Tag Archives: Cucumber

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.

Dog ate my cucumbers!

Our German Shepherd puppy, Wolfey has been at it again.  Born Christmas Day 2010, he’s just a little over six months old, but over seventy pounds already.  Courtney’s mother and sister visited over the weekend for our son’s birthday which meant we were preoccupied.  The poor dogs stayed at home while we were out on Saturday afternoon and got into trouble.

Wolfey ran out of things to do, so he started munching through the strings used to make a trellis for our cucumbers.  I found a cucumber plant laying lifeless out in the yard with its leaves removed.

Here is my response: a dogproof cucumber trellis.

I wrapped the whole thing in chicken wire.  That ought to do the trick, I thought.

I was wrong.  Yesterday, I caught him reaching his head up and nibbling on a leaf that was cascading over the top.   The next step is to dust everything with cayenne powder.

Thanks, Robert.