Saturday, August 2, 2014

My Food Storage Week In Review: Dehydrating

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The end of summer.  It's always exciting and sad at the same time.  The late nights are coming to a close and early morning school days will begin.  The end of summer also means gardens are producing and we are able to enjoy fresh fruits and veggies.  And hopefully your garden has a surplus that must be canned, dehydrated, or frozen.  My sister has a great garden and was kind enough to share some of her apricots with me.  We ate a few and then I decided to make fruit leather with the rest.

It was really simple.  My son pulled apart the apricots, they were tiny, took out the pit, and we blended it all up in the blender.  I thought I might need to add water, but the pulp was juicy enough to easily pour.  

We poured five trays of apricot fruit leather and stacked them up on the dehydrator.

While the dehydrator was out and running, a tray of grapes were added.  I had a few bags of grapes that were close to expiration and my six year old offered to dehydrate them for me.  I didn't want to pull them all off the stems and poke holes in each one. This is where the eager six year old comes in handy.

She pulled them off the stems, poked a hole in each grape, to allow moisture to escape easier, and placed them on the dehydrator.
And a quick 3 days later she had.....
...Raisins!  They were perfect!  And she was so happy with herself.  Self-reliant it!

The last item to go in the dehydrator was an older package of mushrooms.  I wasn't sure that I should dehydrate them because of their age, but I tried them anyway.  They dried fine, actually really well, but they smelled horrible after.  I threw them away, just in case there was something wrong with them.  I couldn't handle the smell from the jar after they were dried so I definitely didn't want to eat them.  Now I know why the professionals always say to use the best fruits and veggies to dehydrate.  

Here are the mushrooms and fruit leather after drying.

The mushrooms were fail #1 and the fruit leather, although dried really well, was kind of fail #2. They were so tart, I should've added a little bit of honey to the mixture before drying.  I'm going to pulse it into a powder and add it to smoothies and yogurt. 

There were several dehydrating lessons that I learned this time around.  I'll use fresher ingredients next time and I also need to remember that I have a dehydrator and use it more often.  I could be saving a lot more produce, and money, by dehydrating the surplus instead of sending it to it's death in the bottom drawer of the fridge. 

What preps are you working on??

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