Food Storage Do-Over Week 11: Fruits and Vegetables

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We are excited to be starting week 11 of our Food Storage Do-Over 2015! If you didn’t catch last week’s post which talked about baking ingredients you can see it here.

Remember this is a 17 week process that we will be going through together. If you want to join in with the group on Facebook click here. If you’d like to receive email notifications of each week’s do-over assignment you can join our mailing list here. Or you can always post in the blog comments with your progress as well! It is so much more fun and motivating doing it as a group so find a way to connect!

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In BabyStep 8: Fruits and Vegetables we discuss supplementing your core long term food storage items with some produce. There are many different ways of storing fruits and vegetables to increase their shelf life which we will be going over this week.

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If you are brand new to food storage, you may have noticed that when looking at food storage calculators, fruits and vegetables are often left off. This is because you can sustain life with the ingredients on those calculators (you can sprout a number of those ingredients to get fresh vegetable sources). HOWEVER, we HIGHLY recommend storing fruits and vegetables for the health benefits, variety, and to help you save money on your day to day grocery shopping.

Determine How Much to Store

  • Look at your family’s typical produce usage to get an idea for how much to store
  • Plan for vegetables you would use in meals
  • Plan for fruits you would use in meals and desserts
  • Decide how many servings of fruits and vegetables you would like for side dishes each day and multiply it by however many month’s supply you are storing for

Determine Which Preservation Technique to Use

  • Freezing: Requires storage space in a spare freezer, very little preparation involved, not great in case of a powerless emergency.
  • Canning: Fairly simple process, requires a little bit of equipment plus the cost of jars and lids, shelf-life 1-2 years, control of preservatives added, store carefully in case of earthquakes.
  • Dehydrating: Initial investment is relatively expensive, fairly simple process, shelf life is quite long especially if items are vacuum-sealed, easy to store in small spaces.
  • Freeze-Drying: Very large upfront cost, best method for longest shelf life of preserved foods, newer technology so not a lot of tutorials about it yet.

Purchase Necessary Items

  • Gardening and growing your own fruits and vegetables can be a great way to acquire them at a lower cost. Initial costs of starting a garden are low. You can also purchase fruits and vegetables in bulk when things are on sale. (use Deals to Meals to find the best prices in your area)
  • Invest in some canning or dehydrating equipment, you can view some of our favorite brands in the products section below.
  • If you are not interested in preserving your own foods we recommend purchasing high quality freeze-dried fruits and vegetables. You’ll want brands that taste good and have a long shelf life. We love the unadvertised fruit and veggie packages from Thrive Life that you can only buy at our special consultant link.

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

If you already have some fruits and vegetables in your food storage and feel somewhat comfortable with them, step outside your comfort zone and try something new:

  • Gardening: If you haven’t already tried growing a garden, make it a goal to start some plants this week. You don’t need a fancy garden area to do this. You can even do it in pots on your porch!
  • Canning: If you’ve never canned before, try canning something basic like strawberry jam. If you are a pro-canner we encourage you to pick something NEW and try canning it this season. You can view some of our canning tutorials at this link.
  • Dehydrating: If you’ve never dehydrated before, give it a try, you can even dehydrate in your oven at a low temperature if you just want to get a feel for it. If you are a dehydrating pro, pick something new to try dehydrating this week.
  • Using your foods: A lot of times we buy or preserve food and don’t get around to using it before it goes bad. Make an effort this week to practice using your foods in your every day recipes and snacks. You will find what you like and don’t like, and make sure you are rotating properly.

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

THRIVE LIFE SPECIAL PACKAGES: Fruit and Vegetable Combo Packs available only through Thrive Life consultants, may be ordered exclusively using our special online link.
TATTLER CANNING LIDS: The tattler lids are reusable canning lids that include a plastic lid and a rubber gasket that provides a similar seal to traditional canning lids. It’s nice to not have to throw away the disposable ones after each use.
PRESTO PRESSURE CANNER:  The Presto 16-quart pressure canner is more than adequate for any home canning needs. It’s a professional-quality tool, made of heavy-duty aluminum, with stay-cool handles and a strong-lock steel lid. Safe for canning on glass-top stoves.
EXCALIBUR FOOD DEHYDRATOR:  The Excalibur is the finest dehydrator made. It is the ONLY machine with the unique Parallexx™ Horizontal Airflow Drying System. With sizes to fit any family’s needs, you can find the perfect, high-quality dehydrator for you.
FOODSAVER VACUUM SEALERS:  If you are dehydrating your own foods, a vacuum sealer can help to extend the shelf life on them. You can also get a jar attachment and seal items in mason jars.

helpful
Here are some resources both from us and all over the web that can help you if you want more depth on any areas or are looking for even more ideas of items to include in your plans. It’s always a good idea to look at multiple approaches and decide what will work best for you! And don’t forget to check out the discussions on our facebook group to catch anything we are missing or see what others are doing!

GARDENING PINTEREST BOARD
Gardening Posts from Food Storage Made Easy

CANNING PINTEREST BOARD
Canning Posts from Food Storage Made Easy

DEHYDRATING PINTEREST BOARD
Dehydrating Posts from Food Storage Made Easy

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