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6 Rules You Need To Follow When Dehydrating Foods February 9, 2017

6 rules of dehydrating
In the book, The Prepper’s Cookbook, I emphasize how easy it is to bulk up your emergency food pantry by dehydrating food you have around you. With a meager $50 investment into a food dehydrator, you can:

  • dry vegetables for soup mixes
  • dry fruits for snacking
  • make jerky
  • fruit or vegetable leather
  • noodles
  • and even make crafts

Before you go crazy dehydrating, keep in mind that there are a few rules to follow to ensure food longevity, freshness and prevention of discoloration.

6 Rules You Need To Follow When Dehydrating Foods

  1. You can dehydrate any fruit or vegetable, regardless of quality or ripeness. If something is too ripe and soft, you can always puree it and dry the puree. Although using the best quality fruits and veggies will result in the best quality dried goods, remember that the goal here is preservation, not perfection. So don’t be afraid to dehydrate the bruised, overripe, and slightly damaged goods. Just make sure not to put mold in the dehydrator as it can spread and infect the rest of the foods.
  2. Some food items can be air-dried. Herbs and other green leafy food sources, in particular, do not necessarily need a dehydrator. They can be set out of the way and air-dried.
  3. Some foods need to be blanched. Blanching certain foods like onions, mushrooms and tomatoes ahead of time will limit discoloration and the risk of food-borne illnesses. This isn’t necessary, but it certainly helps in the longevity of your dried foods.
  4. Cook potatoes thoroughly for further enjoyment. Potatoes, beans and other root vegetables should be cooked thoroughly and then dehydrated. I’ve made a pot of beans and dehydrated them for soups. I have also made dehydrated potato flakes to use in my prepper pantry.
  5. Don’t dehydrate foods from different families at the same time. If you are dehydrating foods from different family groups, the flavors can cross over. For instance, if you are dehydrating tomatoes and peppers, note that the tomatoes will end up being spicy. As well, any Brassica should be dehydrated on its own, otherwise the sulfur taste will permeate into the other foods. The only exception is dehydrating fruits. Fruits can be mixed together, but mixing them with strong-tasting or smelling vegetables is not recommended.
  6. Be consistent with your cut size and spacing. Try to keep the slices of food the same thickness to encourage even drying times. As well, try not to allow the food to touch one another or overlap (green leafy vegetables are ok though). Otherwise, it can block the airflow and prevent drying.

Rehydrating Your Dried Food Sources

Rehydrating your dehydrated foods requires nothing more than the food to be introduced to a liquid. Get creative with the liquid that you use like juices, canning liquids, etc. Many preppers have found that rehydrating foods in liquids other than water gives the food a richer taste. For instance, soaking fruit in fruit juice makes rehydrated fruit taste sweeter or soaking textured vegetable protien (TVP) in meat stock helps give it a richer flavor.

Dehydrating foods is an excellent way to make use of food you have around you. Typically, at my home when the fruit bowl is overlooked, I will dehydrate fruits and create a healthy snack that the kids can’t resist. I also have made dried soups with the extra vegetables in the refrigerator.

 

For more information read, Drying Fruits and Vegetables by the University of Georgia

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published February 9th, 2017
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Homesteading Basics: How To Dehydrate Herbs for Long-Term Storage January 30, 2017

dehydrating herbs for storage
Herbs are one of the first plants we put in our garden. There is nothing like fresh culinary herbs to intensify the flavors of food. As well, herbs are hardy garden plants that don’t have to be watered as much as vegetables and can serve more than one purpose by being used as natural medicine. For instance, did you know that a sage leaf can be used instead of a band-aid because it has natural healing qualities? Some of these popular culinary herbs are oregano, thymne and sage and can grow year-round in many parts of the country.

To enjoy these herbs year round, many choose to dehydrate them when they are at the peak in freshness and combine them to make their own spices and even homemade tea blends. Can you imagine how much money you could save at the grocery store by implementing this into your pantry?

How To Dehydrate Herbs for Long-Term Storage

Dehydrating herbs and other leafy greens is one of the easiest items to dry for long-term use. All you really need is a constant stream of air. You don’t necessary have to own a dehydrator because herbs can dry naturally from the air, but it does help with even drying.

Here are some steps to get started:

  1.  Prep herbs for drying. Wash and place herbs evenly on a drying rack and ensure that enough space is make for proper air flow.
  2. Set temperature and time according to the directions on your dehydrator.
  3. Ensure that herbs are 95% dehydrated for long-term storage.

Here are some great spice mixes to start adding to your pantry!

Cajun Seasoning

  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Chili Powder

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

French Herb Mix

  • 3 tablespoons marjoram
  • 3 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 3 tablespoons savory
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed

Chili Powder

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Storing Dehydrated Herbs

Herbs can be dehydrated to store for longer periods, but storage is important for any preserved food, and dehydrated foods are no exception. Store either in heavy duty zippered bags in a metal container, or store in dry, sterile, glass jars. For long term storage, I recommend using Mylar bags.

As I stated previously, before storing, you want to ensure that your food is 95% or more dehydrated because the more moisture your food has the more likely molds and microorganisms can grow. Like all emergency food sources, ensure that you keep your dehydrated food away from natural elements.

