The time has come again where I bust out my dehydrator. This week I found a great deal on frozen peas, carrots, and green beans. Somehow I wandered into an almost 40% off deal on store brand bags, so I picked up something like 20 bags of my “soup 3” as I call them. I also ran into a deal on carne asada so I grabbed a package to test it out. In a few weeks our plums should be ready to pick, dehydrate and store.
The reason that I like frozen vegetables for dehydrating is that they are already blanched. It completely skips a tedious step in the process of food preparation. Before you dehydrate fresh vegetables, they need to be blanched first. This involves dipping them in boiling water and then putting them in ice water. Some people say that this is unnecessary, but I have found that they rehydrate better when blanched without turning into veggie flour.
When I dehydrate vegetables, I use my Excalibur unit on 125 degrees for about 12-14 hours. For some reason it seems to take longer to get food dehydrated or jerked here due to humidity. My jerky for example takes about 18-22 hours with all 5 trays full. The carne asada that I use for soups is kind of greasy, but doesn’t have to be cut or prepared before turning into jerky. You can just put it on the trays right after marinating for 24 hours. No cutting, no carving, no fuss involved in the process.
Once I get done dehydrating, I use my Foodsaver vacuum sealer for long term storage. The fruits seem to last a couple years if I completely dehydrate them and seal them in this manner. I end up using my vegetables and jerky before the year is out so I don’t have a good handle on how long they will keep. My sealed packages are kept in a food safe bucket and lid. You can also put them in Mylar bags to keep them longer, but the buckets seem to work well.
I also keep barley and bouillon on hand to make my soups. I start by boiling up some water and then add barley, bouillon, and jerky. After cooking about 30 minutes, I add my vegetables and finish cooking. It should take another 30-45 minutes to finish cooking, depending on altitude.