Author Topic: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them  (Read 160326 times)

Offline Morning Sunshine

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your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« on: February 09, 2010, 06:48:25 AM »
This weekend I took a small baggy of dried mushrooms and dried red peppers to a family function (3 days of continuous eating..... ba-ad idea), and they came in all sorts of handy, so I thought I would share what was done with them, and then ask you to do the same.  So, if you have dehydrated something, tell us here, and then tell us how you used them.

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I get my produce mostly from something called Bountiful Baskets (if you are in the Utah/Arizona area, you might want to check them out), and for $15 I get 2 small laundry baskets of produce.  Most of the time it is stuff we eat - bananas, potatoes, etc.  Sometimes however, we get things no one in my house will eat: mushrooms, peppers, 8 onions (1-2, yeah, we would eat), etc.  So I have been drying them.

Mushrooms: slice and dry.  when done, my in-laws have enjoyed them on pizza and in salad (still dry).  My new BIL threw the remainder into a pot for stew, and they re-hydrated nicely.  I have been throwing them in my coffee grinder for mushroom powder and sneaking it into soups and stews in powdered form - no one can tell, and we get some of the nutrients of mushrooms and a bit of the flavor.

Peppers: slice and dry.  when done, my in-laws have enjoyed them on pizza and in salad (still dry).  My new BIL threw the remainder into a pot for stew, and they re-hydrated nicely - in fact, he said that they were getting so big he threw in a lot less than he had been planning on.  I am not a pepper fan, but I broke some into tiny pieces and threw them on my salad for a sweet crunch.  It was almost like the sugars were concentrated, so they were sweeter than I find fresh peppers.

Lemon/orange peels: I peeled my organic lemons and oranges, trying to get only the colored parts, and dehydrated those.  when dry - about 6 hours - I threw them into the blender and made powder.  I now have orange and lemon zest for recipes.

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your turn - what have you been dehydrating recently?

Offline MaddoginMass

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2010, 07:59:52 AM »
I've just started dehydrating in the past month or so....it is great.  I love how much food you can store in a small space.  I've been using canning jars so far, but am now getting to the point of vacuum packing.  So far I have dehydrated:

corn - mainly used in soup/stew
mushrooms - soup/stew and pizza
beans - soup/stew
carrots - haven't used them yet but probably soup/stew
green peppers - soup/stew
bananas - eaten plain and on cereal
strawberries - eaten plain and on cereal
jerky - eaten plain

The best thing, my wife sees the value of it not just in food storage but in convenience.  We never used to have mushrooms around, now we just reach up into the cabinet and grab the jar whenever we need some.

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2010, 08:18:36 AM »
I've just started dehydrating in the past month or so....it is great.  I love how much food you can store in a small space.  I've been using canning jars so far, but am now getting to the point of vacuum packing.  So far I have dehydrated:

The best thing, my wife sees the value of it not just in food storage but in convenience.  We never used to have mushrooms around, now we just reach up into the cabinet and grab the jar whenever we need some.

I have to agree - the convenience is great.  I never have mushrooms in the house either, but my in-laws like them on homemade pizza.  Now they get their favorite toppings whenever they come up.

Offline SigMan34

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2010, 09:41:24 AM »
Wow, that really sounds fantastic! I can't wait to get started! Thanks for the encouragement to JUST DO IT!!!

Can I butt in and ask:  what vacuum sealer do you folks use? I have to get one and just wonder.

Offline Herbalpagan

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2010, 09:41:43 AM »
Like many of you, I'm finding that with dehydrating, I can ctually have some of the things that aren't popular around our house (mushrooms and onions).
I dehydrated a lot this year, as it was my first year with my Excalibur. I did about half my green bean harvest, all the peppers (bell and hot) mostly because we got blight and I didn't have the tomatoes to make salsa with the peppers. I only did about 20 pounds of taters (bought), but went to town on things like spinach (great in soups and dips), corn, carrots etc.
We ate well from the garden, but I purchased frozen veg on sale and dehydrated that.

So far, I'm using the dehydrated mostly in stews and casseroles. Lots of slow cooking recipes. I have used the dehydrated potatoes as hash browns and fried potatoes...they were FANTASTIC!
I'm having a hard time remembering to rehydrate in time for dinner though! lol I guess it's something I just have to get used to.

