Saturday, July 02, 2011

Preserve that Produce!

It's summer - are you gardening? I am trying to put up food for the winter in larger quantities this year since we ran out very early last year. We had a horrible garden last summer due mostly to a very cold spring and then weird weather all summer. This year, things are more like normal, which in the north, is still pretty cool.

A great cool weather crop is spinach, and I have already harvested most of the crop. Aside from the usual blanch for 2 minutes and then freeze method, I decided to dehydrate the leaves - yes, dehydrate spinach!

The picture is of very crispy spinach leaves, a lot of it.

Now, you're wondering why dehydrate greens - I did it to conserve on freezer space. Even more than that, I did it to have a healthy spinach store that I could simply crumble into soups and such this winter. By dehydrating and then adding directly to the pot, I'm not losing vitamins and minerals that would normally go down the sink with the blanching water.

Other greens that dehydrate well:

  • cabbage
  • chard
  • kale
  • celery leaves - great for crumbling into potato soup!
  • beet greens
  • turnip greens
I've also been dehydrating strawberries. They are great for putting into oatmeal or cold cereal. And of course, I dry lots and lots of chives, oregano, sage, basil, and peppermint.

The next few years sounds as if they'll see big price increases in the food market. I strongly urge everybody to preserve all that they can to help alleviate a chunk of the grocery budget.


SunshineofAutumnQuilts said...

wow I never thought to dehydrate greens, interesting, did you blanch them first? We tried doing blueberries last year and they didn't turn out well but I read you have to blanch them first.

Discovering the Me in Mommy said...

Ooh, spinach...wish we had that growing in our garden!

Yes, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY...and we need to be women of integrity and action. I would have held out as a hung jury too..what's the harm in retrying?!? =)

Have a great weekend.