I\'m Shocked

Peachtree City, GA(Zone 8a)

I'm shocked that there are not more post to this forum. I would have thought that there were a lot more canners and dehydrators out there. Everyone should store at least 3 or more months of food and water. I am always looking for recommendations on preserving food. I like canning and dehydrating because it tends to preserve food longer.
I just put some oranges in the dehydrator. This is my first time dehydrating oranges. I have dehydrated loads of things but this is the first time with oranges. I love it when I find things on clearance to dehydrate. These oranges where $1.00 a bag. I would love to find some mushrooms on sale to dehydrate.

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Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

I am sure that for every forum out there, someone is shocked that it is not more active. I doubt there is any correlation between the number of people posting and how many like the subject. Want more traffic? Interest people, post many how-to threads, share your interest. Gene

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

I can tons and ferment some but don't care for dehydrated food. I also don't support food preservation techniques derived from non-authoritative sources such as online blogs. To each her own. It's not been so long ago that experienced posters shared information but when people came on with posts about pouring boiled food in jars and not processing because hot jars will seal regardless, or turning hot food upside down to seal jars...well safe to say they got tired of posting the same old song.

I process all the excess vegetables from our garden and have pantries that at any given time have more than two hundred quarts of various home canned beans and meat (beef, turkey & chicken). That said, I am interested in preserving food from garden to table, or if a process such as fermenting is involved. But I am not as interested in buying a $400+ Excalibur dehydrator for preserving strawberries or orange slices.

"Shocking" is a strong word implying you are upset or disgusted with the current situation. It doesn't encourage dialogue among those of us who used to be frequent posters. The best adivice is from those who came before us and canned to get by in combination with current science.

We cross-posted, Gene.

This message was edited Feb 17, 2016 7:37 PM

New Orleans, LA(Zone 9a)

MaypopLaurel, I certainly agree with your comments about online preservation techniques. I make a lot of jams & jellies for sale at farmers markets. Occasionally, my DH will see something that looks interesting & mention it to me. The other day, he found a blog that advocated sealing jars in the oven, and he asked why don't we do that instead of using all that boiling water. I send him to the USDA website for an explanation. YouTube videos are the worst for showing dangerous techniques, like using BWB for several hours instead of pressure canning. I can't believe how some of these people are still alive!

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Yep, I stick with my Ball Blue Book and the UGA extension site. Books like Linda Zeidrich's Joy of Pickling or the New Joy of Cooking are good, too, as the authors take care to follow those same guidelines. I still double-check a new recipe to see if there's something similar in my Blue Book, to make sure acidity or processing method is adequate!

I agree that the proliferation of "techniques" and recipes that depart from safe methods probably impact conversation and posts from experienced people here... but for me, it's more that I've been neglecting a lot of my favorite forums on several sites simply due to time constraints!

So... how did your oranges turn out, Weeding?

One of the things I really like about dehydrating is that, unless you're drying meats, it's hard to do it "wrong." :-) If you can tear or break something in half and not see moisture, it's dry enough... and if you're not sure, you can always store it in the fridge. Dried stuff goes fast around here for snacks, so I use the dehydrator more as a different way of preparing food than as a means of preserving garden bounty.

@Weeding... How about starting a new "what are you dehydrating?" discussion thread? I could use some inspiration. :-) A friend's garden produced a lot of sweet potatoes this year... wondering if there's a way of dehydrating them into something that can be eaten out of hand...

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Great positive suggestion, Critter! I know lots of people, including my kids, who are fans of dried foods.

Jo-Ann, how about canning in the dishwasher? I've seen that one for years. If and when a canner knows the tested recipes by heart there are creative allowances that are approved by the National Institute of Home Canning in regard to meats and vegetables used in stews, or pickles and jams.

Peachtree City, GA(Zone 8a)

Thanks for the response, MaypopLaurel I guess I should have used another word other than shock because I was neither angry or upset. I was just surprised that there were not more threads in this forum. critterologist, I will start a thread about dehydrating. My dehydrated oranges turned out great.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

I'm about to start winter canning. That project is for non-garden items such as beans, stews and meats. I like to take care of that before hot weather arrives. It lessens the summer canning work.

Peachtree City, GA(Zone 8a)

MaypopLaurel, do you cook your beans before canning? I know some people do not cook before canning. I have always dry canned beans for SHTF and recently thought it would be good to have some canned with water. If the SHTF happens water may be limited and the beans with liquid would be the right thing to have. I don't really eat beans but in a food shortage situation I would eat them. So I store for SHTF and my other family members who eat beans.

This message was edited Feb 20, 2016 3:56 PM

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

We eat tons of beans which I buy on sale or in bulk. I soak four pounds at a time, over night, discard and replace the water and bring them to a bare simmer. While that is happening I heat up the pressure canner with the proper water level and fill the jars one third full of water. That seems to be the right amount of liquid. When the water in the jars is simmering I pull the jars and use a Chinese spider (a big wire strainer) to strain the beans into the jars with the water. A wide mouth canning funnel is required. Fill only to the shoulder of the jar at the point where it starts to slope inward. The beans will expand upwards during canning so it's very important to leave adequate space. I had sealing failures before finding this method because there are many factors involved in terms of how much the beans will expand such as age of the beans or the temperature at which they soaked. It's very easy to think the jars need a bit more and then you have over filled. Anyway, using the Ball and National Home Canning guidelines, I process pints for 75 minutes and quarts for 90 minutes. I don't add salt to any canned vegetables except pickles. I should note that it is recommended you cook the beans for 30 minutes before packing. I don't actually count the time from putting them on to when they simmer and are held on a low heat until packed but I did try to hold a few varieties at simmer for 30 minutes before packing and they were very over cooked. I have also used the quick soak method by bringing beans to a boil and letting them sit an hour, then brought them back to simmer before packing. It seems the beans are a bit softer with this method.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

That's a great recipe, Maypoplaurel! I much prefer to start with dried beans, but sometimes I grab commercially canned ones for convenience... this would make good use of those quart jars I never quite seem to get filled in summer/fall.

