Author Topic: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks  (Read 1021 times)

Trudie

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Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« on: June 28, 2020, 09:09:06 AM »
We went all in on our veg garden this summer, and are going to have a bounty to share and preserve.  Sharing also brings me joy, especially during these pandemic times when going to the store is difficult for many people.

Iíve canned tomatoes before, made freezer jam, and frozen many fruits and veg.  This year Iím going to invest in a food dehydrator.  My first project will be drying shallots and herbs.  Iím interested in how others use their dehydrators.

Please post tips, techniques, and recipes here about all things preserving.

Fishindude

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2020, 07:15:12 AM »
We freeze lots of sweet corn, green beans and tomatoes.
If you have freezer space, it's about the easiest preservation method.

MudPuppy

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2020, 10:10:26 AM »
I dehydrated lots of zucchini and tomatoes last year and I was pleased with the results.

Wolfpack Mustachian

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2020, 10:12:33 AM »
Great post. We've been inundated with squash. Right now we're just blending them to freeze and save for later use. If anyone has any creative ideas, that would be awesome!

MudPuppy

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2020, 10:16:17 AM »
https://www.christinascucina.com/dried-zucchini-pancetta-and-potatoes-in/


That is a great recipe using dried zucchini, but any summer squash works.



Wolfpack Mustachian

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2020, 10:36:06 AM »
https://www.christinascucina.com/dried-zucchini-pancetta-and-potatoes-in/


That is a great recipe using dried zucchini, but any summer squash works.

That looks amazing! Thanks for the information!

Sun Hat

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2020, 09:15:06 AM »
Any great ideas for preserving cabbage? In the past I've chopped, blanched and frozen it, and have had mixed results with making and canning sauerkraut. After keeping them under a floating row cover and being fairly regular about picking slugs off, I have six nice cabbage to pick today with no real plan for what to do with them. I'm swimming in lettuce and kale, so I don't need them for fresh eating now.

lthenderson

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2020, 09:30:41 AM »
Any great ideas for preserving cabbage? In the past I've chopped, blanched and frozen it, and have had mixed results with making and canning sauerkraut.

I would try again with the sauerkraut or perhaps try kimchi. I've eaten a lot of fermented cabbage and always enjoy it. We can't grow cabbage very well where I live so I've never been able to try it but if I could, I would keep trying various recipes until I found one that worked.

To the OP, we mostly freeze or can our garden produce. I don't like using my dehydrator on things with high water content because it takes a lot of time, energy and fills up the house with humidity compared to canning. It is also much harder to rehydrate things in a satisfactory manner later. Everything loses a lot of flavor and all the texture. We used to use the dehydrator for things like herbs but found it faster and easier to just use cookie sheets in the oven. About the only thing we do in the dehydrator is make dried fruit for snacks, sometimes turkey jerky.

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2020, 05:24:47 PM »
So far this season I have dried mint and basil, make freezer jam with strawberries, frozen garlic scapes and rhubarb syrup.  I love the colour of rhubarb soda, so I have made a number of jars of it for a pink drink when it is not in season.

Sun Hat

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2020, 05:52:28 AM »
So far this season I have dried mint and basil, make freezer jam with strawberries, frozen garlic scapes and rhubarb syrup.  I love the colour of rhubarb soda, so I have made a number of jars of it for a pink drink when it is not in season.

Brain explosion!
Can syrups be canned in a water-bath canner to make them shelf stable? Why haven't I ever tried this before? (Runs to garden, spends day maniacally making oodles of syrups)

Edit: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH! I found a recipe! THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!!!!!! https://www.lifeatcobblehillfarm.com/2014/03/food-preservation-recipe-canned-rhubarb.html
« Last Edit: July 14, 2020, 05:56:31 AM by Sun Hat »

Imma

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2020, 06:52:34 AM »
PTF! I was late getting started this year due to the pandemic, didn't put anything in until mid-May, so far we've had some strawberries and tons of lettuce and radishes. But I'm expecting a lot of zucchini, beets and green beans soon. I had never even heard of dehydrating zucchini, I will look into that! I've been using the beet leafs in salads, I'm thinking of freezing or pickling the beets themselves.

I'm also growing baby bear pumpkins and I guess I'm just going to store them in the pantry until I'm going to use them. But that doesn't work if you've got dozens of them of course.

lthenderson

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2020, 06:53:10 AM »
Brain explosion!

