Food Storage Friday – Freeze Dried Herbs, How they save you money!

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I was really good about posting Food Storge Friday posts a while ago, and not so good this past year. I am trying to make my life easier, and simpler, and with my menu planning I have been using more and more freeze dried food. Which I will post about later on, I promise… 

Freeze dried does NOT mean more expensive. In fact, I have found that I have saved a lot of money by using freeze dried because there is so much less waste! I have been using TONS of the vegetables and the prep time and cost is less.

You go to the store because you want to make some fresh salsa or guacamole. You pick up a very inexpensive handful of cilantro at $1.00/bunch. Cheap, right?! WRONG! How much of that cilantro are you REALLY using and how much are you throwing away? You probably use 1/4 of it or less, and the rest goes bad (and that’s if you’re making enough to feed a crowd)  That $1 bunch of cilantro actually costs you $4 bunch because you threw 3/4 of it away! Would you really pay $4 a bunch EVER? Well you just did, and I do it all the time with fresh herbs.

Freeze Dried Cilantro. It has the same flavor, texture, and nutrition as your fresh cilantro from the grocery store but it lasts, get this, 25 years sealed in the can and 1 year once it’s opened! How can this be? Well, it’s simple…. by taking the water out of the cilantro you’ve just increased its shelf life and reduced any chance of spoilage.

Check out these cool cans – little metal spice cans to keep freshness in, pop-top lid, with an oxygen absorber inside to added freshness. Just pop the lid and use JUST what you NEED and put the rest on your shelf.

You’ll be amazed at how fragrant, and flavorful these spice are. When was the last time you bought a dried oregano that actually SMELLED like Oregano? Maybe it smelled that way for just a few months and then, what… nothing! You’re literally putting a non-flavorful spice on your food just for the color, because you know as well as I do , that it doesn’t have that fresh flavor anymore. What a waste!

FD Herbs

  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Oregano
  • Cilantro

BLENDS
Italian Blend:oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, sage, and savory
Chef’s Choice: Salt, Spices, Onion Garlic, Chili Pepper, Dextrose, Citric Acid, Sugar, Natural Flavor
Salad Seasoning Blend:parsley, garlic, chives, and onion
Peppercorn Blend: several different types of peppercorn and bell peppers

Go HERE for more information and to check out older Food storage Friday posts, go HERE.

9 Weird things you can freeze ~ Food Storage Friday!

Thanks to Shasta for forwarding me this great article written by Jeff Yeager!
I love to hear what other people are doing. 



It’s official: I’ve become my grandmother. I realized it the other morning when I opened the door to our freezer.

That icy vault was packed to the brim. But — in the finest tradition of my Grandma Yeager — it wasn’t filled so much with leftovers, like you’d find in most household freezers. You see, my Grams had a few deep-frozen secrets. She knew about weird stuff; weird stuff you can deep-six in the freezer and maybe save some money in the process.
* Candles: Keep your wax candles in the freezer and they’ll burn longer. It’s especially good for slim table tapers that normally burn very fast.
* Batteries: A number of studies have shown that storing batteries in the freezer helps them retain their charge longer. This is less true for alkaline batteries (freezing extends their shelf life by only about 5%) than it is for NiMH and Nicad batteries often used in electronics. Keeping NiMH batteries in the freezer can boost battery life by 90%.
* Plant Seeds: Many (but not all) types of plant seeds will keep longer and germinate more successfully when stored in the freezer. Consult a copy of Seed Storage of Horticultural Crops, by S.D. Doijode, for more than you’d ever want to know about this fascinating topic. Many of the planet’s most important seeds are being stored in the chilly “doomsday” seed vault in Norway.

* Plastic Soda Bottles Filled with Water: Grandma knew that keeping her freezer chockfull helped to insulate it and perform better, and kept things cold longer if the electricity failed. I like to fill empty plastic soda bottles nearly full with water, and put them in the freezer to take up any vacant space. Plus they make convenient “drip-less ice cubes” to use instead of real ice cubes in my ice chest.

* Wine cubes: When you have a little leftover wine from dinner, pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze it. “Wine cubes” are perfect to use in making stock and other cooking.

* Wooden Voodoo Mask: A carved wooden mask I picked up at Mardi Gras last year is showing the telltale pinholes of a woodworm infestation. As they know in the furniture refinishing business, placing a wooden item in the deep freezer for a couple of weeks will kill woodworms and their eggs.

