Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Zucchini Chips

Salt and Vinegar Zucchini Chips

These were the first zucchini chips I tried.  I love salt and vinegar chips so I was excited to make these.
These are just a few of the ones I made.  The recipe calls for white balsamic vinegar, but I only had dark balsamic vinegar.  I didn't care if they turned dark.
You can find the recipe at
I followed this recipe, but after the chips were dry they were very oily.  If you look closely at the paper towel you can see the oil spots.  They soon went soft too.
I will make them again without the oil.  I had a lot of the liquid mixture they were dipped in left over so I kept slicing zucchini and adding them to the remaining liquid.  I used about 1 1/2 times the amount of zucchini called for in the recipe.  Without the oil  less zucchini will be needed.
I also tried sprinkling zucchini slices with salt and pepper.  Some with canned Parmesan cheese.  I also made the salt and vinegar ones again without the oil.

I found that we liked all of them without any oil added.  I dipped them in water and shook off the excess to make the dry ingredients stick.

We liked the salt and pepper ones the best.

Mine were dry and snapped into pieces in about 6 hours.  I sliced them as thin as I could so they would be more like chips.  I put them in 1/2 cup jars and in the cupboard. They started going soft in about 1 week.

I guess you have to eat them quickly or do not cover and store them.

I still like the idea of zucchini so I will try them again.  Maybe this year or maybe next year.  I'll let you know what I learn as I make more.

Homemade Fruit Vinegar

Making vinegar is super easy!

All you need is fruit scraps, water, honey, a large jar, a paper towel and an elastic band.  Last year I made vinegar from pear scraps and apple scraps.  I will do apple vinegar again in about a month.

This is pear scraps in the big Tupperware bowl.  I thought of posting this near the end of today's canning.  It isn't enough for the 1/2 gallon jars I used, but you can make it in any size amounts you want.

This is four cups of water and three tablespoons of honey that is almost solid.  Last year I used three cups of water and two tablespoons of honey.  Most recipes I found used one tablespoon of honey to one cup of water. I seem to recall that the first recipe I found in a book, but I can't remember the book name, called for three cups of water and two tablespoons of honey.  I don't think that the ratio of honey to water really matters much.  Whatever you choose you need a 1/2 gallon jar to make it the way I am making it.
So again if you are confused:  This is 4 cups of water with 3 tablespoons of honey. I stirred the honey to dissolve most of it. No stirring needed if your honey is liquid.

This jar contains the pear scraps that were in the bowl. This is not enough. You need to fill the jar to the neck.

Fold a paper towel in half and put it on top of the jar and secure with an elastic band.  This will go into the refrigerator until I get more scraps tomorrow.

This is what I have from peeling and coring 21 quarts of pears. I do not use the stems.  Now the three jars on the left need to go into a dark space for 3 weeks.  Check weekly for mold or sour/vinegar smell.  If there is mold then it is definitely ready for the next step. I did not get mold on any of the vinegar I made last year.

As you can see the nice dark place I use is under the bathroom sink.  This cupboard is not opened often.

In three weeks or sooner if mold appears it is time for the next step.  Skim off any mold and drain the liquid out of the jars into a temporary container. Now put the liquid back into the jars and cover the same way as before and place back into the dark place and let it finish turning into vinegar for 6 more weeks.
NOTE: I like to strain the liquid again before it goes back into the jars through many layers of cheese cloth to get rid of a lot of the sediment.

I'll post pictures as it is time for the rest of the vinegar making steps.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Dried Spinach, Broccoli and Celery

I went Costco shopping and went out of town before I could use up the produce.  So I decided to dry what I thought would go bad before vacation.

Dried Spinach
 I didn't have much spinach left, but there are 3 or 4 trays like this.

I pressed the spinach into this jar and crushed them a little.  Add to soup or crush into a powder and you can add to anything and no one will ever know.

How to Dry Spinach: Wash and dry leaves, place on dehydrator trays and dry until brittle.  My dehydrator is a Gardenmaster made by American Harvester/Nesco.  Dry at 135 degrees.  They dried in about 1 hour.

