Friday, January 28, 2011

Dehydrated Vegetables

Dehydrated carrots, celery, and onions
Dehydrated vegetables are delicious when they are re-hydrated correctly and they expand the meals you can make with storable ingredients. I love to use them in the fall and winter because they go so well into soups and stews.  I save hours in the kitchen each week since I don't have to wash and chop all the vegetables.

Potato cheese soup made with dehydrated carrots, celery, and onions.
Nutritionally, dehydrated, canned, and frozen fruits and vegetables contain many vitamins we need.  There has always been an argument about fresh vs. processed foods.  Even health magazines suggest that produce that is processed at its peak of ripeness (in-season) may contain higher amounts of vitamins than produce that is picked green and then shipped to its destination.

With this thought in mind, we eat from our garden all summer and fall and then bottle and freeze any extra for the winter and spring.  I also store dehydrated fruits and vegetables to give us the variety we are used to.  You can purchase dehydrated carrots and onions from the LDS cannery.  Our local Walmart has started carrying a few dried vegetables.  That is where I picked up my celery.  I also know the Food2Store store located at Locust Grove and Fairview (for those in the Boise area) carries a large variety of dehydrated or freeze dried options.  You can also order from many different places online.

Dehydrated vegetables will double in size after hydrating so keep that in mind as you decide just how much to use.  Soak in warm water for 15-20 minutes.  If making a soup, just drop in a handful while everything else is simmering.  If using just a few onions or peppers for added flavor, just put some in a glass bowl and cover with a little water.  Microwave for 30 seconds and then drain off any excess water.

I love to make mixes for soup and rice pilaf with these dried vegetables.  Then I can have a just add water meal straight from my food storage.

Make room in your pantry so the cans are easily accessible and you will find that you use them a lot more often.

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