After my initial canning obsession, I started to look into drying my produce. Just because I didn’t like the taste of some foods canned and all the space they take up. Mushrooms are the best example. They just came out ruined in my opinion. Another thing I found, is that not all vegetables and fruits hold up that good with canning. Sometimes I like my vegetables still to be crisp, in soup for instance. Don’t get me wrong, I have canned soups on hand; pumpkin, tomato, beef… The thing I started doing different is that when I need to make soup for more then two (just us) I now use my dried vegetables. I cook the broth with the vegetables and then add the canned chicken meat or tomato soup. This does not only insure we don’t always eat the same soups, it’s less expensive and way more time-efficient!
I started with (of course) scanning Pinterest again. Which dryer is mostly used? Which one could I afford and get here in The Netherlands? I knew I wanted a bigger one, nine trays probably. Simply because I’m used to buying and prepping in bulk. This way is the best way I think. It saves me so much time and money in the end. The Exalibur popped up almost every time. The downside is that it’s so expensive… I then saw a relatively new one, with almost the same properties. The Sedona SD-P9000. I ordered it and fell in love! I have a shelf in my pantry for dried produce and can’t wait for there to be room again, so I can start my oven ;-).
Dried fruits are awesome for in my loved yoghurt. Blueberry, strawberry, apple and everything else what’s in season. Add some muesli or oatmeal with yoghurt and I’m a happy person! The possibility to just make my own mixes is what makes me so happy. Eating the same over and over is just not for me. This way I can choose the fruit(s), either muesli or oatmeal and add my yogurt. When I’m craving for something sweet I add a bit of honey or a few chocolate chips.
Dried vegetables are really good in stews and soups. No need to soak them first. Because of the longer cooking times, the vegetables are done at the end. They have more firmness, are a bit more chewy (sounds so wrong, but trust me, way better). And when I do soak them beforehand (overnight in the fridge) I can use them in anything else, a risotto or pasta and so on. I use the water I soaked the dried produce in to cook the pasta or rice. Free added taste!
Remember the notepad I designed if you don’t want to use a planner, but just do meal planning? Or if you are planning for just an event, like a birthday. It’s online now! Take a look;
What are the ways you use to save time and money when it comes to buying and cooking meals? Your favourite recipes? Feel free to share with us! And as always, if you have any questions, or would like to see anything added to my shop, just ask me ;-)