Bargain hunter shares money-saving hack which keeps food ‘fresh’ for SEVEN YEARS | The Sun

THE cost of living is getting daunting, but one savvy bargain hunter has shared her epic trick for saving on each food purchase.

Anya Lykova, 40 from Dudley, West Midlands, who works as a personal shopper revealed how she dehydrates her food.

Anya posted to the Latest Deals, Extreme Couponing & Bargains Group on Facebook: “With the prices of food rising, I have bought a dehydrator. Any vegetables I see reduced, I buy and dehydrate.

“They go in a jar for a week to make sure they have conditioned properly and then I vacuum seal them. 

“[Recently, I] dehydrated a whole bag of carrots – doesn’t look much but once you put a few in your stew/soup/bolognese they rehydrate and it’s perfect.

“You don’t have to worry about having veg in etc. I’ve also made some dried beef and chicken to add to soups. It is also really fun. I hope this helps someone.”

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The comments quickly began piling up, with one bargain hunter asking: “Doesn’t it take hours and use a lot of electricity?” to which another savvy shopper replied: “Nope. They cost about £1 for 24 hours, most things take between 2 and 8 hours to dry. Meat is the longest, but works out much cheaper than buying treats for the dogs.”

When another bargain hunter asked if it was practical considering electricity being at an all-time high, Anya replied: “It’s far more economical than your oven! My electricity bill has been reduced by £10 a month.”

Anya went on to tell money-saving community “I knew about dehydrating since I was young as my mother used to do it. 

“A few months ago I saw a post on a food group asking how you add dehydrated mushrooms to a dish. No one seemed to know the answer, so I Googled it as I was intrigued. 

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“I came across The Purposeful Pantry. It's a great website and they have a Facebook group run by a lady called Darcy. 

“It was fantastic and really interesting. I joined the group and have been getting tips and tricks from there. 

“That’s when I decided to get a dehydrator again. I ended up with the Biochef Arizona.

"It’s a 6-tier one and perfect for beginners. I paid £149 but you can get cheaper ones.

“I would advise starting small as they are economical but still use electricity so a bigger one will use more.

“So far I have dehydrated cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, onion, garlic, mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, and broccoli.

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"I’d say most vegetables really. Also apples, pears, kiwi, and watermelon. Things like onion, garlic and greens I dehydrate, condition and then make into a powder for seasoning. 

“I have also done beef, chicken and pork. My partner is a big gym goer so having protein snacks to hand is perfect.

"Most of it is for snacks and some get chucked into soups. 

“It’s not the same as having fresh chicken breast in the meal but it has the flavour and the protein. It’s just a little bit tougher. 

‘I make soups, stews, any sauce like bolognese or chilli, I throw in dried vegetables if I have mine to hand. 

“Also puddings. Apple pie with dehydrated apples is fantastic! Also, just on their own, the vegetables are lovely as a snack.

"I made crisps from courgettes with a bit of ranch dressing seasoning and it was lovely. 

I dehydrated a whole bag of carrots – doesn’t look much but once you put a few in your stew/soup/bolognese they rehydrate and it’s perfect.

“I must admit my favourite to dehydrate (slightly addicted) is marshmallows.

"They are crunchy on the outside and then chewy on the inside. Honestly recommend it to anyone with a sweet tooth! 

“In terms of savings, everything I buy is either 50% or 75% off. Anything I see reduced that I think I will use I will buy and just dehydrate.

"In general, most of our meals work out at about 50p a person. We also save on not having to buy snacks or protein bars as you can also use dehydrators to make those. 

“I have shopped yellow stickers for a while but since joining Latest Free Stuff I have done it a lot more.

I have also done beef, chicken and pork. My partner is a big gym goer so having protein snacks to hand is perfect.

“In fact, 90% of our shopping is yellow stickers. Our meals are planned based on what we pick up on a Sunday afternoon (it’s a good yellow sticker day at my local Tesco). 

“Then if we pop in and see something on a good reduction deal we get it. I then pack and tag and in the freezer it goes. 

“In terms of keeping the vegetables and meat, you can keep whatever you dehydrate in an airtight container for 3-6 months. There is a process as you need to follow to make sure it’s worked and dried enough. 

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“So you condition it for a week. Basically you put it in an air-tight container and shake it every day. If by day seven there is no white showing then you can air vacuum it. 

“If you air vacuum the food then it will last for over 2 years. Some foods last as long as 7 years! 

“I just find it really handy to have a backup of staple vegetables like carrots and mushrooms. I’d recommend it to anyone looking to save on rising food and electricity prices.”

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