Pear Fruit Leather

Hi friends.

Sharing my super simple recipe for fruit leather today. We received a huge box of various fruits, candies, nuts, etc. for Christmas. The pears were individually wrapped and were amazing. However, the pears began to ripen faster than we could eat them. Time to fire up Guinevere, my awesome Excalibur dehydrator, and make some pear fruit leather.

Pear Fruit Leather

3 pears
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. lemon juice

1. Wash and dry the pears. I do not like to peel the pears – hello, all sorts of nutrients and fiber here – but I do core them. So, go ahead and core the pears. Cut up into pieces and add to your food processor.Pear Leather 001c

2.  Add the cinnamon, honey and lemon juice. Puree until you have a nice consistency. You may want to add a little more sweetener at this time.

3. Pour pear mixture onto the non-stick dehydrator sheets for your dehydrator. Using an off-set spatula, spread out on the sheet to about 1/4 inch thickness.Pear Leather 002c

4. At this time, you can add any other ingredients. I sprinkled toasted pecans, flaked coconut and chia seed.

5. Dehydrate on 135° for 6 hours. You will know the leather is done when it is dry and not sticky to the touch.

6. Let cool on sheets. When cool, pull off of the sheets and cut into strips. You may want to roll up on parchment paper. Store in an airtight container. Can keep up to a year in the refrigerator.

Peach Leather 003cThis recipe is for pear leather, but you could adapt it for any other fruit leather. If you want to read more about homemade fruit leathers, visit the Cooperative Extension Studies website.


One Watermelon

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One Watermelon

One watermelon = 2 1/2 quarts of dehydrated red flesh, 4 pints of pickled watermelon, 1 tub of peels to compost and enough dried seeds to grow another garden full of watermelon next year.

Sadly, I don’t have enough room in my garden to grow many sprawling plants, so I purchased my seedless melon. Here’s a thought: As consumers we’ve grown accustomed to seedless watermelons. No seed, no plant, no diversity. Just sayin’.

Watermelon – Dehydrated

Slice up your melon into 1 inch slices.

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Slice up the red flesh of the watermelon and place on your dehydrator at 135°. I left mine overnight – so about 12 hours. Fruit will be pliable.

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I have an Excalibur dehydrator named Guenevere.  Get it?  {chuckle}

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I sealed my melon in jars with the Food Saver Mason Jar Sealer. Isn’t it beautiful?

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Watermelon Rind – Pickled

1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the rinds. Slice off any meat. You want just the white part of the rind. Throw all the trimmings into the composter.

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Place the white rind (I had about 2 quarts of rind) into a bowl with 3 quarts of water. I also added about 2 cups of ice cubes. Add 3/4 cup pickling salt. Put in refrigerator overnight.

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Now comes the fun part. There are many, many recipes out there for pickled watermelon. Most either use peppercorn/mustard seeds OR cinnamon/lemon/cloves. I started with a recipe from Cooking with Paula Deen Magazine pub. July/August 2010 with the peppercorn/mustard seeds.

The original recipe calls for 4 quarts of watermelon rind. Since I only had 2 quarts of watermelon rind (1 medium-sized watermelon), I halved the recipe as follows:

2 quarts watermelon rind, prepared as above
1 gallon of water
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1/4 tsp. mustard seed
1/2 tsp. whole peppercorns
3 1/2 cups sugar
4 pint canning jars with lids

The first thing I like to do is to get my canning pot of water started and bring to a boil for processing. It always takes awhile to bring the water to boil so do this first! Add your pint jars to get hot. Also prepare a small saucepan of water for the lids.

Meanwhile, place rinds in a colander and drain off water, thoroughly rinsing. In a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, cook watermelon rinds with 1 gallon of water. (I buy well water, but you can use bottled water and here’s why.) Cook the rinds until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Return the pot to heat and add vinegar, sugar and spices. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add watermelon rinds and cook until translucent, about 10 or 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Place lids in the small saucepan of hot water. Remove hot jars and spoon rind in the jars. Pour vinegar solution over rinds, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rims with a clean damp cloth and seal jars with lids and rings, finger tight. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove from water bath and allow to cool on a clean towel on the counter overnight.

rindSweet and delicious.


Preserving Sweet Corn

Last week was a week of corn.  I froze corn – I canned corn kernels – I canned corn relish – I dehydrated corn. Five ears for $1.00 is a decent price for corn around here, so I filled my bag. Forty ears of corn for $8.00 produced 4 quarts of frozen corn kernels, 8 pints of pressure canned corn kernels, 6 pints of water bath canned corn relish and 1 pint of dehydrated corn. What a cost savings! I think next year I’ll put up more corn relish for family and friends because visitors are threatening to walk off with a jar or two.

By the way, here’s an awesome Pinterest tip: Cut corn from the cob by placing the ear of corn in the center of a bundt pan and run a knife down the cob. The kernels collect in the bundt pan. Works like a charm.

Want to bump up a hamburger or hotdog? This is the relish.

