National Preparedness Month Daily Challenge: Day 11

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This topic contains 29 replies, has 24 voices, and was last updated by  Crow Bar 2 months ago.

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  • #22523


    Today I’d like you to preserve some food. If you read articles by folks who have survived epic SHTF events, a huge part of their day is taken up by finding food and water.

    If you were in a survival situation, preserving any additional food you were able to find would help to keep you fed during the long winter months.

    A good way to start off with canning is to water bath can some applesauce. You can find the directions here.  You don’t need all the bells and whistles. A big stockpot can serve as a water bath canner. The only things you might need to buy are mason jars and lids.

    You can also preserve food by dehydrating it. While you can spend a few hundred dollars on a fancy dehydrator, you can also use an inexpensive dehydrator for this purpose. I have this one. You can even use your oven to dehydrate fruits or vegetables, but if the weather is too hot you might not want to heat up your house. I’ve never tried it but some people use their microwaves on the defrost setting for dehydration.

    What did you preserve?

    Were you able to preserve something? What method did you use? What did you put back to eat later? Share your experiences in the comments.

  • #22530

    JD Darling

    Doing a test batch of canned sausage,  I make lots and freeze it  If power goes out for any length of time I’ll need to can lots of it.

  • #22533

    Farm Girl

    I cut some basil leaves off my basil plant and put it in my dehydrator.  I have already done two different trimmings of oregano and dehydrated it this year, and already done one time of basil.  Both are growing like “weeds”!  LOL!!  Gave my son a pint jar of the oregano the first cutting.  Got myself one with the second.

  • #22535

    Cinnamon Grammy

    Kudos to Farm Girl.  My basil always gets spotty when I dry it and have not gotten any oregano this year.

    I do hang dry nettles, cat mint, and peppermint to use for tea.  It is raining today, though so it is not a good day to get more mint.

    Let me start by saying that I am a canner, both waterbath (fruits and pickles) and pressure canning (meats and vegetables), so today’s activity is not a challenge in itself.

    However, the last two days I did try something new!  I grew cabbage this year and decided to try and preserve it.  So, I canned coleslaw, it is basically pickled cabbage.  I used a strong vinegar and honey syrup and, while probably overkill, also used the pressure canner  because I was a bit paranoid about canning cabbage, so the slaw should be fine.  For pickling, you only need a water bath.  But, since the slaw was so full of veggies, I decided to pressure can it for 15 minutes just to be safe.

    One batch of 8 pints is regular slaw:  cabbage, carrots, some red bell pepper, and red onion with celery seed and mustard seed in the vinegar and honey pickling syrup.  Another four jars substituted the last two vegetables with pineapple tidbits and golden raisins and green onions, plus some pineapple juice and no mustard seed.  I tried that one and I really like it.  The third batch (four jars) was an experiment.  Besides the cabbage, I used red onion, a Granny Smith and a Gala apple, plus Craisins, and fennel seeds.

    After I open a jar, we can eat it as is, with the pickling brine, or drain it and add a mayo based dressing.  I am looking forward to the two fruity ones, in a mayo dressing on a bun with pulled pork.

    The next thing I hope to can is an “Unstuffed Cabbage Roll”.  Basically, just cut the cabbage into smaller pieces, and put the tomato sauce and hamburger in a jar and pressure can quarts for 90 minutes.

    i started canning when I realized that the food I bought at the larger grocery store was grown on depleted soil, lost nutritional value during transport, had too many additives (sugars and salt) and the cans were lined with BPA.  The vegetables are from the farmer’s market or our garden.

    So, now I create most of the dinners we like to eat into large batches so I can can them. I was surprised at how easy it is to can dinners.  Personally, I have more trouble dehydrating foods to the proper temperature so they are dry enough to store.  Yes, the pressure canner and jars are an investment, but they do not depreciate.  A case of jars here, and another there, and pretty soon you have a thousand jars and a pantry full of jewel tones of fruits, jellies, pickles, vegetables, plus meats and complete dinners!  My grandchildren are happy to pick out their favorite to take home with them after a visit.  (They know to save the jars.)

  • #22539

    Crow Bar

    I cured this salmon back on 19th of AUG.

    Still good!

  • #22542


    today- apple slices in dehydrator.

    I’ve canned for years, veggies, fruits, juices and meats.  Still buy more jars when I see them at rummage sales.  I dehydrated apple slices already but we ate them all.  Up here apples mostly not ready yet.  Also dehydrated herbs for food and meds this summer.  Made a batch of balm of gilead salve too (not today).