Dried Broccoli

Two trays of broccoli.  These were just the tips.  I trimmed the dry ends and cut the large pieces into smaller pieces.

About 2 cups of dried broccoli.

How to Dry Broccoli:  Cut into desired sized pieces.  Steam broccoli until tender.  Place on dehydrator trays and dry at 135 degrees until brittle.  These took about 4 to 5 hours to dry.  Store in airtight container.

Dried Celery

I dried 2 bunches of celery hearts.  I think it was 4 trays.

I saves all the leaves I could.  This is all there was.

They became this small when dried.

This is what the leaves looked like dried.  I plan to make celery salt with the leaves.

All the dried celery became about 3/4 of a cup dried.

How to Dry Celery and Celery Leaves:  Cut celery into desired size.  Blanch celery and leaves for 1 minute.  Immediately place into ice water to stop the cooking process.  Dry at 135 degrees for about 4 hours for the celery and 1 hour for the leaves.  I drained the leaves on paper towels to remove the excess water before putting them on the dehydrator.

Dried Grapes, Plums, Squash and Habaneros

Dried Grapes AKA Raisins

This is about 10 tray of grapes in my Gardenmaster dehydrator.  I was given green and purple grapes.  The grapes that are a little lighter in color are the green grapes.  This is a tub that originally held 4 pounds of squash.

How to Dry Grapes:  Wash and remove the stems.  Place on the dehydrator tray and dry at 135 degrees.  I pour the grapes onto the trays and move them around until they become a single layer. I don't try to leave any space between the grapes.  They took about 30 hours to dry.  When done they are pliable and a little sticky.  Store in an airtight container.

Dried Plums AKA Prunes

I was given a bunch of oval shaped plums. As far as I know the oval plums are prune making plums.  I have always liked prunes, but these are better than any I have ever had before.
This is about 8 trays of plums in my Gardenmaster dehydrator.  They are in a tub that originally held 8 pounds of fruit pieces.

How to Dry Plums:  Cut plums in half and remove seeds.  Place skin side down on dehydrator trays.  I put them as close together as I could with no fruit overlapping each other.  Dry at 135 degrees.  These took about 22 hours.  They should be pliable when done.  Store in an airtight container.

Dried Squash

I dried zucchini and crookneck squash.  I only took a picture of the crookneck.  Same tub as the raisins.

How to Dry Squash:  Wash, remove ends and slice about 1/4 inch thick.  I used a mandolin, but a food process would make quick work of slicing too.  Dry at 135 degrees until brittle. These took about 4 hours.  Store in an airtight container.

Dried Habaneros

The top picture is before they are dried and the bottom picture is after they are dried.  They look the same.  I was given these hot peppers. They didn't fill one tray.  I put on disposable glove to prepare these.  These are in a jar that holds about 1 cup.

How to Dry Habaneros:  Cut open and remove the seeds and membrane if desired.  Dry at 135 degrees until brittle. These took about 2 hours.  Store in an airtight container.

Dried Pears

My niece and I ordered 160 pounds of pears.  I canned about 10 pounds of them.  With some help from a friend the other 150 pounds of pears were dehydrated.  Here is the end result of the dried pears.

All those pears became 16 pounds of dried pears.

How to dehydrate pears:  Peel and core. A melon baller works great for taking out the seeds.  Slice about
1/4 inch thick and put the slices in a bowl of cold water with lemon juice added.  This will keep them from turning brown.  Leave the slices in the lemon water for a minute or more and then place them on the dehydrator and dry until pliable.  I have a Gardenmaster dehydrator by Nesco/American Harvester.  It has a fan and an adjustable thermostat.  I set the temperature at 135 degrees.  I think they took 6 to 7 hours to dry.  They will be crisper when cooled, so if in doubt take a couple of slices out of the dehydrator and let cool or turn the dehydrator off until all are cooled and check to see if they are ready to be removed.  The wet spots will feel cold.  Put those back on the dehydrator and dry some more.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Orange Spaghetti Sauce

Here is a sample size of the heirloom orange tomatoes.

