Sunday, September 18, 2011

Wow! We got a dehydrator!

Hello everyone,

Hope you are all well, and had some great weather for whatever you did today. We had about 20C and sunny here in London. Just great.

It's just past 10:00 p.m. here. We just switched on the new Excalibur dehydrator to 125Fahrenheit, to begin turning slices of pears into pear chips, and tomato slices and halves into "sun dried." The dehydrator is our new household appliance - I was going to joke and say "toy" but it cost too much for a toy ... and I'm just starting to realize that it will be a useful kitchen tool in many ways I didn't know it would be. Apparently, as well as using it to dry tomatoes and pears, I'll be able to use it as a warming oven to make yogourt and let bread rise. Who knew?

I also did some experimenting with drying herbs, which I usually dry simply on trays or by hanging (depending on which herbs). I thought that a bit of time in the dehydrator would speed up the process a bit and that way I could deal with a particularly large amount of peppermint. I had four trays of peppermint, and put them in for about 1 hr and 15 minutes. That reduced the volume so the leaves fit onto only two trays. And I'd chopped up mustard leaves from a huge plant that was growing. They reduced by over 1/2 in that same time ... and I discovered that, although the leaves were large and almost soft, they must have a structure that lets them lose water quickly. They dried so much that they were beginning to blow around the trays. Quite funny. The sage - with a much denser leaf - dried a bit in that time, reducing a large tray's worth to fitting nicely on a smaller tray (the size I have available). So, all herbs will complete their drying on trays, but I don't have to find spaces for so many.

Tarragon is drying in my office, another jar of dried basil has been added to the cupboard; I think there's enough in the garden to harvest another collander-full. I've got to harvest rosemary ... and think about which plants will come inside for the winter and which will be sacrificed to winter. We had an accident with a jar of dried oregano, but lucky us we have more growing. Shadow cat was caught with her head in the compost bucket yesterday - I'd been harvesting catnip and she wouldn't touch the lovely leaves I'd put on the floor for her, but she went for the remains instead.

My fingers smell wonderful from handling so many things this evening.

Best regards to all,

Why's Woman

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