Saturday, July 21, 2018

Dehydrating Days

The dehydrator has been humming away.  We even tried to dry some haskap berries.  (Why do we keep trying different things with these %#$*! berries?!)  I tried to convince Papa Pea that if a berry is sour right off the bush, drying it is not going to improve the flavor.  Yep, you guessed right in that I won that little dispute.  He got by with saying, "It was just an experiment."  I'm a reasonable person (okay, who just snorted?), and I do agree, there's nothing wrong with trying new things.  (And remember the haskap berry pie I made a week or so ago that was soooo good!)


However, a surefire, easy success with the dehydrator is trays full of mint.  I didn't know if the mint I dried last year would be enough for the whole year for Papa Pea's morning cup of mint tea, but it did last with a whole two cups to spare.  Success!  I can actually grow and preserve enough mint for a year!  Now I'm starting on this coming year's supply and have five cups already stashed away in the pantry.

Speaking of the pantry, good thing I started cleaning and sorting it yesterday.  I didn't get as far as I would have liked, but I did discover in sorting one cabinet that we didn't have as much parsley left from last year as I thought.  (Should have known as I used a LOT of dried parsley in my cooking.)  Fortunately, I've got two luxurious parsley plants out in the garden that will more than fill the eight trays of the dehydrator so I plan on doing at least one filling of it tomorrow.  Two if time allows.


  Not dehydrated but I did blanch and freeze five more servings of broccoli (from side shoots) tonight that are quick freezing as we speak.  (Kinda dark in the freezer, isn't it?)

When the garden harvest starts coming in, it somehow makes all the work worthwhile, doesn't it?

13 comments:

Vera said...

Nothing happening in my dehydrator at the moment, except for the setting of our homemade yoghurt. Was going to dry some mint but Lester cut it down with the tractor!

Leigh said...

Definitely a busy time for harvesting gardeners! I have so many cucumbers that my dehydrating experiment this year is cucumber flakes! I'm hoping to figure out some homemade salad dressings. We'll see! Never had much success with berries though. They never rehydrate well, IMO. So jelly and jam it is with them, or frozen pies!

Mama Pea said...

Vera - Well, Lester won't have to live in the dog house for too long as the mint is a tenacious plant and will grow back before you know it! ;o)

Leigh - I think my cucumbers are a little over an inch long . . . although they grow fast and I haven't looked in a couple of days! Cucumber flakes, eh? How will you use them? Did you mean you're hoping to make some dehydrated salad dressings? Oh, that would be so wonderful to have if you succeeded with that.

About the only berry I've had good luck drying is strawberries. I sliced them fairly thin and they dried well but we found the tiny seeds to be very much more pronounced when we munched the dried slices. Tried putting them in snack mix and granola, but was not enamored with them. :o(

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Ha ha, you do seem determined to find a use for those haskap berries! I think it is your desire to make sure nothing gets wasted. (Maybe you should rip them out and allow yourself some freedom!) That's a whole lot of mint you have - Papa Pea should be happy. -Jenn

wisps of words said...

Never had a dehydrator...

Mama Pea said...

Jenn - You can be assured that after giving the haskap wine (yet to be attempted) a try, and we aren't happy with it . . . dum-da-dum-dum, fear for your lives, haskap bushes! Although, that haskap berry pie was mighty tasty and just think of all those antioxidants we got in it. Hmmm, wonder how many haskap berry pies we could consume in a year? What a dilemma!

Papa Pea says our homegrown mint tastes so much better than that I always purchased. And comparing the coloration of the two, the bought mint looks almost brown compared to the vibrant green of our own. Must be better, eh?

wisps of words - There are a lot of things I don't care for dehydrated and then reconstituded . . . like vegetables . . . although even those are tolerable in soups. The big advantage of dehydrating is that if sealed and stored properly, they last almost indefinitely and require no more energy during storage time.

I make "fruit leather" with our berries that visiting kiddies look forward to when they're here. That's made in the dehydrator, too.

Sparkless said...

I don't have a dehydrator so I just hang things up in the kitchen to dry in bundles. I have to remember to take them down or they will get dusty. I still have lavender hanging up from last year but I just left it there to smell and look nice, at least that's what I like to tell myself.

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - I've tried drying certain things by hanging them in the kitchen ('cause I've always liked the way that looked), but we seem to have too much humidity in the kitchen for them to dry properly. Also we have the occasional fly and sometimes quite a few fruit flies (hate those buggers) and I didn't like them landing on the herbs. I fear mine would get dusty, too!

Kristina said...

I plan to fill my dehydrator soon. I am hoping for more rain though.

Katie C. said...

How do you make your fruit leather? How do you store it? Does it keep very long? I’m wondering if I could make some for Christmas gifts while the fruit is inexpensive.

Goatldi said...

Good work!

I imagine that peppermint would dry well also no? I love peppermint tea.

Nice to know about the strawberries becoming seedy when dried. I wonder why they don't seem to have the same result when dried as fruit leather?

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - I hope you get the rain you need. It's hard to keep the garden going when it doesn't get enough natural rainfall.

Katie C. - I did a blog post last year on making my fruit leather. I made it a year ago and the small amount I have left is as good as the day I made it. Just went looking for that blog post . . . and can't find it. I'll make a better search tomorrow and get back to you. Later . . .

Goatldi - The peppermint dries very easily in about three hours. No problem. Very good question as to why the seeds of the strawberries aren't prominent in the fruit leather. I start with putting the berries in the blender until they're thoroughly blended, almost like a juice. Could that bust up some of the seeds? Dunno!

Mama Pea said...

Katie C. - Of course, that post on the recipe for my fruit leather has disappeared! Or at least I can't find it so I'll give you the info here.

I did find some information on making the leather within another post. Go over to my Search box down on my right hand side bar. Enter "fruit leather" and scroll way down to the post titled In the Garden/In the Kitchen dated July 30, 2017. Good pictures (especially on storing) there that should help.

My recipe is to make 2-1/2 C strawberry puree (put whole berries in blender), add 2 T lemon juice and 2-1/2 T honey. Spread mixture on parchment paper on dehydrator trays about 1/8" thick. I dry mine at 130 degrees for somewhere around 7-8 hrs. (Takes a long time. Check frequently. And I suspect each dryer may be a little different.) Just keep checking the leather to see if it peels up easily without cracking or breaking as that would be over-done. It will still feel slightly "sticky" when it's done.

In the post of July 30th it tells how to store it. Yours made now should keep just fine until Christmas. Good luck!