Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wasting Some Green, and Seeing Red, A No Waste Trick

Well the garden is coming in and doing its job, I have processed pickles, chutneys, jams, squash, onions, garlic and the corn is coming in.

I have had so many cukes, I put some in the frig and meaning to get back to them for bread and butter pickles, and well they went limp on me. I try to have a no waste rule, however I have been so busy with the new building project, time just slips by. I picked another bunch today and threw out the old shriveled ones.

So the first small handful of red maters were nice, then today I harvested 6 pounds or so. I processed them for juice using my kitchen aid and two different attachments combined together to pulp free my sauce in less then 15 minutes I had over a 1/2 gallon of the good stuff. I have frozen that and will add that later when I have enough organic juice to make a few batches of sauces and salsa.

The trick to get every little bit from the maters using my method, is to process the maters 4 times through the kitchen aid. I ended up with 1/4 cup of seeds and just skins. The old method use to take me hours, and there is nothing wrong with doing it by hand. However, I am a modern pioneer and I love to save time processing as long as I get a better or higher quality end product. In this case, it was hours sooner and I got 100% of usable product.

If you want me to share what products I use, and my method, let me know. I am always happy to share.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Dehydrating, Dealing W/ Bumper Crops, Secret Tip, The Recipe

This time of year most folks love to share the fruits of their labor with others. So many people bring in food from their gardens and give it to co-workers and such.

NOT ME!! If you now suspect that I am just a grumpy old man, that isn't true. However, I do like to share some of my food with others and love to fellowship and share with certain folks. I process all my own food, and I deal with my bumper crops differently than most people.

Some people do get what I am doing, and I gave a friend some Jam, only to find out they didn't use it because it was home processed. I know right? But it was the first time, and the last I shared my food with them.

This time of year, its Cukes and Squash... I know that mater time is just around the corner when bumper crops of these two veggies head for the dehydrator. Cukes have tons of canning ideas, my focus in this article is Squash.

Zuke and Yellow are two of the most produced squashes in gardens. People love to grow them with little to no care, plant the seeds and off they go. I find that most people give away squash and maters, and from time to time Okra. NOT ME!!!


You know by now I love to process and store my own food, and you want to learn from my adventures and share your own ideas. To prep my squash, I clean it, cut the ends, and set my slicer for 5/16 of an inch. Now it is not wise to dehydrate big squash without a little bit of work, but armed with an egg cup, you will now be able to store and keep more food than you ever knew.


Yes, for this article I am going to use the word pith, it is the only word I know that I can described the center of a squash that has mature seeds in it. Now, having seeds in dehydrated food isn't a crime. The criminal here is mature seeds. Seeds are self contained units, and if activated, will ruin mass amounts of food stores. Now if your storing them for seeds that is different, as the end use is much different.

 Allowing mature seeds to be left in can not only ruin food, but also contain natural chemicals that will off set the flavor of your food. So armed with a egg cup, I remove the pith and mature seeds so that I can continue to save the squash for dehydration.I put up 23 pounds of squash in one go using my Excalibur 3900.

Some will say this recipe has been in many families recipe book for generations, as for a modern pioneer, our methods of food storing do change when a new way allows for better food storing. With that, food recipes and the desire to make our own comfort food makes us change our recipes to adapt to our new ways.

I am positive some of you growing up on a farm have spent many summer nights at the table with a bowl of squash mess. I know this time of year it was a near staple fixed on the grill in a cast iron pan over hardwood fire. We never cooked inside unless it was early morning in the summer. So I gave my hand at making this recipe with dehydrated food. After trial and error, I have developed the recipe and process.

11/2 cups each of dehydrated yellow and zuke squash
1/4 cup dehydrated onions
dehydrated garlic to taste
2 1/2 cups of veggie stock or chicken
2 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
salt/pepper to taste

Put stock in fry pan, add squash, simmer for 20 minutes over medium heat. Increase temp to high, cook off remainder of stock liquid, turn back to medium, add butter, when squash begins to turn brown add butter, when butter melts add flour and return to high heat until the flour is brown.

I tested this recipe throughout the winter making as many as 8 to 12 side dishes. From the first to the last, outstanding!!

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