Looking forward to the Farmer’s Market this year . . .
Putting that dehydrator to good use
Farmer’s Market season is well over now, and oh how I am missing those beautiful summer days as I watch the snow gently fall. Unless you have a great green house you are still regulated to paying winter retail prices for produce at the grocery store—unless you dehydrated last season’s food surplus. As in any year, I had a bounty of some things and only teases of others. It is why I preserve the bounty with a dehydrator because next year may not fare so favorably in what contributed to this year’s abundance.
One tried and true way to preserve food is the root cellar. We do not have a true root cellar right now (but I caught Chaya reading this book, so I am sure it is on the project list for next summer). Truthfully, I prefer to have many of the staple foods in their dehydrated form because of the flavors and versatility. A cold storage apple becomes “mealy” to me about 4-5 months (again, I need that true root cellar!), but an apple ring? I can hardly keep those on my shelf!
At Pantry Paratus, using a dehydrator for food is one of our four core competencies, which makes having an Excalibur dehydrator high on our list of recommended products for people to own and routinely use. I was just tickled when I came across these pictures of last summer’s harvest from the farmer’s market, so I thought in honor of Spring’s soon arrival I would show a quick how-to dehydrate carrots.
Look at this beautiful bucket of carrots, garlic and onions!
To start, cut the carrots into “coins.”
Next, I blanch them in boiling water for 60 or so seconds, then strain them out. This will help to soften the outer layer of the carrot to prevent case hardening (where the outside of the food dries and it locks in the moisture inside the food—not good for storing food).
Lay the carrots one layer deep on the Excalibur dehydrator tray
Start the dehydrator. I typically run carrots a lower heat in my food dehydrator than what is recommended for about 36 hours. Your mileage may vary depending on where you live and how much humidity you have.
Lastly, I roll up the mat and funnel them into an awaiting jar.
If you are storing them for a long time, then I recommend using an Oxygen Absorber (cost about $0.10—very cheap insurance).
Now sit back and wait for Spring, or do the dozens of other chores you have around the homestead. Either way, putting away food from either your garden or your local farmer’s market when it is in season means that you do not have to pay retail for produce (by the way, I paid ~$9 for everything in the above bucket at my local farmer’s market).
Pro Deo et Patria
All photos by Pantry Paratus
Nothing in this blog constitutes medical advice. You should consult your own physician before making any dietary changes. Statements in this blog may or may not be congruent with current USDA or FDA guidance.