Place them in boiling water for a minute or two, then place them in ice water to stop cooking and the skins will peel off easily.

Here is about 10 quarts of chopped tomatoes ready to cook.  The recipe calls for 12 quarts.

A sample of the orange bell peppers to go with the orange tomatoes.

I didn't have two more quarts of tomatoes like I needed, so I added the two quarts of juice and pulp I extracted from our orange cherry tomatoes.

Since this is supposed to cook until a lot of the juice is evaporated and thickened which couldn't happen with the juice I added; I added about 1 cup (didn't measure, but guessing) of Ultra Gel to thicken it.

We had this spaghetti sauce on Spaghetti Squash.

You can go HERE for the original recipe.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Canning Pictures 9-6-14

Canning Sept 6, 2014

Today was a very productive day.  Canned 28 quarts of peaches, 6 quarts of whole cherry tomatoes, and 7 quarts of tomato soup.  The next day I canned 12 more quarts of tomato soup.  Two quarts didn't seal.  Quite a few quarts lost liquid.  I used the reusable canning lids and apparently I wasn't putting them on tight enough.  We had a canner going on the stove and one on the barbecue grill outside.  We also had three dehydrators of apples going for the entire weekend.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Fruit Leather, Tomato Leather, Dried Cabbage and Herbs

I went to my mom's house for two weeks and we canned apricots and made apricot jam.

Apricot Jam - I can't give you an exact recipe, but we halved and pitted apricots and put them in a pot to cook.  I mashed them with a potato masher (one with holes not metal loops) and kept mashing and cooking until they were broken into pieces and soft.  Then added sugar to taste.  It is not as sweet as store bought jam and not as sweet as the recipe that uses pectin.  I used Ultra Gel to thicken it. Also made some with Splenda.  The jam is a thinner than normal, but we wanted it that way.

Ultra Gel is a perfect thickener for canning.  I buy it by the case and keep it here for others to buy from me.  It is made in Boise, ID and I can get it without paying the shipping cost.  Contact me if you want some.

We make lots of fruit leather.  We used apricots with applesauce and apricots with strawberries.

Mom had strawberries in her freezer that need to be uses, so I tried mixing apricots and strawberries.
We added Agave to sweeten it. Use any liquid sweetener as desired.  Do not use granulated sweetener.  It will become brittle.  Put the fruit and sweetener in a blender and puree. Taste and add fruit and sweetener as desired.

 This one had more strawberries.

 This one had more apricots.

Pour the puree onto a very very lightly greased fruit leather sheet.  I use a nonstick spray.  I give it a couple of quick sprays and use a paper towel to spread the spray around the entire sheet and absorb any extra.  Too much spray will make the fruit leather feel greasy and none will make it stick to the fruit leather sheet.

This is the apricot and applesauce mixture, but I wanted to show how using a cake decorating spatula is perfect for spreading the puree.

These were dried at about 125 degrees for 6 to 8 hours until they were no longer wet, but were pliable and slightly tacky.

After they are dry I fold them in half and cut at the fold line.

Lay each half on a sheet of plastic wrap and roll it up.  If you don't put it on plastic it will end up stuck together into a fruit leather log.

I store them in a plastic zip lock bag.  I also label and date the bag.

This is some tomatoes that we peeled and pureed.  They were not paste tomatoes. It was very juicy. I ended up with 5 or maybe 6 trays of puree.  Dry until crisp.  This was sprayed with nonstick spray the same as the fruit leather.
None of these became completely crisp.  They are still slightly pliable after hours of drying.  They seem to get to a certain dryness and don't change even with many more hours of drying.  I don't know it the nonstick spray made a difference or not.  Mom took them off of the fruit leather trays and put them directly onto the drying racks and no change.  She is going to dry putting them in the oven on the lowest setting to see what happens.
Talked to mom the next day and the tomato leather didn't crisp up even after an hour in the oven.  I will do some more experimenting with tomato leather next year.

