Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Preserving the Orchard

I must admit, i'm a bit new to dehydrating. I've always loved dried fruits, but only recently considered dehydrating vegetables. After all, who wants to chew on some dried green beans?

It wasn't until i looked through a book all about dehydrating that i really thought about the possibilities dehydration opens up: you don't have to use up valuable fridge or freezer space, and you can rehydrate the veggies later. My favorite idea was to dehydrate mixed vegetables and layer in attractive mason jars to be popped directly into a soup pot. (Could make a really great handmade holiday gift!) I like the idea of storing veggies in the cupboard and throwing them into Winter soups....

This post isn't about veggies, though. It's about apples. We've finally ALMOST gotten through all of the apples we harvested last month. There are still a few in a paper back in the fridge waiting to become apple/nut bread. The rest have been turned into cider, snacked on, or dehydrated.

I have a dehydrator, but it's not overly fancy. My work, however has a very nice Excaliber that i borrowed for the weekend. I really love how the mesh inserts come off of the trays for easier cleaning and easier pouring into bags or jars. I sliced and cored my first batch, went insane with the tedium, and just sliced the 2nd batch. I dehydrated on 135 degrees for about 24 hours and got mostly dry apples - some crispy, some chewy.

We're really trying to save some, since our main goal was to preserve the harvest..... but i think we might eat them all in about a week. So yummy!

What's your favorite fruit or vegetable to dehydrate? Do you snack on them or use them in recipes?

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