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Welcome to Home Shalom and Shalom Farm. We pray your visit here be blessed. We are learning to walk in the Ways (Torah) of our Father YHWH and follow Y'shua, His Messiah until He returns to "set things straight". We call it a "Messi-Life". Our walk is neither tidy nor perfect, but it is filled with passion, devotion and desire to serve our King. We are learning to be humble servants, and to be good stewards of the things that He has entrusted to us: His Word, our marriage, our children, our family, our community, our health, and our farm. Hitch your horse and stay a while--our door is always open!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dehydrating

We have canned peaches in the past...but it is so hot this year I just can't get into it. So we are dehydrating them instead. They make an amazing dehydrated snack food. (great for traveling in the car we found out last week) We just completed our 5th case of them this summer.

In the winter time, the peaches rehydrate for cereals, muffins, pies, sauces, even jam. I just watch for good deals...buy lots (of the things I don't grow yet) and eat some, use some and dehydrate some for later. With dehydrating you have the ability to preserve you foods with enzymes still intact by not exceeding 115 degrees...its a slow process one or two days depending on the item being dehydrated and the relative humidity. It has become something I actually enjoy. It has become a very natural thing for me..some thing I can do on any given day in the midst of other chores or even leavin the house. It is simple and safe enough for others to help as well too. (Help is good, right!)

I have 3 dehydrators 9 tray (2 Excaliburs and a knock off I got on ebay). I have used other brands in past, but in my experiance the Excalibur is the best. The others make it more trouble than it is worth for me. If anyone knows of better unit .. please tell me. (I may replace the one "knock off" I still have.) I have a machine with the timer and one without...the timer is a wonderful feature, I do prefer it wiht the timer. It gives you more freedom to go about your day and leave home without worrying about how much time is left on the machine. I am told that they keep the timers exclusively to sell direct from the main compay and other wholesalers have the ones without the timers. (I learned this when I accidently bought my second one without a timer from an outside company thinking I was getting a good price, but not realizing it was a slightly differnt model. Oops.)

I have the dehydrators permanently set up on my back porch (other wise known as my pantry, summer kitchen and my husband's office). It is a very convenient way to preserve food. It takes up very little space and only uses the electric you need to process it (unlike a freezer which draws electric all year).

I am making a conscious effort to switch more and more of my food preservation to dehydrating. It takes a little commitment because you have to change how you think, cook and preserve...but I think the pay off is worth it. I have been pleased with everything I have done thus far. It also fits well into this whole new "slow food" mentality I am learning to cultivate.

Dehydrating is also a nice way to use use extra produce before it goes bad. You can prepare seasonings, and teas from fresh herbs. I dry my own herbs and elderberries. The family LOVES my jerky! It doesn't have the junk the store bought has in it; its organic grass feed beef; it is so easy to make and its fun to experiment with different marinades! I have also started using it incubate my yogurt..which is more convenient than the hot crock or thermos method I used to use and more consistent too. I make raw crackers and other yummy raw food creations.

The process of dehydrating is much more "child friendly" than canning too. There is washing, cutting, loading trays with fruit and in the machine. Our first couple of batches, I blanched the skins off like you do for canning...but didn't have time to do that last time so we just washed them cut them up and threw them in before we had to leave the house for the day. (You can't do that with canning!) We were very pleased with the results. No more blanching/skinning for me...I much prefer the simple alternatives in life whenever possible! There is little to no pretreating needed...I dunk my apple slices in a little lemon water while cutting...but out side of that..I haven't had to treat anything else.

Excaluber has an out standing dehydrating manuel that covers everything and anything on the topic, which I highy recommend. There are probably other good ones out there too...but I have not needed to hunt them since i have this one. There is also a wanderful website done by a lady who does lots of dehydrating videos in her kitchen.



This Post is linked to Simple Lives Thursdays

4 comments:

Andi said...

I have been dehydrating too. Zucchini and summer squash, tomatoes and the like. I have an Excalibur and love it...to me it the the best one out there.

I have been running my for days right now, we use the living foods settings...under 115. I love that it doesn't take up as much space...in the pantry or freezer too!
Shalom sister!

Michelle, a heart at home said...

I'm so jealous! Three dehydrators!!:-)
The peaches look really yummy~my favorite dehydrated fruit is mango. Sooo good!

LeAnn said...

I've just started dehydrating, myself. Still trying to figure out how to get what I want. Peaches is something I never thought of. My mother dehydrated apples, which we ate as a snack. I'm hoping to try that soon, with her favorite fall apple, the gravenstien.

crunchy mom said...

Yum! I found I can get a 10 pound box of peaches into a quart jar when dehydrated - and that is enough to convince me that's the way to go! I love having nutrient dense shelf stable snacks for the kids. Nice!

And thanks for linking up to Simple Lives Thursdays!