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What are you preserving today?

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Post by Boobiejmama on 15th October 2013, 1:21 pm

I am just experimenting with water kefir fermented vegetables, has anyone else done this?

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Post by Dandelion on 17th October 2013, 4:37 pm

oooh, what's that?

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by freebird on 1st November 2014, 8:38 pm

Well I haven't been preserving anything today, but unpreserving. One of the things I had dried in the dehydrator was apple rings, and just never seem to get around to using them. So the day before yesterday I put some to soak, then cooked them yesterday for an apple pie. They went to mush (very tasty mush, I might add), so yesterday I soaked some more, and today made apple pie. Didn't cook them first - just chopped and put straight in the pastry case, layered with sweetener and cinnamon. We've just eaten the pie and it was gooood.

It's the first time I've done anything with the fruit I dried, apart from just eat it dried, and was pretty pleased with the result.
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Post by freebird on 20th March 2015, 8:07 pm

More unpreserving this evening. Found I hadn't any tomatoes for tonight's dinner (a sort of stir-fry that gets simmered for 15 mins at the end), then remembered that I dried some year before last and never used them.

Just soaked them a little in hot water while other things being stir-fried, then dropped them in the liquid for the last 15 mins. Terrific flavour - a really intense hit amongst the other veg and spices.
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Post by FloBear on 20th March 2015, 10:23 pm

Sounds deliciously interesting! Not sure that I ever get enough 'spare' produce to dry -though I did have a lot of apples last year. Depends how much a dehydrator costs, I suppose.
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Post by Chilli-head on 23rd March 2015, 2:29 pm

FloBear wrote:Depends how much a dehydrator costs, I suppose.

We have had a few mentions of DIY solar dehydrators  in the past:

http://forum.homemadelife.com/t716-diy-solar-projects
http://forum.homemadelife.com/t564-build-a-solar-food-dehydrator

I have been very tempted to make a simple one - an inclined black surface with a glass lid over it to heat air and make it flow through a drying cabinet.  I have not, because I can think of one major limitation - all the stuff I'd want to dry is not ready for harvest until the summer sun is on the wane.

Same thoughts about solar cooking - great way to do a very slow casserole, but would I want to make one in the middle of summer ?
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Post by Ploshkin on 28th August 2016, 5:58 pm

Well, I've had 2 days of jamming, jellying and drying mainly to use up stuff from the freezers to make room for our own beef which will be ready in 3 weeks. I've made raspberry jam, loganberry jam, blackcurrant jam, redcurrant jelly and raspberry puree.
Also, after a lot of prevaricating I've bought a dehydrator as, with the polytunnel, I seem to have a lot more produce than usual. I'm experimenting and so far I've dried courgettes, cherry tomatoes, parsley and coriander leaves.
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Post by freebird on 28th August 2016, 6:40 pm

I have a dehydrator too, Ploshkin. Although I'm not growing loads this year, it's been busy mainly with courgettes and chillies. Did some overripe bananas last night.

Think I'm going to be drying peppers for the first time this year. I'm normally pleased if I get 3 off a plant, but I've counted 18 in various stages of development just on one plant.
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Post by Ploshkin on 12th October 2016, 3:53 pm

I'm nearly all preserved out. I've done a big batch of mustard pickle with courgettes and Mr Fearns beans that had gone a bit big (I had to buy a cauliflower as you can't have mustard pickle without it), I've done red tomato chutney (that's just showing off as I've never had enough big red tomatoes to pickle before) and I've done plum/ damson and russet mincemeat containing a dollop of my ancient sloe gin. I think I will boil up the chilli jam again as it is a bit syrupy and then that will be me done for the year.
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Post by Dandelion on 12th October 2016, 10:04 pm

That plum damson and russet mincemeat sounds delicious!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Chilli-head on 17th October 2016, 9:54 am

Chillies ! I spent Sunday morning picking chillies, and threading the cayennes into a ristra which is hanging over the kitchen radiator. Also dotted around in warm spots about the house are my Ancho and Mulato chillies. I'll collect them together on a wire rack in front of the stove when I next have it going.

Still left are Red Savinas, which will be best chopped and frozen to scatter into dishes as required, and some jalapenos to smoke. Thet just leaves the surplus of ohnivec, which I'm doing my best to eat my way through.
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Post by Dandelion on 17th June 2017, 9:28 pm

I decided to make gooseberry jelly, mainly because I still have a big bag of gooseberries in the freezer from last year, and also because Mr D likes jam which is tangy. So I picked the berries yesterday and cooked them and left them overnight to drip, all well and good. The actual jelly making was a total disaster - it took much longer than it should have for the jelly to get to setting point: rather than let it get too dark I put it in jars when it had a soft set. The jam funnel slipped on the top of the jars so that I had a torrent of hot jelly on the table and floor (having also boiled some over on the cooker top!) And even when the jars were cool the jelly was still liquid. I have put a cup with the last of the jelly in the fridge, and having got cold it is now more solid, but to say that the whole process was a trial would be an understatement! On the positive side, at least the kitchen floor is now squeaky clean...

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by FloBear on 25th June 2017, 10:24 am

Oh dear, Dandelion, that sounds like a roundabout way to get the kitchen floor clean!
I have just picked a goodly number of blackcurrants and intend to make some jam. I hope it's not too complicated. I've made marmalade a few times with varying degrees of success - this year's offering is edible, if a little 'dark'.
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Post by Ploshkin on 26th June 2017, 9:14 pm

Blackcurrant jam is dead simple, always sets well. Just make sure you cook the fruit sufficiently so that the skins are properly soft because once the sugar goes in they won't soften any more. My last year's batch was a bit hurried and a bit textured as a result.
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Post by freebird on 26th June 2017, 11:06 pm

I agree and think blackcurrant jam is probably the easiest of all the jams. I put it down to the fact that it has quite a lot of added water, so is less likely to stick and burn than, say, strawberry.
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Post by FloBear on 27th June 2017, 8:19 pm

Thanks Ploshkin and freebird, that's very encouraging. I like the term 'textured' Very Happy
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Post by freebird on 29th July 2017, 5:36 pm

Well the dehydrator is out again for another season. Kicking off with courgettes, chillies, tomatoes and apples. It will go on tonight, as we are on a cheaper night tariff - everything should be done by late morning tomorrow.
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Post by Ploshkin on 31st July 2017, 4:27 pm

My tomatoes that I dehydrated last year (my first time) went mouldy. I had them in sealed plastic bags in a sealed container in the fridge.
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Post by freebird on 31st July 2017, 5:21 pm

I don't refrigerate anything I have dried. For me,  that would negate the whole point of drying. Yesterday I sorted out my shelf where I keep dried goods. Some were 5 years old and just fine (though it wasn't my intention to have them so long). The only thing that had gone mouldy was some 5 year old mushrooms.

I wonder whether refrigeration may actually encourage moisture. I aim for dark and cool. I think, however, that in future I will not try to preserve for long-term, but just to tide over to the next harvest.
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Post by Ploshkin on 31st July 2017, 11:17 pm

They weren't really in the fridge for being kept cold. I am very lacking in cool storage space and we have a big commercial fridge out in the shed which is underused (we use it when we butcher a lamb or pig) so I keep stuff in it just for storage like my pots of jam. I do recall reading though that dried stuff can be stored in the fridge. The thing I really liked from last year was some dried strawberries which I used in muffins and they smelt divine whilst drying.
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