Small Harvests

Quite often when you start growing food in your garden you wonder if you will ever get enough from the plant to do something useful with. Berries in particular have this annoying habit of not all ripening at once! My first resort was to eat the berries because yum! but it kind of defeats the purpose of growing your own food so you don’t have get it from the supermarket if you are just continually grazing so what do you do?

I have found this is where my freezer or dehydrator come into play. The freezer is an easy option as you can put the berries (or other produce) into a snap lock bag and add to your stash over time as the fruit ripens. Eventually you will get enough to do something with. You can use frozen fruit in jams, smoothies, icecreams and sorbets.

Depending on what fruit or produce you are talking about, if I happen to have the dehydrator going I will add things to the trays if there is space but you do have to make sure that what you are drying will not taint anything else that is drying – onion flavoured strawberries are not a winner! Similarly, I find the dehydrator is a great way to deal with citrus when a recipe calls for only the juice. I pop the rind in the dehydrator and add to my dried stash that I use for spice mixes and general flavour boosts.

How do you deal with your small harvests?

Can I Dehydrate That?

I have rediscovered my Dehydrator. Way back in 2000 hubby and I purchased an Ezidri Snackmaker at the Home Show. We had great plans of growing things and dehydrating them and then life happened and like so many appliances it was consigned to the cupboard and brought out about once a year for a bit of a play.

Fast forward to 2017 and kids are self sufficient, we are even more interested in growing our own produce and converting it to a useful form for storage and the dehydrator still works! Even better than “still works”, the company still exists and I can still buy replacement parts and extra trays.  You can check out their website here – Ezidri Snackmaker. They have those apple slinky machines too! On the subject of buying quality appliances/cookware and the company lasting longer than the warranty I’d like to also give a shout out to Saladmaster.  I purchased a set of their saucepans in 1989 and late last year they replaced some handles for me under warranty!! But I digress.

These days the dehydrator now lives on an open shelf near the kitchen for easier access and has had more use in the last month than it has had for the past ten years. I joined a couple of Facebook Dehydrating groups and have had heaps of inspiration and tips. The Facebook groups also led me to  this site 21st Century Simple Living which has great recipes, tips, ideas and videos on all things dehydrated and some that aren’t. (It is an American site so you have to convert the temperatures to C.)

Over the past couple of months I have dehydrated Rosellas, Oranges, Lemon and Lime rind, Mushrooms, Zoodles (zucchini noodles), Apples and Bananas. My next dehydrating adventure is going to involve Vanilla Beans so I can make my own Vanilla Powder and some red Capsicum so I can make Red Bell Pepper Flakes for pizzas.

Dehydrated Goods

Do you have a dehydrator? What have you dried in it?