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2010, 12:35:22 PM »
I have dehydrated strawberry slices - they taste like candy!!!  but they are a pain to slice.  I am going to try another method this spring.
I like dehydrated raspberries mmmmm - my husband has them for pure snacking

I like to throw dried berries into pancakes, waffles.  they give the yummy flavor without the added moisture that makes your batter too runny.

Offline hd45hunt

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2010, 01:11:18 PM »
Wow, that really sounds fantastic! I can't wait to get started! Thanks for the encouragement to JUST DO IT!!!

Can I butt in and ask:  what vacuum sealer do you folks use? I have to get one and just wonder.

I'm using a Foodsaver by Tilia.  10 years and not a hiccup.  Also recently got the jarsaver attachments and works awesome for vacuum sealing reg and wide mouth canning jars.  They also offer large vacuum canisters which I am using to vacuum regular store bought jars with the "pop" lids.  There was a great youtube video on using the jars, but I can't find it anymore.  Hope this helps.

Offline MaddoginMass

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2010, 01:28:20 PM »
I'm also using a Food Saver....probably been about 3 years now and now problems.  One thing is to keep expenses down is to buy the bags in bulk.  I actually buy the rolls instead of the bags.  I recently ordered from someone on Ebay that I thought had a good price on a 50' roll of 8x11.

I dehydrating potatoes right now.  First time for them.  Cut them in 1/2" cubes and sprayed them with lemon juice to keep them from turning dark.  I'm expecting that they will take quite awhile to dehydrate since they are cubes.

Offline HelenWheels

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2010, 01:37:04 PM »
I dehydrating potatoes right now.  First time for them.  Cut them in 1/2" cubes and sprayed them with lemon juice to keep them from turning dark.  I'm expecting that they will take quite awhile to dehydrate since they are cubes.

Maddog, you may run into a problem with your potatoes turning black when drying if you don't blanch them first. My research has turned up that blanching is really the only way to keep them from turning black when they dry.

Hope this helps.

HW

Offline MaddoginMass

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2010, 01:40:26 PM »
Oops...I also should have said I blanched them.....:-)

Offline SigMan34

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2010, 03:27:20 PM »
HD45hunt and Maddog, thank you.

It certainly seems FoodSaver is the most popular brand out there!

One question:  can FoodSavers use pretty much any type of vacuum/heat-sealable bag, or only their own brand?

Offline nimzy88

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2010, 07:24:13 PM »
Do most of you reconstitute the mushrooms before you add them to the pizza or do you just put them on as is and through the sauce and cooking they retain moisture?
Thanks

Offline LvsChant

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2010, 07:44:34 PM »
I have had good luck with the foodsaver also working fine with Cabela's bags, but a little better with foodsaver bags. I plan to try out the type recommended by Tammy, the dehydrating queen, once I run out of the current supply.

I got my excalibur last spring, so had a lot of fun trying it out and dehydrating last summer. I dehydrated:

tomatoes (some sliced and some cooked down to a sauce and made into rollups)
Peppers (bell, poblano and banana)
Celery (I use this all the time for cooking -- so easy when it is already dehydrated)
Carrots (same as for celery)
Herbs (parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, lavender) I plan to expand the herb garden this year
Potatoes (purchased at the store -- about 70 lbs fresh -- made into slices and cubes) The boys love them.
Hash browns (frozen, then dehydrated -- another great hit with the boys)
Apples (probably dried about 40 lbs... great snacks for boy scout campouts -- also work great for apple pie)
Peaches (great for peach crisp)
Zucchini chips (they are a great alternative to potato chips, although I haven't found a great way to get the salt to adhere after drying -- and they do need some salt)
Mushrooms (great way to be sure to use them all)
Bread crumbs (dried, rolled down to crumbs and vacuum sealed in jar -- work great!)
Citrus rinds (orange and grapefruit -- I've added them to tea and didn't think they had much flavor -- I think I need to grind them up, too)
Frozen veges:
    Corn
    Green beans
    Peas
    Mixed vegetables
    Broccoli
   
I'm hoping to do even more this summer and share with my parents and put them into long-term storage. Even though we have been using what we needed from the jar closet all winter, I still have almost no empty jars (keep refilling with something else). I've been vacuum sealing nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruits (purchased), coffee, loose teas and marshmallows to extend food life with great results... (don't vacuum seal the marshmallow in a bag - only a jar lol)

I need more jars!!!

