I have not canned, used a vacuum sealer, nor oxygen absorbers, but I now have a vacuum sealer with the jar accessories on the way from Amazon and have some 100cc oxygen absorbers on the way, too. So, I want to make sure I’m understanding the procedure correctly.. If I store my dehydrated food in Ball jars that I have sealed with my vacuum sealer, there’s no air inside so I do not need to throw in oxygen absorbers. Is that correct?
Correct – or you can do it with the oxygen absorber without the vacuum sealing, but only if you don’t plan on getting in and out of the jar. It would be for something you planned on having on the shelf for awhile, because the minute you open the jar, you’d make it useless.
So would you vacuum seal it every time you open the jar? or change out the O2 absorber every time?
I vacuum seal my larger jar for longer term storage. I use a smaller jar for more day-to-day usage. But yes, you can vacuum seal after each opening if you’re not opening it constantly. No, I wouldn’t do the O2 absorber each time because you don’t want to waste the packages. Use those for long-term.
So, you have a dehydrator and you don’t have a clue what to do with it. You ask your friends and most of them will tell you to tackle something really easy like apples or mushrooms. While those are fairly easy to dehydrate, there’s something that is so completely easy to do, will let you clean out your freezer, and be something useful in it’s final deydrated stage that it will give you a huge confidence boost that you can do this! (Get more dehydrating ideas here.)
Vegetables that are in your grocer’s frozen food aisle are usually picked and flash frozen immediately after the blanching process. They don’t sit in the bin for weeks waiting for some hapless soul to purchase them, then sit in the fridge for weeks before the poor hapless soul realizes she’s purchased said vegetable and hasn’t a clue what to do with it, and there’s white fuzz growing on it, or weird arms and legs coming out of it like a crazy potato with alient appendages. You can go with the organic variety or not. I’m not judging either way.
Really. This is super easy to do. What is simpler than whacking a package on the counter once or twice to make sure there are no clumps, cutting it open, pouring it on your dehydrator trays and turning the machine on. 6-10 hours later, you come away with some amazing little nuggest of vegetables that are great for just chucking into soups or stews or even grinding into an alternative flours or powder.
Wait? What? Did I say alternative flour? Yep, and more on that in a minute. Let’s get through the dehydrating process first.
A Quick Tip about Dehydrating: If you can eat it raw, you generally don’t need to blanch it. If you normally eat it cooked, you need to blanch it. The easy part of doing frozen vegetables – they’ve already been blanched for you! So no need to do the big pot full of boiling water, tossing your prepared and cut up veg in for a minute, then putting them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process, etc. This is quick and easy!
HOW TO DEHYDRATE FROZEN VEGETABLES
1. Open a pack of frozen vegetables.
2. Spread out on your dehydrator tray.
3. Set dehydrator to 125F.
4. Begin to check at the 6 hour mark. Some frozen vegetables dehydrate more quickly than others. If you are using a bulky mix of vegetables, you might want to pull out the fully dehydrated vegetables to let the bulky ones keep going.
5. Store in an airtight container, either in mylar bags , canning jars (either vacuum sealed or with oxygen absorbers) or zip top bags (this for short-term storage only).
Tip: When I pulled these out, I found that I had to throw the okra back in for a little longer as it was still a little pliable. If you have larger chunks of veg, you can leave them out for a little while and cut them down before throwing into the dehydrator, or pull everything else out and let the larger chunks go a bit longer.
Also, if you have chunks of frozen veg that are in icy chunks, just tap your bag on the counter a few times to break those chunks up. You can also let the sit on your counter for an hour or so to melt some of that ice away, and just put the veg on a linen cloth to soak up the excess moisture before pouring onto your trays. However, some moisture won’t be a problem as it will evaporate away during the process.
What do you do with dehydrated frozen vegetables!?
Throw a few handfuls in a soup or stew. This will bulk up your vegetable quotient and you don’t have to prepare anything ahead of time.
Grind it to make a vegetable powder that you can toss into things like meatloaf, any casseroles, curries, burgers, smoothies, etc., to bulk up your vegetable intake. Much like making a green powder that I do here. You can even add the vegetable powder to sour cream or soft tofu or yogurt to create a dipping sauce.
Use the corn to grind and make cornmeal. Come and see how I do it here!
Here is the dehydrator that I use, though I’ve also used this one for years and loved it. I have this Food Saver for vacuum sealing my jars and use both the wide mouth and regular mouth attachments. If you’re a book person and would love to have a book in your kitchen full of awesome ways to dehydrate all kinds of foods and make meals from them, check out the Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook.
Go ahead. Give it a try. Go to your freezer and pull out those old, lumpy frozen vegetable bags and do something with them! Even if they are a little freezer burned, it’s okay. Fresh is always best, but in this instance, in these circumstances, no one is ever going to know! And it’s SOOOOO easy!
Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by growing your own food, home preservation of foodstuffs, and it may even involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale. Most importantly homesteading is not defined by where someone lives, such as the city or the country, but by the lifestyle choices they make.
The Prepared Bloggers are passionate about what they do and they each have their own way of achieving self-sufficiency. Grab your favorite drink and enjoy reading about the 30 Ways of Homesteading!
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Original article and pictures take http://momwithaprep.com/how-to-dehydrate-frozen-vegetables site