Making our own dehydrated soup mixes is a practical way to use our dried meats and dehydrated vegetables. There are several ways to go about this: one is to keep big batches of dried materials individually stored, and dip into this supply to get the ingredients for your favorite soups, and another is to combine all these dried veggies and meats in a separate container and reconstitute them as needed. You can also store all the materials for a dish in one container. There are some limitations to storing multiple dried foods in a single container, however, as you should not necessarily store all dried materials together. Some dehydrated foods have higher water contents and while they store well by themselves, the water content can spread to the other materials – this makes some dried foods partially dehydrated and more prone to mold. Other dried foods have a high fat content that can turn rancid quickly, so they should not be included in your mix. There is one way around this problem: Separate storage for some of the ingredients.
When you’re making dehydrated soup mix, you can’t just take all the ingredients and dry them together. It just won’t work, since different foods dry best with different times and temperatures – some dry in four hours and some need 12! Instead, you’ll have to take your individually dried foods and place them into your soup.
How to Prepare Dehydrated Soup Mixes
Recipes for your homemade soups can be pre-made with dried veggies and dried meats, and stored in your pantry so that you can rehydrate and prepare the soup later. Remember that dried foods are much more compact than the rehydrated ones, so measure carefully!
Any dried vegetable that normally goes into soup is great in reconstituted soup. I especially love dehydrated carrots, zucchini and other squashes, okra, and onions, to name just a few possible ingredients – and don’t forget to add a few dried beans (they may need additional cooking time depending upon what kind of bean it is). I have no experience with drying potatoes, but would love to learn if you know anything about dehydrating and using them. Tomatoes? They dry great and I especially love ground up tomato powder in homemade soups. In fact, I used to keep a jar of it by the stove to add dried powdered tomatoes to many dishes while they cooked.
Don’t forget that you can also add dried noodles to the mix!
If you have any dried meat, biltong or jerky, don’t store it in the same package as your veggies. Keep it separate, and attach it to the prepared vegetable package so it is right there when you’re ready to cook.
Try adding powdered milk for a creamy soup – season it with salt, pepper, herbs and spices, and add it right to your soup mix!
The shelf life of your soup mix will be limited by the shortest usability period of any ingredient. A good idea is to separately package any of these materials so if they go bad, you can still use the rest of the mix.
Storing the Batches of Dehydrated Soup Mix
When you have the ingredients gathered, and are ready to assemble them, consider vacuum sealing the batch ingredients in bags. This way you can combine any separately-bagged items with the original batch and place them all in another bag, preferably vacuum sealed too, assuring that everything is there together. I like to store these bags in the freezer to extend the shelf life of the dried foods even further.