Last month, Azure Standard had a box of organic celery on sale for $11.25 ($12.21 w/tax). Each box was guaranteed to contain at least 30 bunches of celery, which is what I received. So, each bunch of Organic celery cost me $0.41/each. So, what did I do with ALL. THAT. CELERY?
Well, I started by chopping it up. I had two bowls full. Each bowl contained 15 bunches of chopped up celery.
1 of 2 bowls full of organic chopped celery (15 bunches).
Then, I loaded them onto my Excalibur Dehyrator trays and dehydrated them! I filled my dehydrator twice and turned two huge bowl fulls into this:
Two half gallon canning jars full of dehydrated celery! I will end up grinding some of this up into a powder to go into my vegetable powder mix that I keep on hand, but I will leave most of it as is for now. It will be used soups & stews in the coming months, especially in the winter. While celery is easily accessible all year long and not overly expensive (usually running around $0.97 to $1.30/bunch), buying organic can cost even more. But, at $0.41/bunch, I now have plenty on hand whenever I need some for a dish.
I know I’ve posted a bit here on my blog, and a few more pics on my Facebook page of what I’ve been canning so far, but I thought I’d also do a summary post so even I could see what all I’ve accomplished so far. So, here they are:
These pics do not include all of my dehydrated potatoes, carrots, peas, corn, vegetable powder, tomato powder, dried basil, peppermint, rosemary, & thyme. Or my frozen corn on the cob & zucchini. I also canned some ground beef & ground venison a couple of weeks ago. I opened the first one the other day for spaghetti & it was good. So nice to have the precooked meat ready & waiting for me to add to our sauce.
There’s still more to go. One of my neighbor’s is allowing me to pick a few pears from their tree (Thank you!!), and I’ve still got potatoes that need to be processed. Plus, I’ll be going Monday to pick okra (more free food for which I’m very thankful!!) and I’ll be going next week to pick one more round of tomatoes before they’re all gone for the season. AND, I’m hoping to go get some apples before too long. Thankfully, apple season is really just getting underway so I’ve got some time before I need to worry about that. I’m also keeping my eyes out for marked down produce whenever I go out to my local grocery store. I also plan to can more dry beans & soups before too long to keep on hand for some quick grab meals, especially lunches for my sweet, hardworking husband, Brian.
If I keep this up, I’m going to have to really add to my canning jars next year! But, I’m so thankful for this knowledge and ability. Being able to provide for my family in this way is wonderful. I thank God daily for my loving of all things related to cooking/baking/preserving.
As you already know, I absolutely LOVE my Excalibur Dehydrator! Well, with all of those wonderful tomatoes that I had, I decided to try some “sun-dried” (aka dehydrated) tomatoes. As a FRESH tomato lover, I have to say, “OH MY GOODNESS are they Delicious!!!” Dehydrating them brings out the natural sweetness in them plus enhances that tomato flavor! In fact, I love it so much, that I now have a whole gallon jar filled to the brim, just waiting for me to savor them this winter.
These will be delicious in dishes, but also just as a snack! It was suggested that you could add extra virgin olive oil and salt/pepper to the slices before dehydrating, but I just dehydrated them as they were. They really don’t need anything! The flavor is wonderfully refreshing. But, I might try a few different ones later on just to see what they taste like. I’m sure they will be delicious, too.
Oh, what a wonderful time we live in where it’s so easy to preserve foods for the long winter months ahead. We will be eating well, that’s for sure! I’m thankful to God daily for all that He is providing for us, and I’m trying my best to not let any go to waste.