Sunday, March 11, 2012

Buying dehydrated food may be a good deal after all!

I'm amazed at the numbers that came up for the cost of making your own dehydrated food.   Last night I dried spinach, green beans, peas and carrots, peas, corn, and broccoli. Here are the results:


Item
Starting weight
in oz.
Ending weight in oz.
Volume in cups frozen
Volume in cups dried

Original cost and per oz.
Cost per pound of dehydrated
Spinach
16
1.6
6
1 1/2
1.38/8.6
 13.80
Green beans
16
1.7
3
1 1/4
1.08/6.7
10.16
Peas & carrots
16
2.75
3
1
.98/6.1
 5.70
Peas
16
3.4
3
1
.88/5.5
 4.14
Corn
32
10
6
2
1.96/6.1
 3.13
Broccoli
24
2.2
8
2
1.96/8.1
 9.50


If you aren't good at charts I'll explain.  I bought a one pound bag of spinach, green beans, peas & carrots, and peas. I bought a two pound bag of corn and a 1 1/2 pound bag of broccoli. All these items were frozen and I bought the cheapest of each item.  Most were the store's generic variety.  The corn lost the least amount of weight, only about 2/3 of its original weight.  The others lost 75-90% of their frozen weight. 


The amount of space each items takes up was cut down to 1/3 of its original volume except for the spinach.  This went to 1/6 its original space.  If I wanted to compare how many canning jars each would take up the spinach wouldn't have had that much volume.  It probably would have cooked down to two cups rather than the 6 it started with frozen.

What's it mean "cost per pound of dehydrated" in my chart? If you want to buy dried vegetables from the store or on line, this is the price to look for.  Is it cheaper or close to the same price, by the pound, as listed in my chart?  Then buy it in bulk somewhere.  If it's a lot more expensive to buy it in bulk then it's cheaper to make it from frozen. 


As a space saver it's definitely worth drying rather than canning.  If you grow your own vegetables then you are way ahead of the game.  What if you have to buy them or what if your time constraints are such that you want to purchase them in bulk?  That's where this project can make a difference to determine if you want to take the time to dry frozen vegetables or if you just want to purchase #10 cans from one of the many sellers.


Let's just say you can get your frozen vegetables for about the same price I got mine.  No sense in quibbling over a dime.  I got on the Walton Feed website to look at their prices http://durtschi.com/pricelist.pdf.  They have food available already packed in buckets but they also have it bagged and boxed, like the product the grocery store receives before putting it into the bulk bins.  I was shocked at the prices.  In most instances it's cheaper to buy it in bulk and repackage it at home than to dry it using frozen food!  Buying it at Walton's means buying in bulk.  You have to buy between 5 and 25 pounds-however they have it packaged.  I have no idea what the shipping charges are and this may turn it around and make home dried cheaper.  Of course, growing your own and drying it is not in this comparison but it's much cheaper since we don't charge for our labor or water.

Item
Walton Feed
per pound
Home price per pound
Spinach
5.92
 13.80
Green beans
7.30
10.16
Peas & carrots
4.00 –just carrots
 5.70
Peas
4.64
 4.14
Corn
5.35
 3.13
Broccoli
7.86
 9.50


All these numbers are just food for thought.  The spinach, green beans, and broccoli are good prices from Waltons.  For me, it may be worth buying the bulk spinach.  The broccoli and green beans will come from my garden.  The peas and corn look to be a good deal buying frozen and drying.  It's nice to have the dried vegetables available rather than them taking up a lot of freezer space.  Having them dried is also good when you won't be using an entire jar. 

This may be my last post for the next week and a half, until we return from New York.  I may get a chance to post while I'm there, but can't promise.

6 comments:

  1. Hi-first time reader, just popped over from the blog ring on the Survival Mom site.

    Just a thought with this comparison. My understanding is that most of the commercial dried food folks are buying is freeze dried-and that freeze dried food retains the same volume as it initially had, where the home dried food is air dried and reduces in volume. If that is true than 1 oz of freeze dried peas and carrots when rehydrated is going to be a volumetric oz, whereas 1 oz of home dried peas & carrots is going to give you a larger volume-let's say 2 oz of rehydrated food.

    Just something to consider

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  2. My comment is do you know where that food was grown? Do you know what pesticides were used on it?. I know what is used on what I grow. I know there was no fluoride in the water used to grow. I know the person preparing what was grown was not ill when preparing it for dehydration. I know what fertilizer was used. Sometimes, Knowing can be important.

    G.I. JIM

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  3. I hope all goes well in NY (or has went well, depending on when you see this).
    I'm guilty of buying a lot of #10 cans, my life is very hectic and sometimes the price difference is worth it for then convenience. I'm not talking about hitting McDonalds instead of cooking dinner, that I make the time for. I usually only get things that are on special so that really helps the cost when comparing what I could do it for on my own.

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  4. love what you have going...my question is, how did you factor in the cost of operating your dehydrator? I am looking into cost comparison between dehydrating my own home grown foods (veggies and meats, cheese powders and herbs) versus buying some of the harder to grow or prepare) and am trying to weigh all factors.
    Ready in OR.

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  5. My electric bill is so low (under $45 a month) which covers the lights, wash machine, dishwasher, freezer, refridgerator, electric ovens (two), microwave, tv (that we never watch)and well, that I don't even notice an added cost of the dehydrator. I did look on the Excalibur site and it says it costs about 4 or 5 cents an hour. So 24 hours would be between 96 cents and $1.20. If I can dry between 5 and 10 pounds of food at a time it may average out to about 5 cents a pound.

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  6. Your work article, blogs I mean over all contents is must read stuff.
    wise food storage

    ReplyDelete