Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dehydrating Carrots - How to

Recently, we picked up some really cool carrots from our farmer's market. We couldn't possibly eat them all so we decided to save the rest by dehydration. During the process, I tried to record all of the steps in the hopes of helping other who may want to do this as well.

Step 1 - Prep work
Remove and greens that are left on the carrots. Also, remove the ends of the carrots.

Step 2 - Wash
Next wash the carrots thoroughly in cool water.

Step 3 - Cut the carrots
Cut the carrots into 1/4" thick slices

Step 4 - Blanch the carrots
Bring a pot of water to boil. Next, place the carrots in the boiling water for two minutes

Step 5 - Ice bath
Immediately cool the carrots in ice water to stop the blanching process.

Step 6 - Dehydrate.
Strain the carrot slices and lay them on the racks in the dehydrator. Make sure that the pieces are not touching.

Step 7 - Wait.
Set the temperature of your dehydrator to 135 degrees and a timer for 6 hours.


Step 8 - Store.
Remove the dehydrated carrots from heat ant let them cool for 30 minutes, then store them in a ziplock or Food Saver bag.

You are now ready to enjoy the carrots in soups and stews. I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and that it helps you!

Monday, June 24, 2013

299 Days: The Community - BOOK REVIEW

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing 299 Days: The Community, which is book three in the ten book series, 299 Days by Glen Tate.  After reading books one and two in this series, I could not wait for the third installment and 299 Days: The Community doesn't disappoint.

This book contains the continuing story of Grant Matson, his family and his close group of friends ans associates. We see  "The Community" organize and develop during this, the first part of the collapse as we have  front row seats to the importance of communities in general and to how diverse skills and hobbies can come into play.

Throughout this book, one sees a high level of realism woven into the storyline that brings events to life without specifically dating them. While reading this, one wonders if a similar possible future is in store for this country.
The book, 299 Days: The Community is entertaining yet has applicable truths that we can apply to our
everyday lives.

One of the truths that shines through is that one person can't possibly know it all or do it all, especially all of the time. The value of community; a diverse group of people with valuable life skills, is seen throughout. From metal workers, to doctors and nurses to electricians to farmers, everyone has valuable skills to contribute.

Also, the book with it's well-developed characters, showcases a group of people that show the innate good that is present in some people. There are those people who are good and  trustworthy and who see events coming. It's because they are able to supplement their natural caring tendencies with the planning, skills, knowledge/training and equipment necessary, that they now fall into the role of sheepdogs, essentially guardians of the people.

For those in the "prepper" community or mindset, this book will help you to look at your preps (including knowledge and relationships) and the different areas of prepping more carefully and from a different angles that you have previously. At the same time, people who are not "preppers" and who simply love a good story won't be disappointed either as this story continues, but doesn't get mired down in the weeds and the jargon of preppers.

This is developing into an excellent series! For a self-published, first time author, "Mr. Tate" really delivers. I find it a pleasure to read his writings and look forward to the rest of the series.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Meals in a Jar - BOOK REVIEW

I recently had the opportunity to review the book Meals in a Jar: Quick and Easy, Just-Add-Water, Homemade Recipes by Julie Languille. The book describes "Ready-made meals" as a jar or bag with everything you need to create a complete meal with no additional ingredients. The book strives to focus on meals that combine taste, quality, convenience with preparedness and cost-efficiency.

In reading through this book, one quickly realizes that the meals listed could replace the standard MRE with the simple addition of water. The one caveat that I would mention is that the meals listed take a lot of advance planning and preparation (and in some cases a lot of food) especially since some of the ingredients listed in some of the recipes would need to be ordered online.

One thing that stands out when reading this book is the breadth of meals that are covered. There are over one-hundred meals from breakfast to dessert and everything in between that are not only good for practical preppers, but are also good for people who enjoy outdoor activities such as camping, hunting, fishing or hiking excursions.

In reading through this book, I immediately recall the simpler times when grandmothers would give the gift of meals in a jar as wonderful, tasty treats. Along that vein, the meals described in this book would make great gifts for new moms, holiday gifts as well as housewarmings. In addition to those events, ready made meals are great for when you need a quick prep meal for times when life gets busy with kids' sports, music and academic activities.

Although most of the recipes call for items that you may not have on-hand, they are easily found on the web. Once you have the ingredients and equipment needed, you should be ready to go. I should mention that the author uses plastic bags, called retort pouches which is similar to what the military uses for certain MREs.

All-in-all, this was a good book. If you are looking for a book that helps you create dried and dehydrated ingredient meals to store in mason jars then this book is for you.