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Monday, July 22, 2019

Just about anything but ice cream

Drying. This process removes the moisture which is necessary to the functioning of the various spoilage organisms. Vegetables should be dried so that they contain no more than ten percent water; fruits can contain up to 20 percent. -- John Seymour

Any long stretch of days in the 80s (F), as opposed to 90s or 70s, turns my mind toward dehydrating foods. As no one here seems to like my dried apples, squash, or tomatoes as much as storebought, I've backed off a bit and stuck with drying foliage mostly.

For awhile, at the height of my "farming" career, I kept a nine-tray Excelsior going:


But it died, and I went back to my simple home-built glassed-over boxes, with screened holes at the either end.


I was told this arrangement causes some loss of nutritional value, but I found the product satisfactory, and was never one to chase after every molecule.


The results seem to keep a long time, in case the wolf comes to the door. And if you really want lost nutrition, try the middle sections of the supermarket.

Vegetable leaves "process" well with dehydration, and the results are satisfactory in several uses. I keep an eye out for excess abundance, usually the lower, outer leaves of kale, broccoli, cabbage, collards, chard, Brussels sprouts or the like, and add in whatever else seems likely to do well, such as dandelions, nasturtiums, some squash leaves and blossoms, chickory leaves and blossoms, some herbs, and so on.


Make a single layer in each dryer box or on each shelf of your electric dehydrator, and wait. This used to take three days in my boxes, but now is often done by the end of one day; I don't know what that's about.


Strip the dried leaf matter from stems, crush into flakes by hand, reduce to smaller flakes (or powder) in a dry blender or grinder, and store in glass.


Use in tea, soup, stir fries, breads or, I suppose, just about anything but ice cream.




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