Tag Archives: peach

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.

It was a peachy weekend

Its high season now and you’ve got to put away as much food as you can while things are at their peak stage of ripeness.  On Saturday morning, Courtney and I bought two 18 Lb boxes of peaches at the nearest farm stand.  Once we got home we immediately began cutting and and prepping the fruit. Personally, we both agreed that we have had better peaches, but these would be good enough for preserving.

We started with boxes like this and washed each peach in the sink with a rag, to rub off the excess fuzz.

We made 22 half pints of peach jam and the rest will be dried.

To dry, we used the Oster food dehydrator that I received as a gift from my mother in law.  It works great.  (Thank you!)  Twelve peaches will fill up the dehydrator and it yields two and a third quarts of finished product.  It only takes ten hours to dry four trays of peaches.  Once dry, we put the slices in quart size ball jars and tighten the lids.

I tried drying outside in the sun too.  That was a much slower process.  I draped a sheer nylon curtain over the trays to keep bugs out.  Between the breeze, the dogs and a toddler, that method wasn’t going to work.  I brought the trays in and rotated them into the dehydrator for the next batch.   This renewed my interest to build a New Mexico style solar dehydrator.  You can see a diagram in the image gallery of this article at Mother Earth News.

Thanks, Robert.