Corn Relish  Water Bath

5 to 6 pint canning jars

8 cups corn kernels (abt. 8-9 ears corn)Cornc
3 cups water
3 cups celery, chopped (6 ribs)
1 1/2 cups sweet red peppers, chopped (2 med.)
1 1/2 cups green peppers, chopped (2 med.)
1 cup onion, chopped
2 1/2 cups vinegar
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 tsp. dry mustard
2 tsp. pickling salt
2 tsp. celery seeds
1 tsp. ground turmeric
3 Tbs. cornstarch
3 Tbs. water

1. Get your water bath canner going with hot water and add your canning jars. Start another small saucepan with hot water for the seals. Remove husks from corn. Scrub to remove the silks and rinse. Cut kernels from cobs.

2. In a large stainless-steel heavy pot, combine 8 cups of corn kernels and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 4 to 5 minutes or until corn is nearly tender. Drain.

3. In the same pot, combine corn, celery, sweet peppers, and onion. Stir in vinegar, sugar, mustard, pickling salt, celery seeds, and turmeric. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 3 tablespoons water. Add to corn mixture. Over medium heat, stir until mixture is slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir for 2 minutes more.

5. Remove hot jars. Ladle hot relish into canning jars, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids, finger-tight.

6. Process filled jars in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes (start timing when water returns to boiling). Remove jars from canner and cool on a dish towel.

Corn Kernels  Frozen

1. Remove husks from corn. Scrub to remove silks and rinse.

2. Blanch the corn cobs in boiling water for about 2 minutes. Remove the corn and plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

3. When cooled, cut kernels from cob.

Shucked corn ready for processing.

Shucked corn ready for processing.

4. Place corn kernels in freezer bags or Seal-A-Meal (corn will freeze in a solid chunk). If you want loose corn kernels, then spread out on a baking sheet and freeze. After frozen, remove from baking sheet, Seal-A-Meal in bags and label.

Raw Pack Corn Kernels  Pressure Canned

6-8 pint canning jars

1. Start a large pot of water to boil. Add pint jars to pot to get hot.

2. Remove husks from corn. Scrub with a stiff brush to remove silks and rinse.

3. Cut kernels from cob. Scrape the cob to get the inner part of the kernels for a creamed corn.

4. Remove pint jars from hot water. Add cut kernels. Pour boiling water over the corn, leaving 1 inch headspace. Add seals and rings.

5. Follow your pressure canner instructions for processing. My canning instructions recommend processing the corn-filled pint jars for 55 minutes at 10 lbs. of pressure.

Corn Kernels  Dehydrated

1. Start a large pot of water to boil.

2. Remove husks from corn. Scrub to remove silks and rinse.

3. Blanch the corn cobs in boiling water for about 2 minutes. Remove the corn and plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

4. When cooled, cut kernels from cob.

5. Spread corn kernels on a sheet in your dehydrator. Follow your dehydrator’s instruction manual for dehydrating vegetables. I have an Excalibur Dehydrator so I set on vegetable setting, 125° for 6-10 hours. Corn should be brittle.

6. Vacuum pack in a mason jar with your Seal-A-Meal.

Creamed-Style Corn   Pressure Canned

See the Ball recipe for creamed-styled corn at: http://www.freshpreserving.com/recipes/cream-style-corn

 


Dehydrator Madness

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It’s a dehydrator. It’s not a puppy. This is what I keep telling myself as I lay awake at night trying to come up with a really great nickname for my new Excalibur dehydrator. This baby works like a dream.

To date, I’ve experimented with:

Lemons – Sliced up thinly, I store in a mason jar and add a slice to my iced water for a refreshing beverage. Put a few through my blender and now I always have lemon zest on hand.

Oranges – Same thing as with the lemons.

Bananas – A mason jar full of dried bananas does not last long on my counter.

Apples – By far a favorite of the family to date. I’d like to try a pie with the slices but they don’t last long enough. Slice the apples and place in a bowl of water and 1/4 cup of lemon juice while you’re slicing the rest of the lemons. This will keep them from turning brown. Store in a mason jar in the refrigerator for a little extra crispness. Awesome healthy alternative snack!

Mixed Frozen Vegetables – I read that frozen veggies are great in the dehydrator and there is no prep to the veggies since they were prepared prior to freezing. So, I bought a 5 lb. bag of mixed veggies on sale and loaded up the trays. Five pounds dried down to 1 1/8 qt. mason jar. Amazing! I rehydrated as a test and it took about 20 minutes. The corn was the last to plump up and was a little tough, but I’m told the dried veggies are terrific to add to a soup. A great solution if you have limited freezer space.

Frozen Veggies

Croutons/Bread Crumbs – Leftover herb bread from the bread machine makes terrific croutons.

Kale – Mixed with a little olive oil and sea salt. Family didn’t like them, but the dog loved them. I throw on the floor for her like popcorn.

Beets – Dried into beautiful chips. Still sweet and earthy tasting. I need to experiment with this one a little more. I think sea salt may be the ticket.

Bagel Chips – Another yummy treat that I will make again.

Kiwi – I had a bunch of kiwi in my CSA farmer’s box. More than we could eat so into the dehydrator it went.

So, so happy with my purchase. I know it’s something I’ll use for years to come. Nickname suggestions anyone?