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I have 1 pantry, it is used for daily and small stockpile (very small)

I also have a hall closet, it's about 2x8 (but there is a drop where the door is, so only about 2x6 of reachable space)

My brain has been on overdrive (the empath in me) and the feeling of HAVING to prepare and getting things ready is driving me nuts. I have a decent stockpile and 2 months worth of meats and veggies in the freezer but I am looking for a long-term solution for the foods.

Would it make more sense for me to start canning veggies (etc) or dehydrate them since I have a limited storage area? I know if push came to shove I can use the space under the beds and in the closet, but it comes back to the original question...

Canning, dehydrating or both?

I don't have a dehydrator right now. I had a cheapo one I got off freecycle but it died mid-cycle. Old Man has given me the green light to buy an Excalibur, but with such tight quarters, would it be worth the cost?

I also have some canning supplies, but mostly for pressure canning. I would need to buy a bigger pot for water baths.

I know, whatever the outcome, I would need to spend money... I just want to make sure it's spent WISELY.

:shrug2:
 

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I freeze, can and dehydrate. With limited space, dehydrating is fantastic.

I have a Nesco snack master and an Excalibur, will be getting another.

If you’re going to dehydrate crispy nuts every so often and preserve some summer harvest, but not tons and tons, I think a smaller version will do the trick for you.

However, if you like the idea of drying 15 square feet (over 10 pounds of nuts) of fruit or veggies at a time or dehydrate a lot of sprouted whole grains, or if you’ll use your dehydrator all the time, I do think the Excalibur has an edge.

It is wonderful to be able to dehydrate so much fruit and veggies for later use. I then seal them for long term storage or just put in jars if they are for snacks.

I am going to make a solar dehydrator , and my friend make a real cool one herself out of an old night stand. It rocks. I might be making one of those as I do hundreds of pounds a week in the summer and fall.
 

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Is there much cost difference between the two methods for you? When I picture myself in a survival situation I think I would want as much variety of eating as I could get. So my recommendation would be to do both.
 

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Lady_V, for me a dehydrator was the choice.
1)I don't know how to can
2)I already dried some things
3)I don't have a lot of storage space I'm not using; our planned future storage isn't the best in terms of "climate control" either.
4)If it all goes to hell, I wanted something where I could conceivably carry some of it, on my back if need be, or cache it somewhere....

Given all of that, I decided the next step was a dehydrator!

I have a Waring Pro. What's an Excalibur?

Judi
 

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I think canning, freezing, and dehydrating are all good ideas.

Start with used equipment if you have to. I have found deals at the thrift stores, garage sales, and watch for ads on craigslist.

Currently I seem to use the freezer a lot. I do can as much as possible. Usually storage is my problem. I am due soon to make a few batches of jam. I am on the last jar of grape. I have a lot of grapes in the freezer.

I do have a older dehyrator. But the hubby does not like the noise of them. So it does not get used as much as it should.

I am of the opinion that the more food I can process for us, the better off we are. And if it is in the freezer, it's a good thing. I will get to it sooner or later :)
 
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In our thrift shops I will quite often see a canner........so watch yours.

Also, have seen the smaller dehydrators on CL quite often.

Have seen jars but they go fast and most people are asking for them. Just me, but think I would be a little leery of used jars.....unless I know where they came from and who had them.

Other than the obvious things you know you have to think about.........there are some things that I am just not too crazy about when dehydrated. (squash for one ---that goes in my freezer) Tomatoes are "ok" dehydrated but I like them much better when they are canned...........then they are just ready to eat.

And I won't EVER dehydrate my own onions again (though I liked them)...........thought I would NEVER get the stink out of my house and garage!! I dehydrated them in the garage too..........whew!
 

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And I won't EVER dehydrate my own onions again (though I liked them)...........thought I would NEVER get the stink out of my house and garage!! I dehydrated them in the garage too..........whew!
I dehydrate onions and garlic outside on the front porch. I made that mistake of drying them inside only once.
 
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I found my Excalibur on Craigslist. I bought it used for about 1/2 price. I dehydrate onions on the back porch! In the summer, I dehydrate everything on the back porch because I don't want the dehydrator making the A/C run more.

I also have a Foodsaver vacuum sealer with the jar attachments. I buy canning jars when on I find them on sale in various sizes. I have dry stuff sealed and stored and them.

