced to $5. (sometimes less). When you figure that you be paying $2.00 for the bands and lids alone, $3. for a dozen quarts is a pretty decent deal.

Yard sales, Craigslist and an ad in a free newspaper "Wanted to buy Mason jars/canning jars" will get you a pile of jars cheap also. Old black women at this huge yard sale this spring had BIG boxes (smallest one held 20) of jars marked a $1. per box. Now each one had 2-3 mayonnaise jars, sanka coffee containers, etc. but it was still well worth it.

Didn't mean to derail the subject of the thread, sorry. :eek:
I've done the garage sale thing, but hadn't thought about Craigslist. I'll do that next.

Great info here Lowdown, no, "sorry" necessary.
 
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