Drying tomatoes just makes sense to us. Tomatoes by nature are highly perishable and seasonal. They are used for flavoring and take a lot of room to store whole. You can enjoy the flavor using dried tomato products and make them at home for a fraction of the cost of store bought. If you are a gardener this is ideal for preserving super small batches as all you have to do is slice and place in the dehydrator a few at a time instead of cranking up the canner.
Simple Food Dehydration to Store and Preserve is a great way to cut storage costs, save storage space, extend shelf life, save money and utilize your garden to the max!
We have a large chamber we converted to use for curing tobacco and it now is used for a large dehydrator. It is as big as the now extinct “telephone booth” . It is great for large batches but not so great for those small picking that are common in a garden’s early life and later towards the ends.
We bought a cheapy model from Ebay for $37 and it does great! I will not say how long it will last but so far it is doing what we wanted it to do.
How does dehydration work?
Dehydration removes the water from the object being dried and does so at a temperature that discourages mold from forming during the drying process. Mold and bacteria need water/ moisture to flourish and spoil our foods. Removing the water to a safe level extends the shelf life of the dried foods.
How long will dried foods last?
They will last in most cases well through our desired goal which is from season to season but properly done they can last many years! Google the “prepper” and “homesteading” sites for more detailed information.
How much space do they save in your food pantry?
LOTS! We dried 12 cans of whole kernel corn and 2 cans of carrots and the result fit into 1 quart mason jar! We also dried 10# of roma tomatoes and had a little over 1 pint of tomato paste!
What is the taste of the dried product?
Very similar in taste and texture is sometimes noticed but not a problem. You can add directly to stew and such or re-hydrate to be used similar to fresh
What other way does dehydrating foods help me?
Dehydrated foods do not require electricity to store
They take up less space to inventory
They save you precious time when cooking
You can introduce your family to healthy snacks like banana chips
You can make your own jerky for a fraction of the cost of store bought
You get the pride that goes with doing something yourself
Our first hatch and there growth record. We will weigh them every 7 days and select breeders based on growth and laying rates. All birds in same brooder and fed same food.
EGGS FROM KENTUCKY
WHITE [Texas A&M ]
BROWN [Jumbo Pharaoh ]
Here are the growth charts. All birds in same brooder!
We started weighing on 8-1-17 at 3 days of age and every 7 days after. Weighed all birds and divided by amount living. As of day 10 no fatalities 🙂 This period is using total weight of both sexes as we can not distinguish the 2!
As of 8-17-17 we have not had any mortalities ! They are almost big enough to tell the sexes apart and we will start following the weight gain by sex and breed.
NOTE: As of week 3 it seems that the whites are falling behind on growth!
NOTE: on 8-15-17 we moved the hatch to regular pens with 1"x1/2" wire bottoms. They were a little hesitant to move around for a few hours and we also introduced them to the new watering system. This is a shock to them as they lost their racial diversity and some heat from the heat lamp in the brooder. We hope it does not effect the weight gain.
NOTE: On 8-17-17 we moved the birds outside where nights are about 85 and days are 90. Again, we hope for no slowing of growth but anticipate it.
Here is a short video showing this hatch compared to another hatch a week later!
This little fella or gal showed up in the eggs from Kentucky. It looks like a tibetan or rosette variety. And we are seeing males and females! Breeders all 🙂
After a rough week outside , the birds adapted rather well as their number showed BUT we lost a bird! No… I really mean we lost one! No idea on earth where it went! No sign of trauma or struggle. We are putting a game camera on them to see if it was a snake but rather doubt that as we are not in the country and there are lots of cats around! We had expected a slowing of growth as the birds were usd to 70 deg F temps and their 24 hour a day light but it seemed not to matter 🙂 The browns are outgrowing the whites a little bit. 4.94 ounces to 6.42 is a huge difference!
A lot happened since last update! We had a hurricane hit and we lost power for a week or so and we missed weighing the birds one week. We got all the czges re-modified also. We went from 1″ clearance to 5″+ clearance between bottom of the cage and the poop try!. We also opted to get a 6HP shop vac to deal with the poop collecting! Things were getting a little “SHi**y”
ANyway, with all the commotion from running 2 generators around the birds 24 hours a day plus the activity of us working on the cages , the flock went from 12 eggs a day to 10! No great loss. We made our first sales also! SOld 36 babies and 8 3 week old birds before Facebook stopped our ad on a group sales page 🙁 Facebook can ruin about anything they touch sometimes!
What we did find is that the birds are starting to slow down in weight gain! They are crowing now but no eggs. Here is the latest weighing chart:
Our goal of 400 grams probably wont be met as the growth curve is flattening out a little AND the fact we are not allowing the birds to be empty of feed before we weigh them. They do have a craw like a chicken and it can hold a lot including water! It is hot and they are always drinking it seems. Time will tell.
UPDATE 9-14-17: First egg from the Kentucky Jumbo Whites!
UPDATE 9-15-17: First egg from the Kentucky Texas A&M!