Thursday, June 28, 2012

While it rains, I dry....

We have been dealing almost 7 days of tropical moisture from Tropical Storm Debby.
Thankfully it seems to have passed as of last night.
But for those long stormy weather alert filled days I passed my time putting a new toy to use...
Isn't she pretty?
That is an Excalibur 3900 Deluxe Series and I got from Amazon from the Excalibur Company.
She has 9 trays and is a work horse. A bit pricey but I can justify it pretty easily.

If you have a garden this thing will pay for itself pretty quickly.
We don't because we are renters at the moment, though in the future that will be changing,
but for now this is our reason for not gardening.
However I discovered if you want to have organic food storage for any number of reasons, then this thing pays for itself MUCH faster. Even if you don't garden.
As I was gathering my hurricane and long term storage supplies, I found organic long term shelf stable dehydrated or freeze dried foods to be rare or expensive. The obivous answer to that was to can my own. Which I was intending to do. Then I started canning my own food storage.
Oh my heavens, the space and the WEIGHT of it. But I thought there was no other choice.
Then for whatever reason I stumbled on a Youtube video of a man dehydrating frozen veggies.
I thought, thats pretty neat!
When we buy frozen veggies ours are organic from Costco or Trader Joes. It made me think a small
little dehydrater would fit my bill. Then as all Youtube watching goes one video lead to another.
I saw soups, eggs, milk, sauces and then the one that finally clicked the light in my head was a
man who dehydrated his WHOLE leftover meal of spaghetti with meat sauce. He let the sauce
absorb over night in the pasta, then the next morning, he spead it all over his Excalibur tray and
in 14 hours he had a ready made meal! My head exploded with the thought that my food storage for
our hurricanes or other long term disaters, could be of my own wholesome food I cooked already!
Just make a wonderful pasta dinner for your family, just double it. Put it in the dehydrater
turn it on and in a few hours, you have a meal ready to go. All you need is hot water.
That was my selling point. So I pulled the trigger got the white one to go with my mostly white kitchen. Please note, the front door of it is black which is offending my OCD ticks but I will live. ;)

When it arrived, I wasted no time. I dried lots of odd and end bags of frozen organic veggies I had in the freezer (we have two and I am trying to pare down to one).
When it was done, that is when I truly realized what an amazing appliance it was!
This my friends is FOUR POUNDS of organic mixed veggies.....FOUR POUNDS!
That is a total of one and quarter quart jars. I can store 16 POUNDS in about 5 quart jars!
And talk about lightweight, my 5 year old has no issues with this and struggles with my quart jars of canned goods. These jars are vacuum sealed with a 300cc oxygen absorber in them and have the shelf life of 30 years. 30 stinkin years. I am amazed.

Maybe some of you already knew all this amazing-ness. My goal here is to get you to examine the options of saving your fod for long term, not just short term. There are tons of ways to do that. Freezing, drying, canning and so on. And we are going to explore more of those as I go along. But this one just happens to be new information to me. And I wanted to share.

Also it wouldn't be nice of me to not mention this machine IS made of plastic.
BPA free however and the manufacture is made in the US.
But because you can't trust all plastic, I found the company has gone out of their way to explain what they use (how many companies do that now???) and I feel for my low temp use (mine only goes to 155 degrees) that this will not off gas anything that is toxic to my family.
That being said, know there are more pricier stainless steel dehydraters out there.
Please do your homework, some are made in China and that SS can be suspect.
Excalibur on their own website sells replacement trays for their dehydraters that are made out of stainless steel. Eventually we will be replacing our trays with SS ones because we feel that if there is any danger, that is where it would be over long term use. Though, I feel safe in the meantime to use
the trays. I did not however buy the Paraflexx drying sheets for making soups, fruit leathers or smaller pieced items. I am not convinced that is safe and researching options. I am thinking of using the all natural kitchen parchment paper. Though I do hate the waste (paper) and am open to suggestions on this area of concern.

Explore your options for food storage for your family. Even if you can just buy food that is prepped for long term, read labels make careful decsions. I feel this is most important because in the times you need these items health is of upmost concern. It is always best to make sure the food your eating when medical support is limited or at times not available be of the best quality. 
Get to the heart of what matters for your family and prepare!

Note : I do not profit any way shape or form from these links or recommendations. I just happen to love these products. I do not do paid reviews. I do not do paid features. Nor do I do paid links. My only desire in this is to share what I have found on my journey with other like minded people. :)

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