Food preservation can be a scary adventure, but it doesn’t have to be. Dehydrating is a very easy way to preserve food. It is energy efficient and takes very little space to store. And it also lasts a long time in the pantry, if you can keep the family from gobbling it up too fast.
I thought I would share how we use a variety of preserving methods to fill the pantry and the freezer for winter use and gifts. In our family, everyone helps with these processes. The children have sliced peaches and filled jars while standing on a chair at young ages. Now our oldest granddaughter, at 4 years old, is helping her mother cut apricots to dry. What a wonderful legacy of preserving food we can share with our children and these skills don’t have to become “lost arts.”
Now is the perfect time to start gathering preserving supplies. Food dehydrators are available at most large department and box stores. They are very versatile to use and once you start enjoying this quick easy way to preserve food, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Even if you don’t grow a garden, dehydrating food is useful for that farmers market and seasonal produce.
Supplies: Dehydrator, containers for storing dried foods, heavy plastic wrap for roll-ups.
Book: “Dry it ~ You’ll Like it!” by Gen Macmaniman
A fabulous resource is this series of You Tube videos that take you dehydrating step by step. http://www.youtube.com/user/Dehydrate2store.
Herbs: whole or sliced.
Fruits and vegetables: sliced.
Roll-ups: pureed fruit, sweetened with stevia, honey or sugar, if desired.
Jerky: thinly slice meat, marinate and season, dry.
Our dehydrator sure took care of that huge amount of zucchini that comes in all at once. The dried tomatoes are one of my favorites for that special “gourmet touch” to breads, soups and sauces. We love almost all kinds of soups and have at least one kind weekly. The zucchini and tomatoes are so good in vegetable, chicken and minestrone soups.
Last year we dried lots of peaches and apples. We didn’t make applesauce; we just dried a lot of apples for awesome snacks. The peaches are like eating a bit sunshine. I took a bowl of lightly roasted almonds, dried apples and apricots to a “mom’s night” and they were enjoyed. The dried apricots were a special gift from our daughter in Utah who is just starting to preserve foods.
And so the art of preserving foods continues in our family. I invite you the start this tradition in your family and eat better, healthier and more economically.
Kristine Farley is a mother of many, energy wellness coach, herbalist and teaches a variety of classes. She lives in Bonney Lake on a mini-farm. Check her out at www.kristinef.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Herbal Momma’s School of Domestic Arts blog, http://herbalmommasda.blogspot.com.