On the list of things to try this year... more fruit rollups for the kids, pumpkin and winter squash.

Failures:  Citrus... I had severe case hardening on all my trials... never could get them to that nice hard texture -- just sticky and gooey forever. I may give it another try this year. It would be great to use them for lemonade in the winter. Or hot spiced tea, or...

Offline nimzy88

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2010, 08:16:31 PM »
lvschant I would be interested in how you make fruit roll ups, are you dehydrating jelly or spmerhing to that extent?

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2010, 08:47:01 PM »
lvschant - couple of things....

on your zucchini - have you tried salting them before you dry them?  either shaking salt over the chips, or even soaking them in brine before dehydrating (yes, I know this will cause extra moisture, but a thought, anyway)

on your peaches - do you slice or wedge or what before drying?  I assume you peel them first

I dried some broccoli, and it was not so good reconstituted as a veggie for dinner.  I only did a small amount, so I don't have any left for, say, making soup or stuff.  But as a side dish with dinner, it was very tough and fiber-y.  And yes, I did blanch it first.  Maybe I will try already frozen stuff next time I see it on sale, just to see what we can do with it.  Maybe my blanching technique is wrong.   ;)

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oh, and I dehydrated a butternut squash - baked and dried like a roll-up - and then pureed in a blender into flour.  A whole butternut squash was less than 1/2 c powder.  GREAT space saver!!!!  I throw a tablespoon into things like stew or soups - places I would not be able to put squash in any other form.  My husband says I have become a "vegetable pusher!"   ;D
Which reminds me - I dehydrated shredded beets (I throw them into a pot of 1 qt beef stock, one pint bottle of beef, 2 c BBQ sauce and boil until ready for BBQ beef sandwiches - another great way to "push" veggies!)
also, dehydrated shredded zucchini - great for pancakes, bread and more bbq beef veggie pushing!

Offline LvsChant

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2010, 09:43:02 PM »
Zucchini... I haven't tried adding salt before dehydrating... I think Tammy recommended against that. I'm thinking of maybe putting a bit of oil (maybe brushed on) with a sprinkling of salt with the chips in the oven for a couple of minutes before serving... I'll give that a try.

Peaches... pretty much like apples. I pealed (hot water method to make it easier), sliced and spritzed with lemon juice. They are a great snack and work well for cooking later, too.

Broccoli, I only tried with frozen type. I was thinking it would be best for soups...

Fruit rollups... I was going to try Tammy's method with blending fruits with a small amount of corn syrup and cooking first in a pan and then pouring out onto a plastic bag (duct-taped to the tray). That is basically how I did the tomato sauce (without the syrup). It worked pretty well for the tomatoes. It is really amazing how much less bulk there is once the water is removed.

I was thinking of trying to make my own tomato powder, too. On the site by Wendy DeWitt, she has an entire menu of long term storage recipes, many of which call for tomato powder... My tomatoes had trouble after it got hot here last summer. I'm hoping for better luck this year. I also want to dehydrate some of the cherry tomatoes. I didn't even think of it last year, but I think I saw something about just cutting them in half and dehydrating them (skin side down). That would be a really easy way to get that sun-dried tomato effect really easily. I actually canned most of my tomatoes last year instead of dehydrating... but with cherry tomatoes it just doesn't seem worth the trouble to can them...

The butternut squash powder sounds really good... I can see myself getting sneaky with that stuff on my kids, too :)

I've never liked beets (always thought they tasted like you didn't quite get the dirt washed off), but can see that it would be pretty innocuous in your BBQ beef recipe... Thanks!

I think I'll try the shredded zucchini this year, too (assuming my squash does better this year).

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2010, 07:11:18 AM »
Zucchini... I haven't tried adding salt before dehydrating... I think Tammy recommended against that. I'm thinking of maybe putting a bit of oil (maybe brushed on) with a sprinkling of salt with the chips in the oven for a couple of minutes before serving... I'll give that a try.

maybe I am remembering wrong, but I think she said not to add salt before rehydrating.  The way I understand it, you are not rehydrating the zucchini, right, so a bit of salt might just help with the dehydration process... maybe canceling out the extra water from a brine  ;D  I am just thinking out loud here.  Sorting ideas and throwing them out.

what is this Wendy DeWitt site of which you speak?

