Monday, December 14, 2015

Showing Off, just a little

Perfect Pears deliciously dehydrated.
A while back I mentioned that I had taken advantage of some sunny weather to dry pears that were quickly ripening in the refrigerator (see "Pears to Perfection," 10/26-15) and a friend of mine asked if I had any photos of the finished product.

Spicy red dried cayennes ready for chili.
I didn't then, but I do now. Actually, I've had the photos for a while and just haven't gotten around to posting them as I had promised. I've also decided to post a few photos of some other preserved goodies. Just for kicks.

The pears, peppers, tomatoes, and even most of the herbs were dried in the solar powered dehydrator that my husband built two or three years ago. I've loved this dehydrator, although I would change a couple of things, if I could. I would prefer one in which the drying trays were level, instead of slanted, as some things tend to slide. And I'd have more trays on which to dry things. A multi-level dehydrator would be awesome.

But this is the one I've got. (See my "Solar Powered Food" post for photos and more) And I love using it.
Sun-dried tomatoes. Sweet and sticky.

One thing I learned this year is that really hot, sunny days can create a bit too much heat for drying herbs. They dried better later in the year when the days were shorter and the temperatures a bit cooler.

Tomatoes are always tricky because they are so juicy. They need at least three hot, super sunny days to dry without any one of them molding. So I always check the weather forecast before putting the tomatoes out to dry. However, several times the day would start cloudy and stay that way, in spite of a sunny forecast. Next year, I will wait until I actually see clear skies before getting the tomatoes ready to dry. Less juicy things can tolerate less than perfect drying conditions.
Kimchi, full of good bugs for the belly,

As you all know (if you've been reading this blog) I've become a fermenting fool this fall. Green tomatoes, green beans, long beans -- nothing is safe from the fermenting brine. I've also mastered the art of fermenting kimchi -- at least one of the hundreds of kinds of kimchi -- using Chinese cabbage and daikon, as well as any other available veggie.

Chinese cabbage still stands in the garden and has even produced flower stalks. So it is time to take it out. I plan to make an Oriental style soup and maybe some more kimchi. It's become our favorite of the ferments... except for the pickled green tomatoes, that is.

We'll never look at a green tomato with a sigh of disdain again. All we'll be thinking is "pickled green delights." Even the little Sun Gold tomatoes got turned into green pickles. I put them into the brine whole, including some half ripe ones for a little yellow color.

Don't they look pretty in the pickle jar?

Green and half-ripe Sun Gold tomato pickles.
Perhaps you are tired of reading about my fermenting fun. I am sure the newness will wear off eventually and I'll move on to writing about something else. But not yet. Right now I've got daikons fermenting. Shredded daikon went into the 2-gallon crock for a kimchi-like ferment, using a paste of ginger, garlic, hot peppers and apple (horseradish went into the daikon kimchi) mixed with the daikon and some salt. I wanted to do the kimchi style because it is less salty than vegetables fermented in brine.

However, I also made some daikon pickles, cutting the giant white radishes into sticks, adding seasonings and covering with brine. You'll read about it later, I'm sure.

For now, just enjoy these photos of my preserved produce. I don't like to show off, really, I don't. But my friend did ask for a picture of my pears.

Be careful what you wish for.

One last photo: Jars and tins full of dried herbs; for tea mostly, but some for seasonings, as well.

No comments: