Monday, July 20, 2009
This time of year I'm already busy in the kitchen. I blanch, bag, freeze. I dehydrate and dry. I can. We love to eat fresh veggies all summer but our plan includes preserving food to last all winter too!
While I love putting away canned and frozen foods I also love my dehydrator. I can dry fresh herbs, vegetables, fruit...and use them in just about anything. We love eating dehydrated cherry tomatoes like chips. Or adding dried raspberries into home made granola. But in February with feet of snow on the ground, it is also extremely satisfying to make a vegetable soup with carrots, squash, beans, peppers, tomatoes and herbs grown right in our own yard.
This week I started hanging my shallots, dill and cilantro/coriander to dry outside. That works great for the big plants. I bring other herbs to dry inside - savory, oregano, parsley, basil, chives, lovage, shisho...all quick and easy to dry in the dehydrator. One of the best things about freezing and drying is that it can be done as we go - no big prep, sterilizing or huge batches. I can just keep doing a bit a day if needed, all summer! And it adds up!
I like taking the herbs when they are dry and putting them in canning jars. Keeping them as whole as possible keeps the flavor better and you can just crush into your recipe when you need them!
I also dry a LOT of vegetables - peppers, tomatoes, summer & winter squash, beets, carrots - easily bagged or stored in canning jars to be used in the winter! Right now I have a few trays of peppers going and the house smells amazing. I do love the dehydrator. It doesn't take much space or energy, is easy to clean, and I can dry a lot of food. All good!