There is nothing as disappointing as having your family cookbook completed, printed, bound, and distributed to all your family members, and then finding a blaring typographical error on the first page. Your confidence can be shattered from such an experience. Continue reading
All the primary election news reminds me of the time President George Bush the Elder made a snide comment about a certain green vegetable that he did not — would not — eat. The resulting fluff in the media was nothing short of a scandal as I recall. The broccoli lobby and every broccoli farmer in America claimed insult. Continue reading
As usual, there were few dishes that didn’t get eaten completely during our Labor Day festivities. These were no-work dishes that were simple to prepare and easy to eat. Our Labor Day leftovers were diced or sliced and plopped into a nice beef broth for the first soup of the fall season. Continue reading
An interesting internet article recently about saving money on grocery bills reported that the average family (of 2.5) in America spends at least $537 a month on food (including eating out). What the article didn’t say was that the statistics reported (for October 2008) are almost two years old, and mostly irrelevant in 2010. Continue reading
During the waning weeks of summer, it seems a perfect time to preserve favorite fruits of the season by dehydrating them to enjoy later in the year. My dear friend, Ruth, an expert in dehydrating fruit and other foods, says the process is all about removing the moisture that causes decay. No water means no bacteria and no spoilage, she affirms.
Ruth explains that dehydration occurs best when the drying temperature is between 95°-140°F, with low humidity, and a constant movement of air (that helps evaporate the moisture). Fruits are especially interesting to dry because many change character entirely after dehydration. For example, dried plums are turned into prunes, and dried grapes become raisins after the drying process.
Although there are several methods for drying food, we’ve picked three of the most popular ways for dehydrating fruit and other foods:
1. Sun Drying
Sun drying is the most ancient way of dehydrating fruit and other foods. Patience and a solid protective cover for the food is important in this process. Slow drying fruit in the sun can take up to 5 days or more, depending on weather conditions. If you aren’t in a hurry and want the true old-fashioned experience of dehydrating fruit and other foods, sun drying is a satisfying (and green) choice.
2. Convection Oven Drying
With convection ovens able to stir the air and keep a controlled temperature, oven drying is another viable option for dehydrating fruit and other foods. Many do-it-yourselfers like using their existing convection ovens for dehydrating fruit and other foods because it is one less appliance to purchase, store, and maintain. Convection oven drying can provide an adequate finished product for home consumption.
3. Drying by Food Dehydrator
A food dehydrator appliance acts much like a convection oven (except your large oven can still be free to use while the dehydrator does its work). The basic parts of a food dehydrator include a fan, air vents to allow air circulation, a heating element, and food trays (screens). Food dehydrator appliances are perhaps the most popular way for dehydrating fruit and other foods. You pretty much set it and forget it, and come back hours later with perfectly dried fruits and other foods.
Slice sweet apples (like Fuji or Delicious) or sweet ripe peaches into thin slices. Dip in cold water with ascorbic acid or lemon juice and place in single layer on dehyrator rack. Check your progress every few hours for dehydrating fruit and other foods. You can also make fruit leathers by pureeing fruit in a blender and spreading them on a flat dehyrator pan
Dehydrating is really easy. I always think of the old backpacker’s original trail mix called GORP (get out the raisins and peanuts) when I think of dehydrated foods. I like to dehydrate fresh herbs, too. Right now I have a Concord grape vine loaded with grapes.
So, I guess its either harvest and dehydrate, or harvest and make jam. I’ll have to check my family cookbook and recipe box for my grape pie recipe. Granny used to have a really good Concord Grape pie recipe, but that’s another story.
Do you ever desire lovely toasted and seasoned croutons, but don’t have time to run to the store to buy boxed or bagged croutons? If you have a fresh loaf of bread, or even one that is not fresh but not quite ready to throw away or feed to the birds, you can turn several slices (or the whole loaf) into croutons without stale bread (the traditional way to make croutons). Continue reading
We’ve posted a new video on our website that demonstrates the features of several popular styles of our high-quality recipe boxes. Our narrator is none other than Erin Miller, our illustrious leader and owner of The Cookbook People of Boise, Idaho, who shows some of the best-selling recipe card boxes from our Recipe Box Warehouse, and explains her favorite features of each recipe box. Continue reading
A dear friend who lived in Peru for many years recently shared this condiment recipe for her Peruvian dipping sauce that is very delicious on just about anything. For that summer get together or family reunion that needs something a little different, try this Peruvian dipping sauce recipe: Continue reading