Drying Foods

We usually have more zucchini at our disposal than we can handle and that was the case this past summer, too.   I started cutting them up and putting them in the dehydrator .  We’re now reaping the benefits of this foresight.

They actually taste great once dried.  Courtney has also been tossing them into soups, etc and they plump right back up again and are quite tasty.  They’re even great just for snacking.

Jalapenos and cucumbers were also in abundance, so I cut them up and put them in the dehydrator.  We store them in ball jars in our cool, dark basement using our Tattler reusable canning lids.  We don’t do anything like a water bath to create a strong vacuum seal, just tighten down the rings.  I have read that you can heat the jars in the oven before adding the product.  When the jar and contents cool down it will create that vacuum and hold the lid without the ring.  We may want to keep this in mind for next year because we have now discovered we have a shortage of rings for apple butter season.

At one point this past summer, I just went crazy.  I bought a 25 pound box of roma tomatoes and dried them all.  It took almost a week to run them all through the dehydrator, but they yielded six quarts of dried product.  Eliot Coleman, in his book Four Season Harvest, was a big proponent of drying because it saves so much on time and energy.  He makes sauces throughout the winter with them and so we’re going to give it a try too.

Drying is one of the oldest ways of preserving food.  The removal of moisture inhibits growth of anything that might deteriorate the food.  I dried our stuff much further than anything you buy in the store.  Think about raisins: they are sticky and still have moisture in them.  The dried foods I’ve made this summer are all like baked chips.

Thanks, Robert.

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4 responses to “Drying Foods

  1. What kind of dehydrator do you use? I love dried fruit, but I do not feel comfortable buying the imported stuff from the grocery stores.

  2. I am curious – what do you do with your dried cucumbers?

    • Robert @ hisandhershomesteading

      Hi Martha,

      You can use them in place of potato chips with some sort of a sour cream based dip, or toss them into soups. Courtney has made a few versions of lentil soup in the past few weeks that incorporated a number of our different dried veggies with great success.

      Thanks, Robert

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