Electricity use of an Excalibur Dehydrator, Grinding Coffee in a Ninja, and more
Introducing Mailbag Monday!
A weekly Q&A session with Bethany & Marie
Periodically we get questions emailed in, or we notice that someone reached our site with a particularly interesting question as their search terms.
Instead of just responding individually, we want to feature some of these questions each Monday just in case anyone else has similar questions.
And of course – if you have any questions yourself, please feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll get right back to you!
Q: How many ounces are in a Ninja personal blender?
A: 16 oz, assuming you are referring to the Ninja Pulse. The Ninja Pulse has 16oz personal blending cups and also a larger 40oz processing bowl for making bigger batches of things.
Please Note: You may not want to completely fill the 16oz blending cup if you are making a drink because it does need a little space to work. We recommend filling it up to 12oz for your smoothie or whatever you may be making.
Q: How much electricity does an Excalibur dehydrator use?
A: This varies depending on the model but generally they use about $.04-$.05 per hour. We have found that the Excalibur 3900 takes about 5-8 hours to dry a load of fruit or veggies, which works out to be about $.25-$.40 per batch.
Q: Can you grind coffee beans in a Ninja Blender?
A: Yes! The Ninja blenders all do quite well grinding coffee. We have found that the Ninja Pulse personal 16oz cups are able to grind to a finer texture suitable for drip brew, and the larger 40oz processing bowls of the Pulse and 1100 model make coarse ground coffee suitable for french press or cold brewing. See our posts here for more information: Grinding Coffee in the Ninja Pulse – or – Making Cold Brew Coffee with the Ninja 1100.
Q: How can I use my Foodsaver to seal up powdered items?
A: This can be done, but there’s a little bit of a technique. Normally, trying to seal a bag of powdered mix or anything like that will result in your Foodsaver getting clogged. Essentially, you need to prevent the powdered item from escaping while you make the seal, and the best way to do so is to double-bag it. We don’t advise using two Foodsaver bags, but the best solution we found is those thin plastic produce bags from the grocery store.
Put your powdered mix inside the produce bag, then loosely twist the end. Place the produce bag inside the Foodsaver bag with the loosely twisted end facing the opening of the Foodsaver bag. Making sure the sealing end is clear of the end of the produce bag, seal with the bags positioned that way and use a generous seal allowance. Using a damp cloth, wipe out the inside of the seal allowance, let it dry, and then make another seal right next to the first one.
The produce bag’s loosely twisted end should allow the air to flow out of the produce bag but should trap most of the powder particles at the same time. Having said that, we do recommend to double-seal any powdered items, just in case of any slow leaks.
Q: Can you make bread dough in a Ninja blender?
A: Yes, the Ninja does a great job making bread dough. You can make all sorts of dough, from cookies to bread to pizza crust. The included dough hook is very effective and the design of the blender is made so it can knead the dough to the smooth elastic texture that you need for good bread dough.
We are currently working on a cookbook to be released within a few month that features quite a few of the bread recipes we have developed using our Ninja blenders. We anticipate being able to give away several copies as well as offering a generous discount to our mailing list subscribers, so you may want to subscribe using the opt-in form at the bottom of this page.
Q: Is it safe to pressure can peanut butter?
A: No, unfortunately it is not safe to home can peanut butter, even with a high quality pressure canner like the All American 921. Pressure canning relies on having liquid “space” between the pieces of whatever you happen to be canning in order to be able to bring the food up to the proper temperature to kill off the organisms to safely preserve the food.
Thick textured items like peanut butter, refried beans, and other similar foods do not have any such liquid “space” since they are all one thick paste. Because of this, even with a very long time in a pressure canner, there is no guarantee that the interior will get up to the necessary temperature.
Peanut butter is one item that is best bought commercially and stored. Luckily, it has a long shelf life, so it’s an easy item to stock up on when you can find a good deal.
That’s it for this week!
Tomorrow we’ll talk about making homemade DIY frozen fruit smoothie packets, just like those expensive ones you’ll find in the grocery store.
Filed under: Mailbag Monday
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