  • #22544


    And no dehydrator either.

    Taking note of your recipes @Cinnamon Grammy

  • #22546

    OldMt Woman

    Can you dehydrate in sunshine, Corsaire?  Or is the humidity going to negate the heat of the sun?

    I’m opting to dehydrate today.  I think it’s SO much easier than canning.  I have the equipment and have done waterbath and pressure canning too.

    But in trying to catch up with the water filter challenge, I’ll reveal a “cheat” for dehydrating.  Let’s say your goal is to have dehydrated food for being light weight and small to store.  But you don’t have a garden and sometimes the Farmer’s Market is too far away or expensive.  You can still have dehydrated foods.

    So today…….we’ll just say that our fridge/freezer went out and repair/replacement is next week.  To save all those bags of frozen veggies I bought on that fantastic sale….

    I just emptied a bag of frozen mixed vegetables onto my […ahem, dusty…ancient…seen MANY years of use..] dehydrator.  I chose to run them under the hot water to thaw them first….but you don’t have to.  Gets a bit soggy in there but we’re an arid climate and it’s never been a problem.

    Now usually I don’t have mixed veggies on a single tray.  Normally I’d have all peas or all carrots or …..  Having them mixed together [cuz that’s what I had in the upstairs freezer] I will have to pick out the larger ones to dehydrate longer.  I will take the smaller pieces like carrots/peas/corn first.  I will have to leave the lima beans in longer.  The smaller pieces could be unpleasantly “burned” if you leave them in as long as lima beans.

    Let them cool and store in Ziplock or other tight seal bag.  I put in a moisture absorber packet or two…..I save them from vitamin bottles and they are easily reusable in our arid climate.  I also leave the bags out – keep an eye on them for a few days.  Make sure all of them DID completely dehydrate.  Shake them up to circulate any slight dampness.

    So that’s my project for today… back to yesterday’s water filter project.  Real BOB is now cleaned out…dried well…repacked…inventoried….[almost].  Still working on that one!

    OldMtWoman  ….uff ta!

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by  OldMt Woman.
    • #22568


      Old mnt woman you can build your own solar dehydrator from cheap building supplies we do it for herb mushroom,  berries we don’t do meat in solar one.


      We use screens size of french door/ glass patio door. We made latest one with stainless steel mesh and aluminum frames. Don’t make the layer too thick and don’t have items touching each other. Not all dry at se rate either. Be wary of bear thinking it’s a snack factory.

  • #22547

    Redneckin It

    When I was younger (and much poorer) I would pop the screens from a couple of windows and dehydrate fruits by laying the screens on the back seat of the car. The clothesline worked great to make jerky. I still do things like this when my dehydrators are full and I’m running out of time to get a bunch of whatever I have preserved. It doesn’t take money or gadgets to get things done.

  • #22555

    Mama cando

    Right now don’t have anything to put up. Heading to the market this week end for apples to make applesauce and apple butter.DH’s friends are leaving Friday. Other friend not due in until late Tuesday. Due to the weather this spring we’ve lost our apple crop, the tomatoes, and my herbs.Good thing I still have toms, and herbs from last year put up. Am out of applesauce though.

  • #22557

    Dala Barnes

    I dehydrated some apples and some basil from the garden. I love doing jerky but didn’t have the supplies. I might try my hand at canning water in conjunction with the first days challenge.

  • #22558

    Flower Child

    We canned 4 qts peaches in a water bath and have 2 trays if peaches and one tray of tomatoes going in the dehydrator.  We have more apples to do stuff with, lots of tomatoes and zucchini.

  • #22559


    @OldMT Woman.

    A definite maybe. We have thunderstorms that appear out of nowhere often, so that a factor. I would have to be protected also ( screen) because of the lizards and bugs which crawl all over the place. and yes the humidity

    The dry season starts in November-ish, so maybe then?

  • #22561

    Jessee Jones

    I have a pot of veggie soup and several pounds of ground beef to pressure can. I really love to preserve foods. Always makes me feel like I’ve done something good.

    OldMtWoman, (from a couple of days ago) I have two walking sticks for the winter or muddy season but only have one for now. I will have to get another. I am unsure as to what happened to my feet but this is miserable! I do know it is not neuropathy. I’ve seen 4 docs and they don’t know either. My crocs get cracked corn in them when I feed. Will really slow you down!