“Best Used By” Guidelines for Dehydrated Food 

  • Spices – 1-2 years
  • Vegetables/Fruits – Up to 12 months
  • Meats – Best at 1-2 months, but can be stored for 6 months.

We are all looking for frugal ways to bulk up our preparedness pantries. Using herbs is a great way to do that. Some of our favorite herbs we love to grow in our garden can be utilized to make long-term herbal seasonings to use year round. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start dehydrating!

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published January 30th, 2017
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This Protein Source is a Must for the Frugal Prepper’s Shopping List January 26, 2017

ground beef as food storage
[Editor’s Note: Having a storable protein source for your emergency supplies is paramount to your survival. In The Prepper’s Cookbook, I stress the importance of having a pantry stocked with nutritious, life-saving meals. Finding deals at the grocery store (especially on meat) is a great way to bulk up your emergency supplies. One such frugal food is the humble package of ground beef.  It can be dehydrated, canned and frozen. As Jeremiah will touch on, this versatile meat source is a must for every prepper pantry. Chances are, you can find some great deals if keep an eye out.]

ReadyNutrition Readers, as you’ve undoubtedly read in some of my previous articles, protein is a major consideration in any undertaking that you have.  As a matter of fact, it is critical to your survival.  We have discussed its importance before, and I wanted to give you guys and gals some methods for utilizing ground beef to keep that protein flowing into your systems.  Remember this: almost every food can be effectively blended in a blender.  The smaller and more pulverized the better!

Ground Beef is a Frugal SHTF Meat Source

Seriously, guys and gals, ground beef is really great.  Firstly, the taste is such that it (as a meat, and a protein) provides satiety, that is a sense of being filled/sated.  When you combine that with an 85% lean or higher regarding fat, and make it organic, grass-fed beef…you’re taking in some nutritious protein.


Per the tables in Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary (17th Ed.), 3 ounces of lean ground beef contains 21 grams of protein.  Most people can eat between ¼ and ½ lb. at a sitting, so we’re looking at 28 to 56 grams of protein right there.


A Few Nifty Ways To Have Ground Beef Ready To Go!

Now, let me tell you what I do.  I’ll take about 10 lbs. at a time, and make really lean hamburgers out of about 5 lbs. of it in about ¼ lb. patties.  I chop up onions, garlic, parsley, and the like, and throw that in.  The other 5 lbs. I brown it on the stove, drain it, and then add ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil and the aforementioned herbs and seasonings.  I’ll keep it in 1 lb. Ziploc bags and freeze about three pounds of it.  The other two I’ll keep in the fridge.

Adding this ground beef ¼ lb. at a time to other things, I boost the protein content quite a bit.  If you read that article I wrote on the uses of the thermos, you’ll find that I’m a big vitamin-R guy…that’s “Ramen” …for a light lunch/snack and a quick pick-me-up.  With a sandwich bag holding my browned ground beef, I turn the 8 grams of protein in the Ramen to 36 g in the blink of an eye.

See, if you pack up these little sandwich bags with about ¼ lb. of the ground beef, you can add it into whatever you like.  Tomato soup is nothing…but you can go somewhere and have a bowl and throw the ground beef into it and there’s your protein.  Same as if you pick up a salad, the bag of ground beef.  Why not?  Whatever your dressing is, throw in the ground beef and mix it all in well.  Why not add some delicious protein to your salad that makes you feel fuller?  Even something such as a bowl of macaroni and cheese…add your ground beef, and go from about 16 g of protein to the cup to a full 44 g.

I have mentioned all of this to give you some ideas if you’re on the go and used to buying your food when you’re at work or such.  Know what else you can do, after you’ve cooked it up?  Dehydrate it!  Yes, indeedy!  That is with a food dehydrator (the time will vary for the number of trays you intend to do) or with your oven.  For the oven, you should throw it on about 150 degrees F for about 8 to 10 hours if you already browned it (for about 5 lbs.).  When it’s done, allow it to cool off, then wrap it up and refrigerate it.  This is especially good in soups, and to figure out what the protein content is you’ll have to do a weight by proportion. Note: Meats with high fat content tend to produce beads of oil as it dehydrates and should be blotted off during the dehydration process. Look for meat that has less than 15% fat content.

If you browned about 5 lbs., and then dried it in the oven, you may have about 2 lbs. left over.  Calculate your original pre-cooked weight into 4 ounce increments (that would be 4 per pound…and 5 lbs. makes twenty total, right?).  Then divide your 2 lbs. by 20, and each increment would hold a normally-cooked amount’s worth of protein…so each increment would be 28 grams of protein worth…minus the water.  Just as an example so you can figure out how to do your own.  Incidentally, the Taber’s I mentioned doesn’t have the food tables in editions after the 17th, and the tables list every food known to man within reason.

You can also take that ground beef and make pemmican out of it using my recipe with just minor adjustments in terms of fat incorporated into the recipe.  As I mentioned before, all of this depends upon the fat content of the ground beef you use.  Put in into anything that you have in your diet.  I even make mashed potatoes and mix the ground beef in with it.  Works good, and tastes pretty good, too.  Try out some of these ideas, and you’ll find it really helps you with your workouts and training when protein is your main requirement.  Eat heartily, and take care of yourselves!  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published January 26th, 2017
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