I recently received an Excalibur dehydrator for the wonderful price of FREE! Who doesn't like free?
Actually, my mom gave it to me. She bought it several years ago and used it sporadically and decided she would be more than happy to part with it. So, now it's mine, and I love it. So far I have dehydrated carrots, celery, apples, onions and green peppers. I just dried more green peppers a couple of days ago. My pepper plants have finally called it quits this year and of course I didn't want to waste those yummy pieces of deliciousness. Let me tell you, it is amazing how small those pieces become once all the water has been sucked out. They are tiny. I have a quart mason jar full of them now and it was like 30 peppers. Talk about saving space!
I have giant red mustard growing in my fall garden. If you have never heard of it or had it, oh my goodness you need to. It really is red. It starts off green just like any other greens do, then starts getting red veins in it. Talk about yum. We just eat it fresh like lettuce on a sandwich or in a salad. I have read, however, that you can cook them just like any other greens. If you eat it fresh, it has a spicy peppery flavor. Apparently once you cook it, it loses that punch. We like the punch so we eat it fresh. Now, would you like to hear the sad part? Most people who grow this plant use it for a border plant in their landscaping. They never eat it! Boy, are they missing out.
Anyway, my experiment. I decided to try dehydrating the red mustard. I can crumble or powder it and add it to soups and stews. Or any dish I choose, I suppose. My haul today:
Several radishes, a variety of lettuce and those yummy red mustard leaves(on the left-see the red?). I washed them up and steamed them for a couple minutes until they were just wilted. Then I laid them out on the trays. Talk about tedious. They can't overlap according to the book I have and since they were steamed, they all stuck to each other and wadded up on themselves. They also seemed to lose some the red coloring as well.
I now have three trays of these beauties in the dehydrator. I didn't want to dry a bunch because if they turn out awful, I will be sad of the lost yummies. I am sure the dehydration will work just fine, but until I use them, I have no idea if this will be a successful experiment. I will have to figure out something to make for dinner this weekend to give them a whirl.
I am really happy with the salad that we will have with dinner tonight.
Nothing like a fresh salad from your garden. In November. And it's still going strong.