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Thursday, August 15, 2013

What to dry when the tomatoes aren't ready yet

Here we have a side leaf from a collard, or maybe a broccoli or cauliflower (much alike for my purposes), from which the bits we recognize from the grocery store have been harvested. It's a but chewy for use in the kitchen, and bugs have marred its looks. One might pull up the whole plant and add it to either the chicken yard's entertainment division or the compost heap.


Another approach would be to harvest it for the solar dehydrator.


There are many, many kinds of leaves appropriate for this -- even some kinds of tree leaves (but we're not "that desperate" at present). Here we have mustard, cabbage, curly leaf kale, Fordhook Giant chard, collards, cauliflower. Sometimes there is spinach, other kales, bok choi, or what have you. Even onion greens will do, though they seem kinda picky to crumble when dried. Much depends on one's patience at any one time.


You will notice we've thrown in a bit of rosemary, marjoram, sage, thyme, and oregano in this batch -- because we can. I figure the wider the range of nutrients, the more valuable the end product.


Once brittle dry, gather up and crumble with your hands, first stripping leaf matter from stems and veins, which can be thrown on top of the  mulch somewhere.


You may use the results as is; we prefer ours a finer size. Either the Universal grinder is put into service:



Or the blender. A small handful at a time will process nicely.


This jarful will receive some "veggie crumble" from the next batch, so as to be packed tightly with a minimum of air. One could also oven can; but this product is remarkably stable over the next few years. A few grains of rice can be added insurance.


Use? Alone as a dehydrated soup or in breads, soups, stews, quiches, on any meat or veggie dish. The sky's the limit. Well, maybe not with fruit or in ice cream.

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