Want an easy way to store and preserve food? Need a food storage method that doesn’t take up much space and requires very little equipment? Want to make healthier snacks for your family to enjoy at home or on the go? Looking for portable food for camping or backpacking? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you should learn about home food drying.
Last week I got a call from my neighbor, Betty, about crabapples being ripe at another friends’ home. (Everyone should have a neighbor like Betty. :-) Never one to let produce go to waste, I warned the boys that we were going to go pick crabapples. My eldest, wanting to get done sooner, headed out to the wild trees at the border of out field. These are normally so bug infested as to be inedible, but this year one had a bumper crop, and we were able to pick quite a few that were in nice shape.
We purchased two cases of Michigan peaches so far this year – one from a local supermarket, and one from a roadside market up in Door County. I decided to can most of them, as the boys adore canned peaches. I also dried some in the dehydrator and make some peach jam. For canning peaches, use those that are ripe but still firm. I use the softer peaches for jam or drying. For those who are new to preserving, I put together this easy guide on peeling, canning and drying peaches.
The boys and I went strawberry picking twice this season, and came home with two trays of berries each time. To put away some of these beautiful berries to enjoy for the rest of the year, we made two batches of low sugar jam (strawberry and strawberry-banana). We also used four other methods of preserving strawberries – freezing, drying, making fruit leather and flavoring kombucha.
I had the opportunity to babysit my neighbors asparagus patch for two weeks earlier this season, and I was blessed with a bounty of asparagus like I have never seen. The photo above was just one picking – and it kept coming! For those who are not asparagus savvy, you need to keep the spears harvested during the production season, otherwise they will get tall and produce seed, and you will have no more asparagus to harvest. Thus, I was over picking every two to three days to keep the plants producing. The neighbors have a lovely 100+ year old farmhouse, and four different asparagus patches around the yard. As I was picking, the fresh spears looked so good that I decided to try one raw for the first time. It was really good! It tasted very much like fresh picked green peas, without much of the stronger “asparagus” taste that puts many people off. I ate several more. :-) Since there was such a bounty, I used several methods of preserving asparagus.