+1 Mine too!

I wrote down recipe for next year's rhubarb crop. Can't wait!

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2020, 06:53:47 AM »
So far this season I have dried mint and basil, make freezer jam with strawberries, frozen garlic scapes and rhubarb syrup.  I love the colour of rhubarb soda, so I have made a number of jars of it for a pink drink when it is not in season.

Brain explosion!
Can syrups be canned in a water-bath canner to make them shelf stable? Why haven't I ever tried this before? (Runs to garden, spends day maniacally making oodles of syrups)

Edit: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH! I found a recipe! THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!!!!!! https://www.lifeatcobblehillfarm.com/2014/03/food-preservation-recipe-canned-rhubarb.html
Wow - this is why I love the forum.  Me doing my whacky things that I think no one else will get and then I find out there are more people in the world who are just like me.  wonderfully mind blowing.

Sun Hat

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2020, 08:09:49 AM »
PTF! I was late getting started this year due to the pandemic, didn't put anything in until mid-May, so far we've had some strawberries and tons of lettuce and radishes. But I'm expecting a lot of zucchini, beets and green beans soon. I had never even heard of dehydrating zucchini, I will look into that! I've been using the beet leafs in salads, I'm thinking of freezing or pickling the beets themselves.

I'm also growing baby bear pumpkins and I guess I'm just going to store them in the pantry until I'm going to use them. But that doesn't work if you've got dozens of them of course.

Imma! Pickled beets are wonderful! I give jars of them as gifts. For freezing beets, I've had better results by grating and freezing them raw than by blanching and freezing large chunks. The chunks develop a rubbery consistency in the freezer that I don't care for. Grated beets are versatile for borscht, beet pancakes and beet cake. If you have extra greens, they can be blanched and frozen too.

+1 to loving this forum for discovering like-minded people.

Fortunately it's a relatively cool day here so I can open the windows wide while I toil happily at the stove processing a pile of cabbage and make some syrups.

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2020, 08:55:25 AM »
Any great ideas for preserving cabbage? In the past I've chopped, blanched and frozen it, and have had mixed results with making and canning sauerkraut. After keeping them under a floating row cover and being fairly regular about picking slugs off, I have six nice cabbage to pick today with no real plan for what to do with them. I'm swimming in lettuce and kale, so I don't need them for fresh eating now.
In case you try sauerkraut again, I was really happy with how mine turned out, itís not canned, I just made it the way my German friends told me. Itís basically the same as this recipe:
https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-homemade-sauerkraut-in-a-mason-jar-193124
My friends leave theirs on the counter for months (if they donít eat it all first), and I expect mine will be fine in the fridge for a year. When I make it again, Iím going to try use a little less salt. The batch following the recipe turned out a bit salty for my taste so I rinse it before serving and then itís perfect.

Imma

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2020, 09:06:41 AM »
PTF! I was late getting started this year due to the pandemic, didn't put anything in until mid-May, so far we've had some strawberries and tons of lettuce and radishes. But I'm expecting a lot of zucchini, beets and green beans soon. I had never even heard of dehydrating zucchini, I will look into that! I've been using the beet leafs in salads, I'm thinking of freezing or pickling the beets themselves.

I'm also growing baby bear pumpkins and I guess I'm just going to store them in the pantry until I'm going to use them. But that doesn't work if you've got dozens of them of course.

Imma! Pickled beets are wonderful! I give jars of them as gifts. For freezing beets, I've had better results by grating and freezing them raw than by blanching and freezing large chunks. The chunks develop a rubbery consistency in the freezer that I don't care for. Grated beets are versatile for borscht, beet pancakes and beet cake. If you have extra greens, they can be blanched and frozen too.

+1 to loving this forum for discovering like-minded people.

Fortunately it's a relatively cool day here so I can open the windows wide while I toil happily at the stove processing a pile of cabbage and make some syrups.

I would never have thought about freezing them raw, I will try that! We usually eat them plain (boiled and sliced) so I had planned to slice and blanche them before freezing.

