Louisa Enright's Blog

Mainely Tipping Points

Posts Tagged ‘blanching beans

Turkey Tracks: Dehydrator Days

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Turkey Tracks:  August 22, 2013

Dehydrator Days

 

The hum of the food dehydrator is a constant sound in my kitchen these days.

The earth and the vegetable gardens are pouring forth the most amazing bounty.

I dried the mushrooms shown in an earlier post.  They filled all the trays of the dehydrator.

Dehydrator 1

But I also am drying cherry tomatoes to use in salads all year around.  These little nuggets are as sweet as candy and are so appreciated in the white cold of winter.  They don’t taste like any bought dried tomato you’ve ever eaten.

Dehydrator 2

My garden is producing a healthy crop of Sun Golds.  Hope’s Edge, my CSA, will provide some cherry tomatoes to dry.  And Susan McBride’s Golden Brook Farm, just up the hill from me, has luscious cherry tomatoes.

I also have discovered that drying zucchini–and even excess cucumbers–is a great way to preserve them.  Grating and freezing zucchini does not work so well.  The flesh gets slimy and bitter after a bit of time.  But the dried disks reconstitute beautifully if thrown into a soup or stew about five minutes before it is done.  Cut the BIG zukes into smaller pieces…

Dehydrator 3

I am also blanching and freezing the beans that are coming in like crazy now.  It’s easy enough to snap them, rinse them, drop them into boiling water for a few minutes (don’t let them get too cooked), put them into a baggie, and freeze them.

Beans

I picked up fresh blueberries from Hope’s Edge last week.   So I made jam from the uneaten and frozen berries from last summer.

Bueberries

Blueberry jam is easier than blackberry jam since you don’t have to pick them or deseed them.  Otherwise, the process is much the same.  I do grate the rind of one lemon into the pot–and add the juice.  Lemon perks up the blueberry flavor.  Blueberry jam needs a bit more sugar than the blackberries as the blueberries don’t have as much pectin.  This jam is a bit looser as a result, but that’s ok.  It’s great over ice cream, in smoothies, over pancakes, and so forth–and the flavor is lovely.  It tends to get stiffer in the cold of the refrigerator.

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One of the deep pleasures of my life is harvesting and preserving the food that the earth offers us.  It is the most satisfying feeling to know that I have these “assets” in my pantry to be enjoyed all winter and into the long Maine spring when we are so hungry for fresh greens.

But, let’s face it.  Feeding people really good food–and eating it myself–is one of the things that I most like to do.