Friday, December 28, 2012

Commercially Canned Potatoes Do Serve a Purpose

Sliced Canned Potatoes 

Before I was able to find a great deal on fresh potatoes, and before food prices skyrocketed, I started buying sliced canned potatoes, and a few other veggies whenever I could find a fantastic deal. They had to be 50¢ per can or less for me to purchase them. 

I just kept storing and stockpiling them, thinking that eventually, I would dehydrate them. Well, recently, that day finally came. There were two catalysts, which finally made me break down and dehydrate them. 

First, I actually have buckets and bags full of dehydrated veggies. I had been rearranging and reorganizing my larder.  To my disgust, I could not find my dehydrated potatoes when I was ready to put a few casseroles together. 

Too Many Cans! 

Next, I realized that my storage bin for canned potatoes was overflowing, but I also had piles of dehydrated foods all over the floor, due to lack of space.  Well duhh. Get with it, Sister! 
Temporary Storage

Actually, I use my spare bedroom for canned and commercially prepared foods.  This was intended to be a temporary space until I get them dehydrated, but I’ve been a bit lax.  In the two above pictures you can see my stackable modules with pull-out tubs.  I had originally used these for craft supply storage, but as my priorities changed, the crafts were eased out and dehydrated foods eased in. 

The deeper tubs are used to hold bags of dehydrated foods that are waiting for me to convert into vacuum-packed one-dish meals.  Sometimes I end up with an abundance of one food and not enough of another to make a complete meal.  This system works perfectly for me to keep them handy until I’m ready to make my meal packets. 

My completed, bagged and labeled foods go to the storage shed and are stored in plastic buckets.  We don’t have roaches or many insect pests in Wyoming, so keeping them stored isn’t a big problem.  If you live in a warmer climate, you will need to accommodate for higher humidity and insect pests. 

I keep a running inventory of completed meals on an excel spreadsheet.  

Leaving food like this lying around is especially bad for several reasons.
  • In the event of an evacuation emergency, there is no way I can get all that canned food out of the house.  It needs to be dehydrated to make it lightweight and compact for transport.
  • I can’t put together one-dish dehydrated meals with ingredients that are not dehydrated. It just doesn’t work. Well, actually you can, but the whole point of this blog is to use dehydrated foods.
  • As I continue to prep for emergencies and hard times, I need some place to put my extra food.  Cans take up way too much space.
Linda’s Note: I always advocate running a full dehydrator. Never run your machine half full, it’s a waste of electricity. If you need to top off two or three racks, filling them with commercially canned products are just the ticket.  However, my machine is almost always full, so I’ve allowed canned items I find on sale stack up and accumulate. 

Drain & Spin
So, I realized the day had come for me to tackle all those cans of food. The first thing to do after opening cans is drain the liquid off. I use my salad spinner for this purpose. 

  • I did not see any reason to blanch these potatoes, because they were already cooked.
Linda’s Note: Sadly, canned foods lose most of their nutrients during processing.  Extended periods of high heat can cause the lost of as much as 60% to 80% of the nutrients. Ideally, we should use the freshest foods we can find, but the realities of life is that it isn’t always possible. Some parts of the country (like Wyoming) have a very short growing season and most people must rely on commercially canned foods to make it through the winter. See my post on If For No Other Reason for more information on nutrition loss during food preservation. 

Ready to Dehydrate

  • Spread them out on your dehydrating racks. Be sure there is a little space between each piece of food.
  • Actually, these were a little thicker than I normally like to slice potatoes. They just took a little longer to dry. 


Dry them at 115º for about a day or a day and a half. They’ll be ready to put up by then.


One can of canned sliced potatoes equals about ½ cup of dehydrated potatoes.













  1. Do these canned potatoes rehydrate OK? How do you do it time wise and amount of liquid etc? I a in the process of dehydrating food for our llama trips, and your web site has been great!

    I have seen where people mix in 1/2 cup of bread crumbs when frying ground beef, so that the gravel will rehydrate better. Comments?


    1. I've not had any problems rehydrating the canned potatoes. Actually, I don't use the canned ones as they are, I always use them in casseroles and such, so they end up in the crock pot for hours...

      However, when I rehydrate the dehydrated fresh potatoes, it takes a long time, several hours. Generally I put them on to soak in the morning and prepare them for supper. That seems to work best for me.

      If you're planning on using the potatoes on a llama trip (Boy, that sounds like fun!) I would suggest you bring along a wide mouth thermos bottle. First thing in the morning, pour boiling water over the potatoes in the thermos. Seal the jar and give it a good shake (to make sure they all get wet. By the time you are ready to prepare your evening meal, the potatoes should be ready to use.

      If you want the potatoes in the morning, just put them in the thermos before you go to bed and they'll be ready in the morning.

      As to the ground beef, I've never heard of using bread crumbs in it.

      Are you talking about cooking the bread crumbs in with the meat when you are prepping it to dehydrate or are you talking about adding it to the dehydrated meat to rehydrate?

      Dehydrated ground beef is very hard and dry. I'm not sure what benefit there would be in adding bread crumbs either before or after.

    2. Dehydrate ground beef w/ bread crumbs

      Love your site! :>)

    3. Thanks so much! I appreciate the link, definitely need to look into it. May take a while, I don't have internet at home, plus and going through chemotherapy for breast cancer right now.

      Best wishes, Linda!

  2. 5 pound bags of frozen French fries sell for $3 to $5. They are blanched at the factory so the only prep is to cut them into 1/2 inch lengths & dehydrate them @135F overnight. I use them in soups, stews, casseroles, hash, the list goes on & continues to grow.
    I dehydrate frozen whole kernel corn, green beans, & carrots.
    I have several friends who garden & are generous with their surplus. I dry both summer & winter squash, melons (but not watermelon. they simply disappear.)
    Slice tomatoes 1/4 inch thick, dry overnight. Powder the dried slices in a spice mill and you have instant tomato powder.
    Seed, remove the pith, chop, Jalapenos & dry over night.

    1. Hi Pierre,

      Thanks for responding, You have some great suggestions.

      I dehydrate a lot of frozen veggies when I can find them on sale.

      As to the tomatoes, personally, I prefer to blanch mine and slide the skins off. Then I dehydrate the skins separately and powder them... See my post...

      The only thing I would change in your suggestion is the temp for drying your foods. I know many books recommend 135, but I dry mine at 115 degrees. This reduces the risk of case hardening.

      Thanks for commenting, keep me posted on your dehydrating experiences.