Hi Everyone! I mentioned in my last post a few of my great yard sale/park and swap deals. Trust me; I got really lucky on most of them! Most people don't know how to can, use a pressure cooker, make jerky in a dehydrator, whatever, or they have no patience. Water canning is super simple, provided you only do what is correct for it, boiling water and waiting, pretty much. Pressure canning/cooking needs a special setup. So, how to dehydrate? All you need is warm, dry air and a semi-sealed container. So let's make one!
First, you need a source of warm, dry air...hmmm; a cheap yard sale hairdryer fits the bill! Make sure it has a low setting though; you don't want veggies blowing around!
Second, you will need a cardboard box. If you want to do it long term, you may prefer to whip up a wooden box or something like a metal or plastic 5 gallon bucket with a lid.
Next, you need some racks to fit inside. You could make these out of 1x2's cut to the boxes inside size like a picture frame, then window screen stapled to it.
Cut a hole in the box or bucket on the side, near the bottom, to fit the hairdryer nozzle into. Then cut a hole in the opposite side near the top. The idea is to make the air circulate all throughout the box.
Place your food on the racks, stack them in the box, close the top of the box, flip on the dryer on low and wait! Depending on what you are drying, how much, and so on, it will take at least 12 hours. When I started, I could only do 1 pound per rack. A trick I've learned, wait a few hours for the first batch to start to dry, then add more. Now I can do 4 pound's of veggies in 16 hours. And that 4 pound's fits easily into a 1 quart freezer baggie!
My experience is that fresh or frozen stuff works best. I'm not sure if you can do canned stuff, as I assume its already cooked to some degree. Besides, frozen is cheaper, as your not paying for the water. Potatoes need to be blanched 5 minutes, or it turns gray. Probably ok, they’re just ugly looking. Eggs are super easy, but you'll need some type of shallow PLASTIC dish, as metal will probably react to it.(Aluminum is out, as I've already learned!).My dehydrator has a plastic dish for making fruit roll ups, holds 6 eggs, barely.
Like my grandfather always told me "If you put a lazy man on a hard job, he'll find an easy way to do it. And if it works, who cares?" I've tweaked it to be "If you put a cheapskate on an expensive task, he'll find a cheap way to do it!"
If anyone tries this, please send any ideas you can add to it! I'm having a blast helping out RW, he's been so kind and tolerant of my ranting and I love reading your input. Here I thought I knew a lot and you people keep showing me what I missed!
I'd like to thank RW for letting me ramble on yet again and let's all keep him and his family in our thoughts. And thanks to everyone for the responses to my last post, Lots of great links and tips! Keep this up folk's! The only way to prep is thru knowledge, because we're all like minded, let's share it all!
Let's all keep RW and his family in our thought's. Thank you for letting me rant again RW, and thanks all of you for reading it too!
Dean in Arizona