 After drying an hour or two this is what it looked like.

Here I cut the tomatoes into several pieces and used my fingers to scrape out seeds and juice.  There is a lot less seeds and the pulp is a lot thicker.  I got 3 1/2 trays of puree this way.

Mom had cabbage that we needed to do something with too.  Sauerkraut takes too long, so we decided to dry some. Cut it by hand and remove the core.  Cut into strips.

We tried the food processor first and this is what we got.  That was okay, because we wanted coleslaw too.  We just had to make it sooner than planned.

Put the strips on the dehydrator.  There were dried at 130 degrees until crisp.  I pulled what I could apart, but the way it curls into itself I couldn't pull it apart much, so I just separated it as I could as it dried.

Here what I ended up with. This will be used in soups this winter.  I must say that I liked eating the dry strips.

I also picked sage leaves to try.  Wash them and remove the stems.  Place on the dehydrator and dry until crisp.  They dried at 130 degrees.  They were curled in on themselves when done.

This is what I got from three trays of leaves.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Recipes Using Dehydrated Produce and Home Canned Food

My favorite way to preserve vegetables is to dehydrate them.
I have been working on converting our favorite recipes to recipes that use home canned and dehydrated foods.  I will be posting them on Currently there are only Survival Bars and Chocolate Waffles, but more will be there soon.

Dried Apricots

Last year my mom dried apricots.  Apricots are sulfured to keep them from turning dark.  Sulfuring them at home was not the same.  They tasted awful.
Drying them with nothing on them is as bad as home dried bananas in my opinion.
Cutting them in half, removing the pit and covering them with apricot flavored jello worked the best.
After about 6 to 8 months the apricots turned dark, but tasted good still.  I will help mom make more this year and take pictures and post them.

No More Dehydrated Hash Brown Potatoes, Making Frozen Fruit Bars.

The dehydrated hash brown potatoes were a hit around here for the adults.  They are a pain to make, but so easy to use.  Well worth the time and energy.

The dried apples are the favorite food for the little children around here.  There are a lot of apples this year, so I will be making more.

I took the strawberries that were frozen last year and the year before and pureed them with coconut water.  Then added a little sweetener and made frozen fruit bars and poured the extra into ice cube trays.  Only one child tried one so far.  She didn't like it.  I have been putting the ones from the ice cube trays into protein drinks and love it.
I didn't measure anything.  I figured the consistency didn't matter since it would be frozen.  All I cared about was that it didn't taste like coconut and was sweet enough that the kids would eat it, but not too sweet to become fruit flavored sugar.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Using Dehydrated Hash Brown Potatoes

I finally tried some of the dehydrated hash brown tonight.

Here is what I did and it worked great on the first try.

1/2 cup hash browns
1/3 cup of water
Pour water over hash browns and let set for 15 minutes.

I did one batch and my husband said that it wasn't enough for just him.  I did the same thing again.  I used cold water on the first batch and warm on the second batch.  I didn't make any difference.  It still took 15 minutes for the water to absorb.  The first batch actually sat for about an hour before he got home.

I mixed the two together and fried them like I do fresh grated potatoes.

I wish I had measured them after they were rehydrated, but I forgot.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

More about dried potatoes with pictures

I made more hash brown potatoes.  This time I used red potatoes.  This time I was busy and left the potatoes in the refrigerator for 3 days before I had a change to grate them  They were fine.  I also used my Kitchen Aid to grate them.  I held the dehydrator trays under the grater and let them fall onto it.  This was faster.  There were slices that didn't grate.  I picked them out and composted them.

 One of the trays filled.

 Fill the trays as full as you can get them.

Another view of the trays filled.  They were dry in about 6 hours.

I started them at night and put them on an automatic timer, so they would shut off in the middle of the night.  This worked great.  I usually turn them off until morning.  I knew they wouldn't be dry if I turned them on when I got up and back off when I left for work and I didn't want to leave them until I got home.  I will use the timer again.