Thursday, August 27, 2009
Since I am so cramped for food storage space, I decided to dehydrate some veggies instead of canning them. So far I am drying pole beans and tomatoes, and I have already made peach leather in the dehydrator. Oh, and I'm drying some herbs!
The beans are really easy. I string and snap them, then blanch for about 2 minutes. Cool in an ice water bath, drain, and place in a single layer on my dehydrator trays. A gallon of beans (before breaking) will fit into 2-3 pint jars when dry. The beans took about 5 hours to dry at 130ºF.
What I really like best is the small space the dried vegetables need for storage. The amount of tomatoes that would have taken 10+ pint jars for canning all fit into 2 pint jars!
I drop the tomatoes in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then an ice water bath, to make it easy to slip the skins. I cut the tomatoes crosswise in slices about 3/4" thick, and remove as much of the seed stuff as I can. Dry at about 130ºF for several hours, depending on how thick the tomato pulp is... I turn mine over after about 5 hours, and remove any that are dry enough to still be pliable but not sticky, and then watch the rest closely.