Wow! What a loaded topic!!
Bear with me here, I am going to be discussing the two most important kitchen items I feel every homesteader needs. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a STRONG advocate for canning, which is really the most important thing to know how to do. My fantastic mother in law is slowly teaching me the basics. I have stewed tomatoes down though. I can do those. However, I am forgoing the canning discussion because that is more of a process involving many different kitchen items. So the importance of canning will be discussed at a later date.
Today we are discussing the 2 items I fought against having because they were expensive and I didn’t feel they were necessary, but without them we would not have the ability to store so many different types of food. C won the argument on why we should get them and since getting each one of them several months ago we have completely gotten our money’s worth.
So here they are
1)The vacuum sealer. I love the vacuum sealer. They are expensive, they are about $100 for the sealer itself and then you have to keep buying the bags, but totally worth it. We were lucky though. C worked with a guy who had no idea the gem he had and sold us his unopened sealer for $40, with bags. It was a complete score. I use this thing like crazy. I can now feel comfortable about freezing just about anything without having to be afraid of freezer burn. I used to be the worst at freezing stuff. i would just throw it in a bag or plastic container and throw it in. Not only does that take up OMG a ton of space, but everything tasted nasty when I took it back out to eat. We now freeze meat, vegetables, meals, etc. I make the best chili rellenos out of my home grown pablanos, but they are only available for a few months over the summer, which is sad. So when they are ready I stuff a whole bunch of them at once and freeze them in batches of 2-4 depending on how big they are. If you plan of freezing things, plan on investing in a good vacuum sealer.
2) I have saved the best for last. The dehydrator. (I think I may hear angels singing). Now I don’t know about you, but when I heard C wanted a dehydrator all I could think of was the crazy roommate from Friends. I am sure about 90% of you know what I’m talking about. I wasn’t really on board. He convinced me last winter to go look at all the different models at the outdoors store. The one he wanted was 1500watts and was also $150. That to me was an insane price, partially because we could hardly afford the food to put in it let alone the thing itself. There were others there that were much much cheaper, but he wanted the best. A few months later we miraculously had an extra $150 which we used to buy the dehydrator. We have used the pooooooooop out of that thing. We make jerky, “sun dried” tomatoes, beans, mushrooms (which we keep in an airtight jar on the kitchen counter), honey coated cranberries, kale chips, banana chips, the list goes on and on and on. there are times that machine is running for almost a week straight. We put it away the other day only to take it back out the next day to do something else.
Here is the MOST important thing about buying a dehydrator…. spring for the best. Spring for the most powerful industrial strength one you can find. Why? Because one of those other ones probably would have died on us already. In fact, neither of us would be surprised if this one died in the next year or so. It would be sad and we would definitely mourn for it, definitely buy a new one, but we wouldn’t be shocked. Not because it’s poor quality but because we…use…the…pooooop..out of it. As I am typing this C is removing the last batch of kale chips from it. yummy yummy lemon garlic kale chips. After he is done removing the kale chips he is putting on a layer or two of banana chips to dehydrate overnight. You cannot beat this thing.
So there you go. I personally do not believe you can have a fully functioning homestead without these two items in your kitchen. Ok, I take that back, YOU probably can, but I cannot. I am just a slight bit too lazy, scatter brained, whatever you want to call it to truly do things the old fashioned way. So go run out and get yourself a dehydrator and a vacuum sealer, just don’t scare your roommates….too much