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Post by Harvey_Birdman on Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:38 am

Check out this good dehydrating series!



God bless,
Chad
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Post by Sonshine on Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:57 am

Thanks for the video. I have a couple of dehydrator I use, especially to dry my herbs. I love mine. Last year I dried some apple slices to give as Christmas gifts to some family members.

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Post by Farmfresh on Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:49 am

I just bought myself a new one for my birthday. cheers

My old dehydrator (which still works) is going on 25 years old.

Last year I really kicked the dehydration up a notch. I even dehydrated our okra and sweet corn. It turned out great and is a lot less work than canning. I see lots more dehydrated foods in our future.
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Post by Harvey_Birdman on Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:00 pm

I have had one for years, but so far have only used it to make deer jerky. I have really been wanting to start canning. I just bought a canning pot at the flea market for $8. I plan on giving a few things a go this year, but I think I will mostly dehydrate this year. I have thought about it for a while, and this video put me over the line.

The way I see it is with canning there is a much bigger learning curve, and more expence. So, I will can a few things, but most of the harvest will be dehydrated, at least until I get the hang of canning. Who knows I may end up liking the dehydrated stuff better than canned.

I subscribed to this womans channel, she has a slue of tips and recipies.

I saw a video a year or so ago about a solar dehydrator. I plan on making one someday. I will try to draw it up on paint tonight, and post it so you can all see it. Someday if there is no power it may be one of the few ways to store food.

God bless,
Chad
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Post by PATRICE IN IL on Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:05 pm

Chad the solar dehydrators are a nice idea unless you live in a humid location, then they won't work for you. It's too humid here in Illinois most of the time to use one. If the power went out and stayed out we'd have to dehydrate like they did in the old days, over the wood stove. Wink 

Don't be afraid of canning, just get yourself a good canning book and follow the directions exactly as they are written. I have several of the Ball Blue Book of Preserving books and use them a lot. The book is cheap, under $10 and you can get it most places that sell canning supplies, even Walmart carries it.
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Post by Farmfresh on Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:28 pm

I have been canning for years and have even competed with my canning.  I would be privileged to help you learn how, Jeff.  

The easiest thing to learn is jelly.  From there you can take off!
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Post by 12acrehome on Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:29 pm

I'm like you Birdman, jerky is what is usually found in my dehydrator, but I plant to expand its duties soon.

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Post by Sonshine on Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:19 am

Chad, get a good canning book.  Canning isn't really hard, you just have to know the time and pressure for each type of food.  High acidic foods can be water bath canned, basically just put them in a pot and cover the jars with water and let it boil away, but you have to have the timing right.  I think "Ball" has an online book.

I also like making jerky on my dehydrator, but the main thing I use mine for is herbs.

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Post by Farmfresh on Thu Jun 13, 2013 2:47 am

I simply rock mine constantly. 

Favorite things to dehydrate:  Onions, celery, herbs, ginger root, mushrooms, okra, jerky, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn and fruit. 

Most of the veggies like the celery and onions I run through the food processor then slam them into the dehydrator.  Other things like the fruit and potatoes I slice on my mandolin.  Others I just dice up like the peppers and tomatoes. 

For the past few years I have been making my own raisins from my seedless grapes.  It is amazing what you can do with it. 

Then I oven can many of the items, by heating them in a very low oven heat in their sterilized dry jar until the internal temp reaches 160.  Then you simply screw on the lid as you take each jar out until it cools and the seal pops. 

It is amazing how much food will fit into a single quart jar or even a pint.  If done right the food will stay super fresh for a very very long time.  When you pop a seal to use it it smells like fresh food. 

For daily or shorter term storage I use Gatorade bottles.  They wash up well and seal air tight.
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Post by Harvey_Birdman on Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:26 am

PATRICE IN IL wrote:Chad the solar dehydrators are a nice idea unless you live in a humid location, then they won't work for you. It's too humid here in Illinois most of the time to use one. If the power went out and stayed out we'd have to dehydrate like they did in the old days, over the wood stove. Wink 

Don't be afraid of canning, just get yourself a good canning book and follow the directions exactly as they are written. I have several of the Ball Blue Book of Preserving books and use them a lot. The book is cheap, under $10 and you can get it most places that sell canning supplies, even Walmart carries it.

Very true about the humidity, but I think it will be "less" of an issue with the one I saw. I will try to find the video I saw it on, and post it. That would be better than me trying to draw it out.

Thank you all for the canning advice. I have lots and lots of family that can, and one book. (I will look for the Ball book at wally world) The 2 main reasons I don't want to go big into canning is I don't want to risk loosing very much harvest, and the expence of startup. I have been looking for a deal on a pressure canner, but they are costly, and at least around here the jars are kindof costly too. I plan on doing 2 dozon or so jars this year, and adding to that each year. Maybe by next year I will have a pressure canner. Until I get one I will just do what can be done in the water bath.
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Post by Sonshine on Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:37 am

Try to find jars at yard sales, you can sometimes find good deals on them.  Also you can get them cheaper off season.

