Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Dried Things


I've been experimenting with my dehydrator. This appliance has been lurking in the basement for years unused. I'm not quite sure why I've let it sit around so long unused. I was prompted to find it all on account of too many ripe bananas. I was far too busy to make breads or cakes from those bananas and frankly we're tired of them. For some reason banana chips came to mind. That was when I realized that all I needed to do was haul my Nesco upstairs and load it up. It took little time to get started. Slicing the bananas was easy to do. It's a great task for kiddos because you only need a butter knife. We tossed the bananas in lemon juice then placed them on the racks. I plugged in the machine and let 'er rip. Depending on taste banana chips can take several hours to several days of drying. With all the rain it took a few days for my chips to be complete. If I had thinner slices they would have dried faster. Actually I would recommend thinner slices as they make great topping for cereal and oatmeal.

So far we have been making only fruit treats. I have dried bananas, apples, pears, pineapple, mango and kiwi. Leah is so pleased with the mango. All she wants to take to school for snack time is that mango. I love the pineapple and kiwi. Those have been my favorites. Keith favors the pineapple sneaking handfuls at a time. Olivia is still not quite willing to go dry refusing to enjoy any of these treats. Since I prefer more tart and tangy fruits I think I'm going to keep making the pineapple and kiwi. Besides taste kiwi and pineapple dry pretty quickly. Bananas are great but you only need a few to make a jar full of chips. I want to make some fruit leather. I've never done that before so I think a few experiments are in order. We have plenty of frozen fruit which would work just fine for our first attempts. This summer I might be using this machine more often to help use up our farm box fruit.

Next up will be jerky. I used to make jerky once a month when I first got the dehydrator. It was a big hit. I'm thinking that I'll need to get some more going pretty soon. It would be a great protein snack for the Mister as he will begin his running soon. The key to good jerky is to have decent marinade recipe, which I have, only if I could remember where I put that recipe.

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