* Pantyhose: Like Grandma Yeager, I don’t wear them, but my wife sure does. She swears that if she keeps her pantyhose in the freezer, they’re less likely to run and they last longer. (I just can’t imagine how she gets up enough courage to slide into an icy pair every morning.)
* Some Actual Food: Sure, we do keep some food in our freezer, but even that’s a bit unusual. We store our spices and coffee in the freezer to keep them fresher, and by freezing our popcorn and popping it while it’s still frozen, it pops lighter and with fewer un-popped kernels.
* Laundry: Grams always had a plastic bag filled with damp laundry in her freezer; she claimed that freezing clothing after she washed it made it easier to iron. We don’t do that, primarily because we haven’t ironed clothes at our house since the Johnson administration. Nor, for that matter, do we keep spare cash hidden in the freezer, like Grandma did. I remember once when I was a kid, Grams went to pay me for mowing her lawn. She peeled a stiff $5 bill off of her frozen girdle in the icebox and handed it over to me.
And you wonder why I have issues?
– By Jeff Yeager
** This is Tiffany, I have also heard of people freezing kids stuffed toys to kill germs…. I am just saying….

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Food Storage Friday ~ What I Store In My Garage…

A friend of mine asked me to post what I store in my garage. I am NOT an expert on this at all, it is mostly trial and error. Who knew deoderant would melt?? Well, I do now! It was also nicely pointed out to me by a friend that I was killing my batteries by keeping them in the hot garage. Honestly, I had forgotten my basic 11th grade science class about how batteries work and that I really needed to keep them in the cold if possible.

Also, there is the issue of the cement, the chemiclas from it will leach into your food products so you have to store everything up off the ground. This also goes for anything you are storing water/liquid in. Do not store your food or other products near gasoline, insecticides or other chemicals. The plastic that these chemicals are stored in is porous and can leach into your food. These items should be in a separate cabinet on the other side of the garage.

Most people have the same problems with garage storage. Either your summers are too hot or the winters are too cold. I am not sure there is a perfect climate for all year long non-climate controlled garage storage.

These are the things that I store in my garage:
Razors
Laundry Products
Wipes
Cleaning Supplies
Soap
Liquid Hand Soap
Shampoo and Conditioner
Paper Products
Air Fresheners
Toothbrushes and Toothpaste
Body Wash
Band-Aids

Things that I don’t store in the garage anymore or never have
Lotion ( it all separates in the heat, even shaking it something happens to it!)
Deodorant
Batteries
Diaper’s ( they smell milldewy to me… call me crazy!)
Candles (obvously these melt!)
Make Up (I never kept this in the garage, but the heat will ruin it)
Medicine
Food, canned or boxed

Although I do not keep food in my garage out in the open, I do have a refridgerator and chest freezer in my garage.

What do you keep in your garage?

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Food Storage Friday – Building a storage room.

My friend Clara and her husband built this awesome food storage room into their garage. 
I am so jealous!
I drug my husband over to show him so he would be as excited as I am about starting ours. 
I’ll let you know if it worked!
Regardless, Clara and her husband did an amazing job and even cooler it really only took them about 9 hours the first day framing.
One day of drywall.
Last day finishing. 
Looking through this door, you had been looking into their garage, it was basically an outside door. 
Now they have a darling little entry way. 

This view, I am standing in the doorway of the new door to the garage. 
They did loose about 1/2 of their garage putting the room in. 
But here in TX we really don’t have many other methods of a full store room, unless you move a child out!
Have I mentioned I would kill for a basement?!
They put in a really nice pocket door to save on space. 
This is looking into her store room. 
LOVE the gorilla shelving!
They put down laminate flooring, you can not store any food storage directly on cement. 
Clara did hire out the drywall work which is well worth the money and time. They really know what they are doing and do it right. 
We almost divorced over a dry walling episode in one of our bathrooms :)
Clara’s awesome upright freezer and containers of wheat. 
They did a really nice job and it has honestly inspired my husband to help me get ours done. 
Both Clara and I are doing, and did theirs, in way that if we have to rip it out to sell the house we will be able to do it easily. 
She didn’t put down tile for that reason, a bugger to pull out :)
As we get going on ours I will let you know of the cost involved.
**The chemicals and moisture from the cement can ruin your food. Set the food on top of boards or some kind of barrier to prevent them from touching the cement.

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Food Storage Friday – Where to store it?

Photo Credit: Utahpreppers

I am sure that all of us could complain about having the space for food storage. I am raising my hands right now shouting “me, me, that’s me!” When we first moved into our house 12 years aso, we had 1 child and almost no furniture. The 2,000 square feet seemed enormous and I never dreamed how I would fill up all those empty bedrooms :) Now, we are crammed together and I dream all day of more square footage! Speaking of square footage, did you see the article about this guy who lives in an apt. in NY that is 178 square feet??