Sign up on the Foodsaver website and you will get email notifications when they have sales. They also offer free shipping from time to time and/or when you purchase a certain amount. Also with the rolls, the more you buy the bigger the discount. I bought my vacuum sealer and some canisters when on sale and then I bought a bunch of rolls and the jar attachments when another sale came around.

Check out this website - Dehydrate2Store.com | Welcome - Educating and Helping Those Who Want To Learn About Dehydration. Lots of good information there.
 

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Guess what I was getting ready to dehydrate...onions of course. I got about 1/2 bushel when a farm stand closed for the season, and they're red onions, won't keep like sweets or yellow ones will.

I really HATE frozen onions...and canned are worse...We're going to have a LOT of onion soup this winter!

Judi
 

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Thanks for the info on the nutrtion values. Good to know.
 

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if money is super tight I think dehydrating would be cheaper, but the reason I say that is that plastic bags to put in dried food is cheaper than glass jars.

If you already have jars or can get some for free, I would do some canning as well.

I currently can and freeze and dry some (just in open air and the oven). I plan on moving out at the end of the summer and will be doing more home growing thus more preserving myself.

I plan to dry food and can more than freeze, just because its shelf stable and requires no electricity to store.

If you have a pressure canner, you should be able to do anything that a waterbath can do, only faster. Check the booklet that came with your canner for instructions.

I have both the pressure canner and the water bath canner, but the water bath canner is only used to soak in bleach/water really dirty jars or jars that have had the food spoil in them.
 

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I think a combination is wise. Some foods are obviously better done certain ways. For example, jams and jellies would be either canned or frozen. In my case, I have limited freezer space even with a chest freezer, so I prefer to can them. I also worry about a power outage with my freezer, so I generally prefer shelf stable options of canning and freezing. Berries on the other hand I will freeze, because dehydrated they shrink up to nothing. So it sort of depends on the ingredients or recipe you are looking at.
 
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I also agree that a combination is the wisest choice.

I like how quick dehydrating is....and easy. Chop it up and put it in the dehydrator. You can keep your eye on sales and get deals when buying in bulk. For example: Around Christmas we needed some celery and to buy a head in the local store was $1.89. We went to a nearby town and found it to be $1.69...still not good..then we went to the local warehouse and found we could get a case of 30 for 69 cents a head. So thats what we did. Brought it home and dehydrated it all. And what makes it all sweeter is right now the celery is $2.19 and we are not going to have to buy it again for a year or so.

We have used the freezer as a stop rest for meats until we had the time to get it canned. Hehe ....... I say "we" but actually my room mate does the canning of foods.....he is territorial but I am learning anyways. lol

We are in the process now of deciding what to freeze, dry or can. Although I think I prefer frozen things best because they just taste better, I would prefer the bulk to be dehydrated. Its simple for me. It takes up less space, lasts longer and in cases of emergency (sometimes you don't get to stay in your home - sometimes you will have to boot it fast) it is light to carry and a little goes a long way.
 

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I have a water bath canner and just bought a small dehydrator - I'm hoping to get a pressure canner soon.

Dehydrating question:
What food dehydrate best?
(I'm glad y'all warned me about the onions - that was something I was planning to try - I'll move it to the garage for that)
Besides onions, I want to dehydrate celery and lots of herbs.
What other vegetable dry well?
Which fruits do you dry?
 

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Check out this website - Dehydrate2Store.com | Welcome - Educating and Helping Those Who Want To Learn About Dehydration

I have a water bath canner and just bought a small dehydrator - I'm hoping to get a pressure canner soon.

Dehydrating question:
What food dehydrate best?
(I'm glad y'all warned me about the onions - that was something I was planning to try - I'll move it to the garage for that)
Besides onions, I want to dehydrate celery and lots of herbs.
What other vegetable dry well?
Which fruits do you dry?
 

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Two of my favourite "treats" are dried plums and dried apples. I have a bit of a sweet tooth and I found myself tripping to the corner store to get my fix more and more often. Now that we have these beautiful dried plums and apples I don't go nearly as often and I know they are better for me.

I just heard about dehydrate2store.com when I came here and I there are a lot of ideas there that we are anxious to try out. First on my list is the hash browns...

I am told that cranberries, if you can get them cheap, are a good choice..as well as cherries (you'll need a pitter). Really good for baking and those cherries are sweet, sweet treats too!
 
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