When I last went shopping, I got a huge amount of frozen vegetables. One of the things I ordered for the first time was frozen diced carrots, and when I got there to pick up my order, the woman in charge of the frozen section told me that I was in luck, since the manager told her to mark the frozen carrots down fifty percent that morning. And even though I placed my order the week before, that applied to my carrots, too.
That made the diced frozen carrots 25 cents a pound, which is very, very cheap, especially considering that the peeling and chopping has been done for you. When I saw them marked down, my first instinct was to buy a bunch more than the case of 24 pounds that I already had ordered. But my rational brain took over after taking a second look at the industrial sized cart she had wheeled my order out on, and I wondered what I could possibly do with more, since as it was I didn’t have room in the freezer for everything. I briefly considered canning them, but I prefer not to can vegetables and knew that I would be creating a lot of time pressure for myself if I had to can everything before it defrosted. So I reluctantly stuck with just 24 pounds.
Then later that night, eight hours later to be precise, it occurred to me that I could have bought them and then dehydrated them. I felt like smacking my forehead when this occurred to me, but there was no way I was driving two hours in each direction just to go buy some more! I had never tried it before, which is why it didn’t occur to me in the store.
I was very lucky in that the weather has been so cold that nature has been keeping several cases of veggies frozen for me, so I didn’t have to rush to deal with them. But I can’t rely on it staying this cold forever, so I decided yesterday would be a good day to dehydrate some. My dd8 and I did this together – it was pretty easy since there wasn’t much prep work, just separating the pieces that froze together after she took the bags out to defrost and spreading them evenly on the trays. We took out three bags of 4 lb. each, and that was one load in the dehydrator. It took most of the day (I’m estimating about twelve hours, though I wasn’t watching the clock), since there was so much moisture from the ice that had to melt first – I turned it off before I went to sleep and the last of them were finished by then. It always amazes me how compact everything becomes once it’s dehydrated.
Today, I plan to do another load, since there’s no advantage to keeping them frozen over having them dehydrated. In fact, the opposite is true – they will take up lots less space when dried and free up freezer space for something else. Since I plan to use them in stews, chili, pot pies, etc., they’ll be rehydrated as a natural part of cooking and dehydrated works just as effectively as frozen for my purposes.