Finding the space for food storage can be very difficult, here in the south we do not have basements and the weather prevents you from safely storing any items in the garage. Plus, many storage items have specific ways in wich they have to be stored to maximize their freshness. I gave up many years ago that the idea of a coat closet is for coats, mine is my pantry, or that the space under beds is for boxes of fabulous shoes, ours houses 72 hour kits and more food storage, and that children’s closets were for hanging clothing, although they do have some clothes they also have stacks of #10 cans, boxes of MRE’s and bottled water.

Taken from “Emergency Preparedness” this is a good guideline to remember.

COOL – Store food inside. Temperature affects shelf life the most. Canned goods store 2 to 3 times longer at 70oF than they do at 90oF. Most dry goods store indefinitely below 70oF but for less time at higher temperatures. Temperature affects nutrition, texture, appearance and taste.

DRY – Dry goods should be below 10% moisture and kept dry. The more a container is opened, the more moisture is introduced. The amount of humidity in the air during the time when you dry pack can also affect the storage life. Weevil cannot grow in grain with less than 10% moisture. Beans with less than 10% moisture won’t go hard as quickly. Non-fat dry milk should have no more than 2.8% moisture for the longest life.

DARK – Store in opaque containers or in dark cupboards. Light fades colors, destroys vitamins, and speeds the rancidity of fats.

AIRTIGHT – Containers should have airtight seams and lids. If in doubt, seal with duct tape. Plastic buckets with rubber gaskets are airtight if the gasket has not been damaged. Insects cannot grow and multiply without air.

So where to put it….


“Our garage was converted into a food storage area with shelving ect. (It looks like a Costco). We can’t really hide anything because it would be difficult to rotate it when we use it. However, my neighbor’s living room end tables and coffee table are all food storage in boxes covered with cloth…..works for them and they get to actually park in their garage!”


“I used to “hide” my food storage on the top of shelves….. (where you never put anything cause you can’t reach it), stacked in closets (who needs closets for shoes anyway), or outside in a shed….. but right now all my food storage that I have left after moving is hiding at my daughters house.”


“I am in the process of turning an enclosed front porch room into my food storage – because I only have very limited cupboard space in my kitchen.”


“We have food storage under the stairs in the closet, under the beds, in the bedroom closets. Almost everywhere we can find space.”


“I knew a woman that made furniture out of her food storage. She stacked it in the kitchen and covered it with a table cloth and they ate off of it. She had various end tables, nightstands, beds, etc. all made with food storage.”

I personally use and love the Gorilla brand shelving units. I can usually find these at Sam’s Club for about $60, they are the best I have found. Under the beds we use rolling “sweater” storage drawers to keep cans and our 72 hour kits.

My dream is to build out a room in my garage for my food storage. We got started last summer but didn’t get it finished, I am hoping to have it done by the time the heat gets here in a few months. It has to have an air conditioner and flooring as you can not store items directly on concrete. My good friend Clara just build a beautiful room in her garge that I am hoping to get a picture of to post for you :) As we go along and get ours done I will post pictures and try and give you an idea of cost.

Where do you put your food storage?

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Food Storage Friday – Getting Started.

Food Storage. This can be a yucky word in some households. Images of #10 cans almost 50 years old is what came to mind when I heard “food storage” for quite a few years! But now, I have a different opinion.

Why Food Storage: We are accustomed to being able to run out the the grocery or corner store at every whim. We are reliant on others now days for our food. While we all can’t live on a farm and raise our own food and supplies,  we can store our own for when we need it.

When will we need it: Use it all the time and rotate it. Close friends and our family have used and lived on food storage during natural disasters, job loss, loss of spouse, unexpected medical expenses, divorce, kids in college, major financial crisis, and other unexpected “adventures”. We have personally used our food storage when Paul has been laid off to help drastically reduce our spending. We used it when we have gone through hurricanes and we use it everyday as we rotate it.

What is food storage: In my opinion, it is a supply of food for your family to live off of for greater than 3 months.
~ Stockpiling, again in my opinion, is food in your home that you can live on for less than 3 months. The purpose of stockpiling is to take advantage of the cyclical sales in the grocery stores and to get the lowest possible price on the products you use daily. So, you are have the ability to cut your grocery spending drastically. I love stockpiling it is how I built up my food storage.
~ Hoarding, in my opinion, is buying items that you don’t need and store without using them.

