Tag Archives: food preservation

Dirt2Table: Preserving Your Fall Harvest for Food All Winter

dirt2tableThis time of year we find ourselves dealing with more fruits and vegetables than we can eat fresh. So, we have to find ways to preserve our produce for use during the winter months.

There are many ways to preserve our fruits and vegetables, including drying, canning and freezing. There isn’t any one best way, although some produce gives better results with a particular method. We found for instance that our green beans were better frozen than canned. We haven’t tried drying them yet, but plan to do that this year.

Some examples from the Dirt2Table project this year include making jam, fruit leather, dried fruit, salsa, spaghetti sauce  and frozen green beans. Our plans for the rest of the fall include more fruit drying, (apples haven’t been harvested yet), more tomato based canning and further experiments with drying food from the garden.

We recently obtained a second food dehydrator, an Excalibur 3900 nine tray unit. We strongly recommend that you get one of these or something substantially similar if you intend to do any food drying. You can make fruit leather, dried fruit of many kinds, even jerky with a food dehydrator. If you don’t have a dehydrator you can still dry foods like peaches, apples etc. by putting them on a tray and putting them in the oven set at 150 degrees (actually 130 is better, but most ovens don’t have that low of a setting) and if possible direct the flow of air from a small fan across the items being dried.
Have fun with whatever way you choose to preserve your produce this year!

Dirt2Table: Home Made Snacks!

dirt2tableThis month we are offering a couple of ways to make great snacks. One is Fruit Leather (an alternative to Jam for preserving sweet fruit) and the other is Roasted Curried Chickpeas. Kids and adults alike will eat all that is offered of both of these healthy snacks! The trick is making enough to meet the demand.

The first batch of fruit leather we made was from peaches. We had picked one of our peach trees and were struggling to find enough time and jars to process it all into peach jam. With 4 gallons of cut up peaches waiting to be cooked down into jam in small batches, we decided to put one gallon of them into the food processor and puree them. Then we cooked them for about 3 hours, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. After they had reached a consistency that looked thick enough we added one quart of honey from our hive, cooked a few minutes more and then poured into thin layers on parchment paper spread out on our food dehydrator screens. After fruitleatherpeachone week in the dehydrator at the 120 degree setting, the leather was ready to eat! We ate some and cut the rest into strips the height of canning jars and rolled it up with the parchment paper still on it and put it into the jars to enjoy through the winter. With all the honey and sugar from the peaches the fruit leather stays preserved for a long time without growing mold or going bad. If you don’t have a food dehydrator, the drying could be done by placing the thick fruit mixture onto parchment paper on baking sheets and place in a 180 degree oven for about 4 to 6 hours until it becomes leathery.

IMG_9694Since that first batch we have made two more batches. One out of plums and grapes, the other out of pears and apples. All three kinds of fruit leather are delicious. We cut down on the amount of honey, since the peach leather was a little on the sweet side. The second and third batch we only added a pint of honey as sweetener. You could also use sugar if you haven’t started beekeeping yet.

Our second snack this month is Roasted Curried Chickpeas. Here is what you will need:

  • 1 lb of dried     Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 3 – Tbsp     Olive Oil
  • 4 – Tbsp     Tamari or Soy sauce
  • 1 – Tbsp salt
  • 2 – tsp.     Curry powder
  • 1 – tsp.     Cumin powder
  • 1 – tsp.     Chili powder
  • 1/2 – tsp.     Cayenne powder
  • 2 – tsp. Lime     juice
  • large baking     sheet (cookie sheet_
  • Parchment paper
  • Large pot or     kettle for cooking beans
  • large bowl for     mixing ingredients

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