Saturday, August 28, 2010

Even MORE Experimenting in the kitchen...


Drying has to be one of the oldest methods of food preservation known to man.
Currently, the ever popular "fruit roll ups" and sun-dried tomatoes have kids and grown-ups alike exposed to it!

I have been given the opportunity to try one of the best known, highest rated dehydrators available on the market today....

The "EXCALIBUR" Dehydrator

Almost any food can be dehydrated, but for the best results, you need to use the freshest food possible.
Makes sense, right?
The exception to this could be the fruit leather I made yesterday.
I had peaches and nectarines that were overly ripe and on the verge of being tossed out to the chickens.
Instead, I washed, pitted, and chopped coarsely the whole mess of 'em.
Tossed them in my handy dandy blender and pureed toll smooth.
Poured it onto my Paraflexx lined trays and set the temp to 135.
5 hours later...
Peach fruit leather!

So far I've dehydrated soaked, raw almonds...
So delish...crunchy, salty...perfect for a mid-day snack.

Granola...SO yummy in a bowl of yogurt!

Sage...fresh from the garden...yay!
Organic, dried sage for all my winter soups, stews and Thanksgiving bread stuffing!

And coming up home grown, organic, heirloom tomatoes!

Oh, wait!
I just saw a recipe for soy sauce dipped zucchini slices!
I have zucchini!
I have soy sauce!
I have a plan!

Ooh, ooh...!
How about venison jerky?

C'mon Farmboy...
Bag us a deer this fall!

I have been having a great time learning all about this "new to me" option in food preserving.
Oh, I'll still be canning, freezing, and doubt.
But food dehydration has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me!
And, best of all...
the next few weeks are peak produce times here in the garden, at our CSA, and the local farmers markets.

The timing is perfect!

And fortunately, I have the best possible dehydrator to work with.

My Excalibur!

What are YOU busy doing this weekend?
Anything new happening in YOUR kitchens?


PS...Just LOOK at all those exclamation marks...
You can always tell when I'm super excited about something by all my hyped up punctuation!

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Hot Belly Mama said...

Uh..... YUM!

I have friends who make apple leather every year. Been thinking of getting on the bandwagon for that. lol.

Here's my new blog address. Been missing your comments! Just not the same without Cindy over on my blog.

Hot Belly Mama said...

Oh, and yes you can add it to your blogroll even though it's private.

Amy @ Homestead Revival said...

I love my excalibur and really should use it for fruit leather. I know the girls would love that. But you really reminded me of what I can do with those three huge zucchini that I overlooked in the garden and grew to a gigantic size. I'll try dehydrating them for zucchini chips!

Maria said...

Hi Cindy!
O my ... you are on a roll!
This time of year must be awesome at your house! I just love reading about your recipes ~ pure and natural...
This weekend, we're harvesting lots of apples. They seem to be ripening about a week earlier than usual. We have a lawn bag half full with just the ones that fell to the ground!
So ... you know what I'll be doing ---apple sauce, apple pie, apple crisp!
{I've been making my apple crisp fast with sliced apples -leaving the peel since it's all organic- and a quick topping of granola}

Here, in upstate, NY ... it's sunny and beautiful!

Wendy (The Local Cook) said...

I'm seriously impressed! And I need to dig out my dehydrator . . . although it's not as cool as yours :-)

Valerie said...

While I don't have an Excalibur, I do have a large food dehydrator and LOVE it!! This year I've dried apricots so far, but will also be working on some fruit leather and want to try drying some tomatoes too. Apples, bananas and cherries are a favorite here too. I did some zucchini last year, just lightly salted. It is the perfect little snack...SO good!

Have fun playing!

Hot Belly Mama said...

Hmmm... okay, good to know that it's not showing up on the blogroll. I am going to temporarily remove the private feature and see if that makes a difference. I don't think there is any risk of blog being found at this point. Let me know if it bumps up at all in the next few hours or days. Thanks!

Camille said...

How FUN Cindy!!! Sounds like you are really making the most of that machine! My kids would love the fruit leather...yummy! LOL...looks like I talk with exclamation marks everywhere too. I think we are cut from the same cloth. :)

Have a wonderful day!

Tonya said...

Love exclamation marks!! Today I ground flour and made homemade mayo for my hubby.
See you soon,

Faith said...

I love my Excalibur as well. One the my favorite things about it is exactly what you mentioned. When produce is too far gone for fresh eating, or you've got too much of it, you can quickly make good use of it by dehydration.

I love to stop by the carts of old produce in the grocery store, very often tomatoes and bananas, and bring that home to dry it. Half price, and perfect sugar content.