  • #22556


    This caught me without anything fresh of any quantity to preserve today, however, I’ve spent a bit of energy over the last month or so dehydrating a bit of this and that….spinach mostly. Seems to have worked well. I do have maybe a cup of cherry tomatoes from my last picking and am thinking about putting them out in the sun to dry. I’ve done this using the screens that came with my dehydrated successfully a few weeks ago. Put them on top of the car in full sun, but might try the idea of putting them in the car which is so much hotter mid-day. I used to can things but this summer has been a bit challenging so have not done any canning at all.

  • #22564


    I do both water bath and pressure canning.  I have canned meats, veggies, made spaghetti sauce, pulled pork, beef stew, chicken soup, veg. beef soup, tomato soup, etc. I have dehydrated beef jerky, but because of the salt, I am no longer doing that as DH won’t stay away from it.  With cong. heart failure, he cannot have the salt.  I do not use any salt in anything I can.

    I am still waiting for apples to come in so I can make applesauce. Still to early here yet. Also going to make apple butter.   I dehydrate mixed veggies, fruits, corn, peas. So far that is about it for dehydrator. Need to start doing more of that.

    I hang my basil, mint, and other spices that I grow by tying the ends together and hanging them in a place I have in garage to dry.  So far it has worked well. When they have dried, I put them into jelly jars with O2 obsorbers.

    I am wanting to try canning coleslaw but just wondering how that would taste. I usually make it as I need it for dinner but have seen where people have canned it. So would need someone to tell me how that worked out and how it taste compared to using raw cabbage and carrots to make at time you want to eat it.

  • #22565


    It has been about 40 years since I canned anything & currently do not have a dehydrator but am now researching for the purchase. I like what a few folks have mentioned here about putting moisture absorbers in the container with dehydrated food. I would not have thought of that.

  • #22571


    No apples left we just pressed last into juice and pulp was pig food….. we did start making mint essential oil…. take striped fresh mint and put into ethyl alcohol bath submerged then wait for several weeks take old mint out put new in. Tip barrel so the oils don’t get taken out … do this till winter hits… when -30c you can scoop the oils frozen off the top of the barrel.



  • #22575

    Pony Maroni

    I have a load of hot peppers in the dehydrator.

    Lesson one: If you want to dehydrate whole peppers, be sure to poke holes in them or they will take forever to dry.

    Also, be sure to wear gloves if you’re slicing hot peppers. Capsaicin can cause chemical burns after prolonged exposure.

    I plan to cut back the burgeoning basil plant and get some of that put by for the Winter months, as well as the mullein and some comfrey.

  • #22578

    Loving Life

    I did the challenge today. Yesterday was a day of service.

    I had loads of basil, so I dried the basic for later use.

  • #22622

    Crow Bar

    Dang it!  I seem to be about a day or two behind these challenges!

    I am going to do lemon confit, or preserved lemons.

    12 lemons, 2lbs of kosher salt.

    Gonna take about a month.  Will post in the Salting and Curing thread when done, with pics.

  • #22641

    I used my solar oven to make jerky. Hot sunny day here so great thing to do without heating up the house.


  • #22676

    Mama T

    Canning is my FAVORITE! ! I pressure can different meats and things throughout the year, especially chicken. I also dehydrate occasionally when I find good deals on veggies I like.

  • #22685

    Livingthe Dream

    I’ve spent the past week dehydrating, canning and freezing peaches and nectarines.  Still have 3 loads of peaches to put through the canner but that will be finished today.  Cut the parsley and have it hanging up to dry.

  • #22716


    Harvested some sage, oregano and rosemary. The mint, basil and oregano did not do well this year.

    I froze some of the herbs and dried some

  • #22769

    Crusher 1

    Ok- I have to admit, my pressure canner scares the you know what out of me, and it’s just been sitting on the shelf collecting dust for about four years.  Never used it.  I didn’t can anything today, but I did can some preserves earlier this summer and will be doing applesauce & pepper jelly in the next couple of weeks.  U-pick raspberries are available “near” us, so I might try some of those first this weekend.

  • #22796

    Crow Bar

    Ok, did 3 lemons for a starter.

  • #22797

    Crow Bar

    And another pic .

    Be this time next month before I know if I have a success or not!


  • #24968

    Crow Bar

    And 3 months later!

    Going to try using some of the zest in a pasta dish tonight for dinner.


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