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Post by Sonshine on Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:45 am

Also, as far as the humidity, it's really humid here in Georgia, but I haven't had any issues with dehydrating.  I think the key is to get it in a sealed container immediately.  We have a vacumn sealer we use.

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Post by backtotheland on Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:52 am

I'm going to get a new dehydrator this year. I have always been big on canning but I got to thinking the other day if I ever had to flee anywhere it sure would be a lot easier to take food along that was dehydrated than canned. I'm going to see if I can find a vacuum sealer that is not electric too. I've got to get hopping on getting that dehydrator  because when I drove by the YouPick farm down the road from me they are picking strawberries today and I want to dehydrate some as well as make jam, freeze some and make some into juice using the Helen Nearing method.

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Post by Sonshine on Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:32 am

What's the Helen Nearing method?

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Post by Farmfresh on Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:40 am

Something to think about when buying canning jars for the first time is lid size.  If you buy ONLY one lid size then you can get lots of lids and they will fit all of your jars.  No running out of the wrong size lids half way though a canning session. 

Personally I prefer wide mouth jars because they are much easier to wash.  Others prefer regular mouth jars because the lids are slightly cheaper.  

Another thing that is important for me is buying only name brand jars.  Personally I only buy Ball jars.  Yes I pay a bit more, but in my years of experience Kerr or Ball jars seem to hold up better over the years.  The size is more uniform - you can get more name brand jars in the canner for example.  The off brand jars are sometimes wider or taller than a standard name brand jar.  That makes things not fit on my shelves as neatly and frankly just bugs me.  If stuff like that does not bug you the off brands ARE cheaper.
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Post by Sonshine on Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:04 am

A couple of years ago we bought some tattler lids.  I love them, but know of others who don't care for them.  With the tattlers you can reuse them over and over.  I also prefer the ball or kerr jars.

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Post by Farmfresh on Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:50 am

I have Tattlers too and I really like mine, but I would not recommend them for a beginner.  I think they take a bit more skill to be consistently seal correctly.
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Post by dizzy on Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:12 am

Chad, another place you can look for canning supplies is CL, and thrift shops.  I've heard of people that have given away all kinds of canning supplies cuz they're no longer using them, or it belonged to mom/grandmom and they don't realize what they're actually worth.

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Post by PATRICE IN IL on Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:00 am

I've got a bunch of the Tattlers and like them too. I also still buy some of the metal lids for things that I'll be giving away to other people.
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Post by Farmfresh on Thu Jun 13, 2013 12:54 pm

I have a hard time with the Tattlers if I am doing jelly or jams.  Those items are supposed to fill the jar all but about 1/8 of an inch.  I don't think there is enough air left in the jar to vacuum the Tattlers down.  ??
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Post by Sonshine on Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:03 pm

I did some peach jam with my tattlers last year with no problems, so not sure what happened with yours.  There's only been a few times I haven't gotten a good seal with them, but that's the same as with regular lids.  I've heard of others having problems with the tattlers, but so far we've been very blessed with them.  I still have some regular ones because I don't have enough tattlers to cover all our canning, but I'm buying up more when I can.

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Post by dizzy on Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:01 pm

I've been wanting to get some of the tattlers, but never have the money to spare.  If they sold them in Wally World, it would be a lot easier.  So, I'm just using the metal ones for now.

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Post by backtotheland on Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:32 pm

Sonshine, Helen Nearing method of making juice is just to put the fruit in the jar and pour boiling water on it and process it. She never sweetened hers but I think I will put a little sweetener in mine. That is how I make my grape juice. I put about a cup and a quarter of concord grapes in the bottom of the jar, add about a half a cup of sugar and process for 20 minutes. I let it set a month, the rule of thumb around here is that no one touches the grape juice until Thanksgiving, open the jar, strain out the grapes and enjoy. You can dilute it if you need to. I feed the strained grapes to the chickens and they love them. Another way to supplement their feed in the winter. I'm going to try it with a lot of different fruits this year and see how it works.

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Post by Farmfresh on Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:40 pm

Sonshine wrote:I did some peach jam with my tattlers last year with no problems, so not sure what happened with yours.  There's only been a few times I haven't gotten a good seal with them, but that's the same as with regular lids.  I've heard of others having problems with the tattlers, but so far we've been very blessed with them.  I still have some regular ones because I don't have enough tattlers to cover all our canning, but I'm buying up more when I can.

If I leave more than the proper 1/8 inch head space they seal fine.  However proper head space is a lot more important than most people realize.  That helps a food have the longest life possible.  Given that, I just use metal on my jellies.
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Post by Sonshine on Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:27 pm

backtotheland, that sounds like what my Mom did when she made grape juice. 

Farmfresh, I agree that you need to leeave the appropriate headspace.

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