Thursday, May 20, 2010

Food Preservation

A friend came over today and wanted a mini-food preservation class. It's May and we've had lots of snow. It wasn't coming from the garden. So I thought and thought and decided yes, I needed some dried beans canned and I'd do some fruit in the dehydrator. In went a couple apples. Love them since they are Braeburns which means naturally sweet and no added sugar is needed. I also don't dip them in lemon juice or anything. Cut them into quarter inch pieces and on to the trays they go. The don't turn brown in my dehydrator because it has a temperature dial which means they can dry before they get to that point. Sorry, no photo since it is still in the camera and it has been a couple really tough days meaning if this doesn't get up real quick the kids won't let me. That was the case yesterday. One extremely emotional child and the youngest is teething. Joys, NOT!
Knowing the kids loves dried bananas I sliced a bunch of them. Really, they don't look this brown. No matter what I did, the lighting excentuated the darker tones.Since I've a project in mind for the future, I finely grated some carrots and dried them. My thought is that I'm going to use them in wheat bread, muffins, and try making carrot cake with them. When ever I make carrot cake with fresh grated carrots, I never like it. I hate to admit it but I like the store box kind better. My goal is to not use a box cake mix from the store this year. Tomorrow, I'm going to put another batch of carrots in since there isn't much and they would be great in stews too. So many possibilities for them. Since I was grating, I tried to grate a red pepper and a green pepper. The fine grater didn't work. I used the coarse grinder and then the even coarser box grinder. Nope, I ended up chopping them into small pieces with a knife.
The plan is to use them and some finely grated carrots in cheese crackers. The wheat crackers I made this winter were good but it lacked the intense vegetable flavor I sought. Drying should entensify the vegetables and hence the crackers.
With this sinus infection I was craving fresh lemonade and I'd found some for a pretty good price. The girls got the opportunity to see how citrus juice is made and to add a twist I cooked sugar, water, and frozen strawberries. Then I strained the syrup and added it to the lemonade.
Then I finely grated the lemon rinds
and dried them. I've always used the store bought kind and looking at all those lemons I just couldn't bring myself not to use them to their full potential. We'll see how the flavor is. My only question is the pesticides that might be on the lemons but I thought what the hey, I'll see how it works and then if I ever get the opportunity to have some pesticide free ones I know what to do. For all I know the kind I've been buying has it also. I don't use much.

After the carrots and lemon rind were dry, I put in peach/pineapple blended fruit to make fruit leather. It was peaches I had canned in 2007. They weren't as pretty and peachy color having turned a slight shade of peachy brown which is normal but not so appealing in the bottom of your bowl. They say you are to use prime quality fruit to make your leather but this remake means the peaches are greeted with great enthusiasm and used up.
Then since I was out of canned dried beans, ( Is that an oxymoron?) I began canning. This is a mixture of beans but I've got Kidney, Navy, Black, and a few others to do. They are so handy for refried beans, ham and bean soup, chili etc.

Time to go make supper so I'd better close. Hope you had a wonderful day.

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