Anyone who visits here regularly knows that I use a grocery delivery service due to physical limitations. Here is how it works:
The company issues a catalog once a year, listing all the groceries I can order.
Every other Monday a volunteer calls me and takes my order that is delivered, for a small fee, to my kitchen table on the following Thursday.
Most times the groceries I order on Monday are the same as the ones I receive on Thursday. This time, however, I ordered 4 bags of frozen cut green beans - and received 4 bags of frozen collard greens. Surprise!
What does a woman born and raised in the tundra of Minnesota know about collard greens. I have never even tasted collard greens. Spinach - yes. Collard greens - no.
I suppose I could have called the delivery guy and he would have come back and picked up the bags of collard greens and given me credit on my bill, but I thought, "What the hey. Live dangerously."
So I put them on dehydrator trays along with 2 bags of frozen spinach and 4 bags of frozen hash browns. All of the veggies are now dry, packaged, labeled and added to the shelf of dehydrated food.
I had also ordered 2 bags of frozen sweet potatoes to dehydrate. I thought they were sweet potatoes cut into chunks or slices. What I got was 2 bags of sweet potato fries. Surprise! Because the fries are cut fairly thin, I am not sure how well they would rehydrate, so into the freezer they went and I will have an occasional meal that includes sweet potato fries.
A week or so ago I experimented with dehydrating raisins. The reasoning behind this was that raisins we buy at the store still have moisture in them and likely would not be a good item for long term storage. But dehydrated, they could last a very long time without going bad. Dried, they resembled small wrinkly pebbles. I put some of the raisins in water and let them sit on the counter overnight. In the morning I had nice, plump raisins that can be used however I wish. I will dehydrate more raisins. Variety is good.
I had another experiment that was a dismal failure. I have several quart bags of shredded zucchini in the freezer. I thawed out two of them, drained off the water and dried them. When I soaked them in water, they rehydrated alright, but somewhere in the process, two quarts became about a pint total of shredded zucchini. I don't know if that was because they were frozen before dehydrating. Freshly shredded zucchini might work better, but for now, I will keep the remaining bags in the freezer, and if I get my hands on more zucchini, I will slice and dry rather than shred.
Life seems to be full of little surprises. I wasn't happy about the collard greens, but if nothing else, they can always be used as a filler in soup. They won't go to waste. Now when we can afford an occasional failure is the time to experiment, rather than further down the road when every ounce of food will be needed. Learning to roll with the surprises and learning to make do with what we have will make the hard times just a bit easier.
Keep on prepping.