Dehydrating dairy products

I have read that you can dehydrate cottage cheese and sour cream, but they say it only keeps for 1 week out of the frig and 6 months in the frig. I want it for long-term storage only. I dry everything very dry and vacuum pack all my dehydrated food, do you think this would help to keep it good for long term?

Connie Mellott
Brunswick Ohio

No. I would not try to dehydrate cottage cheese or sour cream. Sorry. There are a few foods that I buy dehydrated from preparedness companies and these are two of them. — Jackie

Food worries

Sometimes I am afraid to eat my fruit or vegetables raw because I am afraid I didn’t get all the bugs, eggs, dirt, etc. washed off of them. Is there any harm in eating a little of those things? Some of our mulberries have some spots on them that are swollen and are light in color. Do you know what that is? Are they safe to eat? Some of our blackberries have some light tannish/whitish drupelets on them. Do you know what is causing that? Are they safe to eat?

Cleveland, Missouri

I’ve never heard of anyone getting sick from home-raised vegetables and fruits (but I have heard of several cases of people getting sick from eating store-bought foods). We all take good care of our gardens and I’m sure you clean your foods well enough to make them safe to eat. I’m not sure what the spots on your mulberries are, but I doubt that they would cause problems if you ate them. The light tannish drupelets on the blackberries are usually ones that did not pollinate right. I eat them all the time. No problem. If we knew all the insects and insect parts, rodent dung, and hair we consumed eating store-bought food (along with tons of chemicals) it’d make eating home-raised, clean foods oh-so-much better! Don’t worry and enjoy! — Jackie

Mashing blueberries

I’ve been reading your book “Starting Over.” What a great book! My husband commented after reading just a few pages, “Shirley, you could have written this.” I enjoy so many of the same things you do. I would like some input on the Victorio Strainer please. I have trouble getting my blueberries to smash up enough to make juice out of them. Any hints? p.s. Your cookbook is amazing also.

Shirley Owens
Milton, Florida

Thanks, Shirley. I love my Victorio Strainer! If you pre-simmer your blueberries, the skins pop and let out more juice. The Strainer will remove the seeds and skins nicely and you’ll have lots of juice. — Jackie


  1. I don’t have a question but a reply to crushing blue berries.I found out by accident that you can freeze Blueberries,blackberries and the like in a 1 gallon zip lock bag .When you take them out of the freezer you let the berries half thaw.You lay the bag flat on the counter and make sure that all of the air is out of the bag.Then you can take your fingers and crush the berries.You will need to pick the bag up several times to reposition the berries ,you can then either simmer for a short while or put straight into a jelly your columns i look forward to them each month and read your blog daily.

  2. Hi Jackie! I keep trying to send you the pics of us at the fair, but haven’t been able to yet.

    If anyone is worried about getting sick from fresh produce, what we do in my house is soak the produce for 5 minutes in water that has a tablespoon or two of bleach added. Then drain, rinse thouroughly, and let air-dry until you can no longer smell the bleach. There are a few people in my family with hampered immune systems, so we do this as a precaution.

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