Offline LvsChant

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2010, 07:51:26 AM »
http://everythingunderthesunblog.blogspot.com/

She has an entire booklet of information on storing and preparing food from stores... keep reading down the blog. I know there is someplace online where the booklet is compiled as a pdf... just can't remember where.

Offline CO-retired

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2010, 05:56:15 PM »
Hello all! my name is Dave,this is only my 3rd post.I have a question about dehydrating.I'm new to the subject and have been aquiring equipment to do same.
Can I use 1 qt ball wide mouth jars to fill with what ever I dehydrate and use the oxygen separator bags in the jar to create the right storage atmosphere?....will this method ensure me longevity?
What size oxy bag would I need assuming the product level where say....1 " from the top of the jar?
And would this method seal up and pull down the lid?

I'm sure I'll do mylar bags for larger quanity storage as I get more familiar with the Dehydration  as time goes by........Thanks,Dave.

Offline theadob

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2010, 06:06:24 PM »
You can do that, but you would want to put your jars somewhere that direct sunlight wouldnt shine on them if you intend them for long term storage. If you use them on a regular basis, its less of an issue.

Offline CO-retired

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2010, 06:16:16 PM »
You can do that, but you would want to put your jars somewhere that direct sunlight wouldnt shine on them if you intend them for long term storage. If you use them on a regular basis, its less of an issue.

Sounds Good!!!! they would go in the basement where it's cool all year.
So am I right about the space in the jar...what about the oxy bags...what size in CC's ?
How long of a shelf life would I have?

Offline CBP

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2010, 06:02:07 AM »
Potatoes!  I dehydrated 10# of slices which I cooked first then sliced.  I made some scalloped potatoes with them last night using a recipe that calls for dried milk, flour etc.  They were so good I will be sending my store bought boxes to the food pantry.

More Potatoes!  I dehydrated some cubes for American fries but cubed these raw and then blanched them.  I think I prefer this method to the precooking above -- a little less messy for me.  I fried some up the other day for my lunch.  NIce to have a "healthy" convenience food!

And yes more potatoes!  I bought a couple of packages of frozen hashbrowns at a restaurant supply type place.  They dehydrate very quickly.  I sent my mother home with some.  She's reported back that they were great and handy as she's the only one who eats them and doesn't have to fight a bag that gets all clumped together in the freezer.  If they passed the "Mom" test, they're pretty darn good then.  So right now, I'm dehydrating the third 3 pound bag in an 18 pound case--then I'll do a batch for her.  ;D

I've been playing with frozen veggies, mushrooms, peppers and onions.  I think I prefer the mushrooms and peppers dehydrated on the pizza -- the flavor is more concentrated. 

Note to self, however, -- dehydrate the onions in the garage next time!

Offline LvsChant

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #22 on: February 16, 2010, 10:01:12 AM »
Sounds Good!!!! they would go in the basement where it's cool all year.
So am I right about the space in the jar...what about the oxy bags...what size in CC's ?
How long of a shelf life would I have?

I am thinking the 100 cc's would work for the quart jars just fine... I usually use 1500 cc's for my 5-gallon bucket and mylar with bulk foods like wheat and oatmeal. I don't actually use the O2 absorbers for my dehydrated foods that I keep in mason jars, though... I just vacuum seal them with the foodsaver and this seems to work fine for me. I have only been dehydrating since last summer, though, so I can't tell you about the long-term life in the jars. For foods I didn't expect to use in the next 1-2 years, though, I packed for long term storage with mylar and O2 absorbers and have stored in 5-gallon buckets.

There are some folks on the forum who use O2 absorbers exclusively and don't vacuum seal their jars... perhaps one of them will chime in.

You can also check out the site:  www.dehydrate2store.com

She uses O2 absorbers on her jars exclusively and has information about it there. She's been doing this stuff for a really long time with great success. Good luck!

Offline CO-retired

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2010, 05:33:29 PM »
What I would like to do at first is to start out with Jars...then go with the bulk.So I'm thinking do a few dozen jars for intermediate use....maybe use some of what I do in qts,taking some of what ever I dehydrate out...re-sealing with oxy bags and a new lid.
The vacuum sealed bags are a Great Idea!!!
I'll experiment with smaller quanitys and with the help of this Site I'll get squared away!!!Thank you all!

