I got a new food dehydrator and went at it the past few days.
I tried drying herbs last year and some of those grape tomatoes. I still have some excellent dried Kale, Parsley, and onion bits from last year.
However, I used up all of the dried green peppers and basil I had.
My first experiments in dehydrating food were pretty straight forward. I didn't want to use the oven as a dryer so I'd bought a cheap dehydrator last fall. I was looking for an alternate way of preserving foods and not taking up freezer space this year as we have big ol' Black Bart just about ready for 'market'.
Here is the new dehydrator just after I filled up two trays with green beans and two trays with green peppers.
Here is the one tray of green beans after dehydrating.
I vacuum sealed the green beans and stored them away. Even I was amazed at how small these whole meals of beans were reduced to. However, I will more than likely use the frozen ones to go with a regular meal and the dried ones in soups and stews this winter.
Rich and I picked some of the 'wild' apples from the meadow. I found a recipe on line for cinnamon and sugar dried apples. I sliced the apples thinly and didn't bother with peeling them. I dipped them in some vinegar water [which works just like lemon juice to preserve the apple's color] sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar, and then placed them in the dehydrator.
OHH how delicious! It is like having apple pie in your hand!
Shown also are the green peppers and onions. I will grind the onions into onion powder for a spice after I am done drying the rest of the onions.
So while I was letting the dehydrator work its magic, I went out to work on my east flower garden.
Last year it looked like this...
It is coming along!
[ I may change the shape to make it easier to mow around in the future. ]
Compared to how it looked when I started. Whew...
I put the finishing touches on it and stood back recalling what the pile of bricks, drywall, and nails looked like. The ugly eyesore on the east side of the house. Then I smiled and did a little happy dance.
I have the rest of this side of the house to finish, but that will wait until next year. I have some plants to transplant from a few friend's gardens that will go well with what I have now.
I do love my marigolds in containers, especially the ones in old maple sap buckets.
They are easy to move around. Just pick up the handle and go!
Instant rearranging is so much fun.
I heard my husband tell his daughter "She is out there playing with her buckets again, moving stuff around!"
Saturday was another busy day. We went to a farm in Genoa to get a truckload of hay and spent quite a while visiting. I went with the farmer's wife to admire her gorgeous vegetable garden. We talked plants, gardens, flowers, freezing veggies, and safflower.
I told her about my experimenting with dehydrating and had brought some samples of my dried apples. They all loved them.
We left with our load of hay, a huge bag of sweet corn and safflower petals to dry.
Safflower is the poor person's saffron. I spread this out on the counter overnight.
Then I went to work on processing the corn. I blanched and vaccum sealed about 8 bags for the freezer.
Farmer's wife wanted some lemon basil.
So...instead of running the dehydrator for just two trays of herbs, I decided to see how corn dehydrated.
Well? I bet you are wondering how this all turned out?
I'd call it a success!
My next step is to put a portion of green beans in with the corn and some peppers along with some spices in a vaccum sealed bag and label it 'soup stuff'. I could just grab a package and toss it in a beef broth.
Next up. Apples. More apples!
The cheapskate in me doesn't want to waste all of those superb wild apples growing in the meadow.