Friday, June 12, 2009

Food for Survival - Canned, Canning, or Dehydrated?

Dehydrated Veggies

I've touched on this subject a while ago and with the gardening season in full swing; I think it's worth touching on again. Now is garden time and only a short time from now, hopefully, we'll all have a bountiful harvest. But what kind of harvest will it be?

Let's look at the economics of gardening. Tomatoes and potatoes grow almost anywhere, in good or poor soil. The difference is the harvest. Here in Arizona, I get great plants, but no taters.
I get lotsa green, but no spuds. One of the only reasons I try is for the soil and water retention etc. Any vegetable matter in the ground helps but is it worth the time, effort and water to try to grow something you can buy cheap at the store? A 15 pound bag of taters is 2 or 3 bucks! Why bother? True, when the stores close, you need to do it yourself, but till then...

So, you need to grow things that are not easily available in the store. Try to find a fresh eggplant, a Poblano pepper, peaches or apples, eggs after TEOTWAWKI. Got mushrooms? None of this is true "survival food" but it's nice to have as a change of diet. Rice and beans won't work for too long after the toilet paper runs out.

Now how do we store all the stuff besides wheat, rice and beans? I've seen several sites that "claim" to have a ton of this, that, and those...I have a 1 ton pickup and a 25 foot flatbed car way I could haul what they "claim" to have, much less the ammo they "claim" to have.

Now, you can buy MRE's. Got cash? They are pretty sad, as the US army uses them as bulletproofing in Humvees, or toss them to the kid's along the road.

Canned food? You can buy almost anything in a can! Spaghetti, soup, gravy, you name it! Would you like to carry a few cases of soup thru the woods for a few miles? Me neither.
Home canning? GREAT! One of my favorites! The only problem is, if you don't have a pressure canner, you’re limited to glass jars which are fragile and as heavy as a can when full, if not more. Now, for an honest disclaimer, my mother and grandmother canned anything that grew in the garden and I survived. According to the USDA, anything other than tomatoes needs a pressure cooker. Something to do with the acid. The other problem is the cost of jars, lids and such. The up side is, you can process anything you grow or prefer to eat! Even if you didn't grow it, buy it at the store and can it!

Now, we have my absolute favorite! DEHYDRATE!!! Any canned food contains water and is mostly water if you look at a common size can. If you have a way to haul and carry it, great! If you have to toss it into a backpack and hike a few mile's...not so hot… Now, after looking at a few "pre-packaged" dehydrated sites, they sell a 2 serving pack for 2.50...WHAT!!?? If you'd like, contact me, I'll sell you a 2 month supply for 20 bucks! Ok, I'm kidding. I'm just trying to show you what the expense of not doing it yourself costs. Even a cheap dehydrator will pay for itself in no time and you can dry whatever you want, even eggs! Besides the cost savings, you've reduced the weight to nothing! I did 2 pounds of frozen mixed veggies last night and it fits into less than a quart freezer bag. As far as shelf life, I can't say, as I rotate it here at home, so I always have a fresh batch around. Frozen veggies are available in a wide variety, so you can have almost fresh veggies year around without the garden hassle. The pic I've included shows the 2 pound bag of large mixed veggies reduced to a half quart freezer bag. Probably 10-15 servings, light as a feather.

I'd like to thank RW for letting me ramble on yet again!

Just another random thought.

Dean in Arizona


Anonymous said...

Great post Dean. I been lookin for a cheap dehydrator.

Kentucky Preppers Network

Anonymous said...

Matt: Once again,thank's!
As best as my research has found out,the dehydrator I have,American Harvester "snackmaster",was one of those seen on late nite tv or QVC for 59.99 or so.Like I mentioned earlier,it can easily do 2 pound's of frozen,or 4 if you can wait and refill it as it drie's.Even at 60 buck's,it's a big saving's over the cost of canning,and even better for weight!
Dean inAz

Anonymous said...

Dehydrating frozen veggies? Great idea! And a Foodsaver could seal out the air for longer storage, if need be. Now, Dean, could you share with us how to dehydrate eggs?
The Grill Sgt.

Anonymous said...

Hey Grill Sgt!
Doing egg's is really rocket science...I can do it,so my dog can do it!
Get egg's...that's the hard part!
Whip,whisk,or toss them in a blender,puree them to a foamy mix.
Pour into the dehydrator,on the jelly roll pan.
Wait 12 hour's.
They turn out looking like dried out cheese.Dry and crumbly.Just crumble them up and toss into a sealable can/jar.Or you can toss into a food prossessor and powder them even finer.From what I've read,1 tablespoon of egg and 1 tablespoon of water is 1 egg.
As a side note,my local grocery store had egg's on sale this week,20 pack for 1.99.I got 2 pak's,40 egg's,and I have my dehydrator doing overtime!
I can easily get 12 egg's into a half pint jar.
Dean in Az

Anonymous said...

Hey Grill Sgt!

Why not tell us your experience's with the AR/M16?
I know of the clip issue's,low charge's and such. Tell us firsthand!
Dean in az

Anonymous said...

I know your all getting sick of my dehydrating,but I found a new use for it! I was going thru the fridge to look for dinner stuff,found a few zuccini I'd forgotten about in the crisper.Not fuzzy yet,,just a bit shriveled up.Didn't look too appetizing,so,as alway's,I sliced them up and set them in the sun to save the seed's.Then it dawned on me,dehydrate them as I do the egg's!I only have 1 rack for the egg's,why waste the heat? I'm going to try this with peach pit's too,as the bird's get them before I do anyway.
Dean in az

Anonymous said...

What kind of dehydrator do you have/recommend?

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