Have you ever added seasonings (other than salt, which you noted you didn't add) to the beans while canning them? I'm guessing you should avoid salt or acids (like tomato), same as when you're cooking beans (if you add them too early during cooking, the beans refuse to soften).

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Jill, I had a long response earlier today and was coming back to add I canned beans today and would do a tutorial thread. Apparently my response went to the inter-ethers.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Well, nuts! Looking forward to your tutorial. Thank you!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I'm sure looking forward to that tutorial!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE beans, and have been chomping at the bit to pull out the pressure canner. Putting up beans would be right up my alley right about now!

Ya'll can thank Jo-Ann for my canning bug!

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

So sorry. I canned, took a few photos and then went out of town. Now trying to catch up. The photos are in my little tablet, which I had with me, but it will be easier to write instructions and edit on my laptop. Promise to post a tutorial shortly.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

P.S. Don't chomp! Very bad for tooth enamel.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

I started a thread on canning dry beans. More food for thought than instructional but I'll add photos and how-tos as time allows. Start soaking those beans!

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I don't like to can because I have never had good success. I always canned ALL kinds of stuff from the family garden with my mom when I was a kid, but somehow the genes didn't get passed down to me. I have tried some, but I'm always very concerned about the product not being edible.
I like freezing produce better than canning. I think it's a little fresher tasting and a little more nutritious.
Plus, I now have a new induction cooktop that requires certain equipment and buying the new pots is expensive.
I commend all of you who do this.
Beans are so cheap, I just buy the canned beans.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I have been dehydrating and grinding Tabasco and Hot Chili peppers, all summer long. And, the Tabasco plants are STILL loaded. Not complaining one bit!

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Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Birder, I've been using induction for four years now. I also have gas and regular electric options. There are no pressure canners yet for induction but you can water bath can with steel or steel enamel on induction. I do. As for freezing, Maypop is prone to winter power outages. Keeping a handy supply of home canned foods assures us of safe eating. We bring up fresh produce and dairy and keep very little in the freezer. The last thing I want to do is spend precious getaway time in a grocery store.

Linda, you're on the right track with the chilies. DS brings me jalapeno and ancho powder used in restaurant kitchens. I'm really enjoying cooking with them.

Boonies, SD(Zone 4b)

How do you dehydrate your peppers? I have been wondering what to do with all of mine and I would like to try to dehydrate some, rather than freezing it all. I have an ancient dehydrator that I got at a rummage sale and it still works really well. (Yes, as soon as I say that, it will die!)
Would you share how you dry your peppers please?

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Great timing! I just picked half a batch of peppers this evening! I actually have enough to fill a tray and a half, but, there are more on the bush that will be ready by Friday, so, I'll wait until I pick those. I should get two full trays, maybe three.

I pick, wash, and sort the peppers, taking out any with darkened or broken tips, or breaks in the pepper. Then, I lay them out on paper towels to dry off any excess moisture. Just pat 'em dry.

Then, I just spread them out on the dehydrator trays. I've learned you can crowd them together in a single layer, because the air will circulate as the peppers shrink down.

I run my dehydrator for 18-24 hours to get them really, really dry. In the past, I would just crush them by hand. They came out like what you get in the pizza packets. Then, I decided to run them through my spice grinder, and, I've been doing it that way ever since.

A word of warning. I use my faucet sprayer to agitate the water when I rinse them in the sink, and the spray will make you cough your head off. WEAR A MASK! Also, WEAR A MASK when you spoon the powder from the spice grinder!!!

That's about it! I've been spooning the powder into 4 oz. Ball jars. The Tabasco gets sprinkled on my plate at a rate of about 1/16 oz. At that rate, I have about a two year supply, and the peppers are still going, LOL!!

I've started packaging up Christmas spice samplers!


Boonies, SD(Zone 4b)

Thanks so much, Gymgirl!! I never even thought about making powder. Can you do the same with jalapenos? I have oodles of those too.
Going to clean out the high tunnel this weekend and put in some leaves, grass clippings and egg shells along with some natural fertilizer that a cousin gave me. Should be a good weekend to do it. We have had nice weather so far.
Can't believe it will be the middle of November soon and we haven't even had a real hard freeze yet.
Again, thank you for sharing.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I WISH I had thought to dehydrate jalapenos!!!! Of course we can make jalapeno powder!!!!

I don't grow them (yet), but, have been buying them on sale to make pepper jelly for the holidays. NEVER, EVER, EVER thought to dehydrate them, duh...


P.S. I've been toying with the idea of mixing the pepper powders with other spices (salt, pepper, garlic, etc.), and making a spice blend.

Boonies, SD(Zone 4b)

Oh yum, that sounds really good. I might have to dehydrate some garlic next year. I planted 7 rows with at least 70-80 cloves in each row. By the time I hit the 7th row, I was planting the little bulbs that I saved from the top of the garlic plant like I was planting peas, just throwing them in there. I was tired of sticking each little individual bulblette into the ground. If they grow, they grow. I think I might have enough. ;)

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