What to do first:


Build a small supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet. One way to do this is to purchase a few extra items each week to build a one-week supply of food. Then you can gradually increase your supply until it is sufficient for three months. These items should be rotated regularly to avoid spoilage. Provident Living.


Start keeping track of the items you buy the most. Prepare a sample menu of meals you make for 2 weeks. When you go and buy the items for those recipes pick up extra of what you need, ESP. IF THEY ARE ON SALE.


Start small, don’t get overwhelmed or you will quit, just like couponing. Also, do NOT go into debt building a food storage. I was able to build me 6 month supply in about 4 months, with my husband out os a job, all with doing a little at a time and couponing. 


Any suggestions about getting started?

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Food Storage Friday – What dairy can you freeze?



I was planning a little different intro but due to the sales this week I am going to change it up a bit. 


** When we start talking about how much to store for your family, I do NOT count the food in my freezer. It is too perishable. 


One of the best ways to save money and have some food storage is with a freezer. Now, in an emergency you have the possibility of loosing your freezer, so it does have its negatives. 
A freezer and the food in a freezer are my back up food storage. The most important food I have is that which will survive the heat and cold without help. 


During hurricane Ike we lost our large chest freezer. We had only a few days to eat the food from it before we had to toss EVERYTHING. I still have not replaced my large chest freezer. We have a full size fridge in my house and one in the garage. Both freezers are always FULL. I am good about rotating and using the food from both freezers, not as good though at rotating the things in my fridges! However, I really do wish I had my large freezer again for those really good meat deals. I also would keep many gallons of milk, ice cream, frozen dough, juice and bread to keep those last minute runs to the grocery store down. 


A full size chest freezer is well worth the money. A quick look at craigslist and I found many under $100. This will pay for itself in no time. The older units pull a lot of electricity, so keep that in mind and look for a newer model. Chest freezers are less expensive than upright freezers, obviously uprights are a little more convenient when looking for what you are storing!


I label EVERYTHING that I put in the freezer with a permanent marker. I bribe a bigger kid to help me pull the bottom items up when I am loading a new shopping trip in ( when I had my chest freezer) now I do take the time to pull forward the older items to attempt to rotate it all. We pick blueberries in the summer and freeze 40 lbs at a time. It is important to remember when freezing fruit to NOT WASH it before you freeze if possible, and if you can flash freeze it first. 


Freezing Dairy?


** The HIGER the fat content the better it freezes, above 40% is best.


~Butter can be frozen for 6 to 9 months in its original coated paper packages. Margarine will last for 12 months.
~Cream cheese, dry cottage cheese and farmer’s cheese can be kept in the freezer for three months. Avoid freezing creamed cottage cheese because it breaks down and gets mushy.
~Hard cheeses such as cheddar, Colby, Gouda, Swiss and Edam should be cut and wrapped in small pieces of less than one pound. If you use grated cheeses frequently, grate them first and then freeze in freezer-weight plastic bags or plastic freezer containers. Before using, thaw grated cheese in the refrigerator.
~Processed cheese like Velveeta can be frozen in a loaf or in slices for up to four months. Blue cheese freezes well for three months, but it will become crumbly after thawing.
~You can freeze light and heavy cream, evaporated milk and half-and-half for up to two months. Heavy cream may not whip up after thawing, however. Don’t freeze these products in their original containers. Store in plastic freezer containers or glass jars. Leave one inch of headspace because the liquids will expand as they freeze and you don’t want a dairy explosion in the freezer.
~Milk will store in the freezer for one month, but make sure you leave expansion room in the container.
~Eggs can’t be frozen in their original state, but you can break the eggs and add one tablespoon of milk or water per egg and a dash of salt. Scramble them before you put them in a freezer container. Thaw in the refrigerator and use for scrambled eggs, pancakes, waffles or French toast.


Do you use a freezer? Has it helped you save money?
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Food Storage Friday ( Just a heads up!)

On Friday’s I want to start writing a new post specifically for food storage. If you have the opportunity to purchase this much extra food you need to know how to store it. Recently, I had a major run-in with those little food destroying moths. They have wrecked havoc on my dry goods! I don’t want the same thing to happen to you! These are some topics I want to cover:

~ What is food storage?
~ Food Storage vs. Stockpiling vs. Hoarding
~ What to store?
~ How to store it?
~ How much do I need for my/your size family?
~ How long does it last.
~ Where to store it.
~ I need a buying plan…
~ How do I rotate my food?

If there is anything that you would like some information on or if you have any thing to add or offer please leave a comment. Do you have a system that works for you that you can share with us? I would love to have some guest posts.
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