Offline LvsChant

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2010, 10:40:00 AM »
I actually vacuum seal in the jars using this:

http://www.amazon.com/FoodSaver-T03-0006-01-Regular-Mouth-Jar-Sealer/dp/B0000CFFS6/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1266428058&sr=8-13

You can also get one for widemouth jars. I also have a large canister that allows me to vacuum seal (for dehydrated things and non-perishables) re-using jars from applesauce, pasta sauce, etc. from the store. The vacuum sealed bags are also great... I use Tammy's (Dehydrate2store.com) method for long-term storage... vacuum seal in a bag with O2 absorbers, then in larger mylar bags, or else directly into mylar with O2 absorbers. The vacuum seal bags will sometimes puncture from the dehydrated foods... if you are in doubt about sharp edges causing bag failure, just use a ziplock bag (not zipped close) inside a foodsaver bag to add to the plastic thickness... an inexpensive way to add to your success.

I like the foodsaver bags most for re-packing meat I get on bulk buys... really prevents the freezer burn and lengthens the life of the food.

Offline CO-retired

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2010, 11:57:19 AM »
Thank you!!!....I wish I had a vacuum port on my sealer to take advantage of the method your doing.
Will I be OK just doing what I mentioned?(previous post of mine)
I ordered 250 100cc. oxy bags yesterday......um startin ta get my ducks in a row ;D....once I get a quanity of wide mouth jars I'll start out with cauiflower,onions peas and carrots(frozen).
I read that dehydrated corn,peas and carrots reduce in size by about a 3rd or a 4th!!
sounds like you can get 4-6 pounds of same in a quart jar!!!

Now then......when you open your jars to remove whatever,you do the same to re-seal...right?.............throw in an oxy bag and it will reseal?

Tammys Videos are awesome!!! I think I seen one of them where she said she's really concerned about 2012.....that date sure is on people's minds.

Offline LvsChant

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #26 on: February 18, 2010, 12:16:57 PM »
The dehydrated veges really do take an amazing amount less space... I think you are right in the size decrease... I use about 1/4 cup dried when it calls for a cup fresh (it does vary somewhat depending on the vegetable -- I think celery and carrots lose even more water). When you remove some for use and don't use all of it... just reseal it again with the same O2 bag. If the jar lid never pops down, you know you need a new one.

Do save your old pasta sauce and applesauce jars for this purpose... they seal up very well for me for use with dried veges. In addition to dehydrated foods, I also store up chocolate, marshmallows, dried bread crumbs (I make my own when I have stale bread), nuts, coffee...

Offline CO-retired

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #27 on: February 19, 2010, 09:30:09 AM »
I just got a phone call from the hardware store....My slicer is in!!! ;D.....now all I'm waiting for is my oxy bags and I'm ready to roll,After I pick up my slicer I'm heading down to BJ's (big outlet here in south jersey)to buy 6 dozen Qt. jars
The end of this month(feb) and a good bit of March is going to be dedicated to Hydrat'n!!
Thanks for bein there for me IVSCHANT....I'll keep ya posted! 8)



Oh.....one more thing.....I made a mistake on the the size OXY bags I ordered....they are 500 cc bags instead of 100 cc
I guess they're overkill for QT. jars but I should be OK...No?
« Last Edit: February 19, 2010, 09:34:01 AM by CO-retired »

Offline LvsChant

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #28 on: February 19, 2010, 01:08:08 PM »
...one more thing.....I made a mistake on the the size OXY bags I ordered....they are 500 cc bags instead of 100 cc
I guess they're overkill for QT. jars but I should be OK...No?

They should last 5 times as long :)  Don't worry... they'll come in handy if you decide you want to store wheat or other bulk items in 5 gallon buckets... I use three of those for a 5 gallon bucket (you can use more if you're the cautious type).

You're going to love it! I just posted a photo of my results in dehydrating pasta sauce in another thread... it worked really well...

http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=13943.0

Offline CO-retired

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Re: your dehydrated foods - what you dried, and how you used them
« Reply #29 on: February 19, 2010, 09:58:46 PM »
Is that you in the video?