Usually sauerkraut is kept on the counter for the first couple of weeks and then moved to a cool place, to make sure it doesn't become too sour.

nereo

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2020, 09:17:22 AM »
A few of our preservation methods:

Tomatoes: Dried (dehydrated) and packed in oil ("sun-dried tomatoes")

Cucumbers, carrots & beets: pickled (together or alone)

Rhubarb: Chopped and frozen

Squash & Pumpkins: Chopped, parboiled and then frozen

Leafy Herbs (e.g. cilantro, basil, dill):  Minced, packed into ice-cube trays with a scant amount of water and frozen.  Then transferred to ziptop bags once in cube form. 

Perennial herbs (e.g. rosemary, oregano): Dried

Lavender: Store blossoms in sugar, then use sugar in baking recipes

Chili peppers: Dried or smoked (e.g. chipotles are smoked jalapeŮos)

Peas and corn: frozen


Evgenia

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2020, 10:05:44 AM »
Love this thread! We do the following:

* Tomatoes: Washed, lightly blended, frozen. Faster than canning and we get lazy.

* Rhubarb: I've frozen chunks of it for subsequent pies (the NYT Cooking recipe for rhubarb-only pie is spectacular) and muffins, but this year we're doing more of the syrup thing. My favorite is to make a rhubarb, Meyer lemon blended syrup, freeze that, and then we have rhubarb lemonade all year.

* Mint, lemon balm, sage, sweetgrass herbs: Dried and put in jars for tea. We got so much of this I also give it as a gift.

* Beets, cukes, and some surplus zucchini: Overnight fridge pickles, or few-nights-in-the-fridge pickles - https://www.artfrommytable.com/overnight-refrigerator-pickles/

* Flint corn: stored as dry, full kernels and ground into polenta as needed.

* Potatoes: We get a lot of these, so we make an ENORMOUS stock pot of mashed potatoes and freeze those in smaller containers for instant dinner sides throughout the year.

So glad to have a garden during this time, in particular.

nereo

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2020, 10:23:15 AM »

* Potatoes: We get a lot of these, so we make an ENORMOUS stock pot of mashed potatoes and freeze those in smaller containers for instant dinner sides throughout the year.


It never occurred to me to pre-make mashed potatoes and then freeze.  I'm going to try that this year.  My problem with potatoes and onions are that - no matter where I store them they always rot or sprout.  I'm guessing this is partly due to the high humidity inside our home (it's humid outside, and we tend to leave our windows most of the time).  So at best I get 6 weeks for our tuber crop before it's no longer usable.

Anyone have tips for tuber storage besides (put them in a dark cabinet with ventilation)?

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2020, 11:06:13 AM »

* Potatoes: We get a lot of these, so we make an ENORMOUS stock pot of mashed potatoes and freeze those in smaller containers for instant dinner sides throughout the year.


It never occurred to me to pre-make mashed potatoes and then freeze.  I'm going to try that this year.  My problem with potatoes and onions are that - no matter where I store them they always rot or sprout.  I'm guessing this is partly due to the high humidity inside our home (it's humid outside, and we tend to leave our windows most of the time).  So at best I get 6 weeks for our tuber crop before it's no longer usable.

Anyone have tips for tuber storage besides (put them in a dark cabinet with ventilation)?

I am going to experiment with leaving some in the ground under a huge pile of straw.  Carrots and beets kept well until Christmas under a big round bale of hay - needed a tractor to lift the bale before digging was the only draw back.  (Tractor is difficult to start in the cold)

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2020, 10:56:15 AM »
I harvested all the garlic this morning.  I should have done it a couple of weeks ago.  Some of it was decomposing. 

I have the good bulbs curing in plastic trays with lots of holes balanced on the wheel barrow under a cardboard box in the garage.  I don't really have a place that meets all three criteria:  dry, dark and cool.  the best of the falling apart bulbs will be used as quickly as possible and I have learned my lesson.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #21 on: July 17, 2020, 11:08:03 AM »
I have lots of basil and this happens every year to me. It gets to the point where I need to cut them but never know what to do with it besides in a spaghetti dinner. I know people put the basil in oil and freeze it. Do you put the basil in a food processor and grind it up then pour oil over to cover?

What other ways have you preserved basil?


Frugal Lizard

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #22 on: July 17, 2020, 12:48:28 PM »
My fastest preservation method for basil is to cut it, wash it on the stems, spin it in the salad spinner and finally pop the whole stem and leaves in a ziplock bag and freeze.  No chopping - just washing. Now that I run out of space in the freezer, I dry it at much more effort.

I pull the frozen stock/leaves in the giant bag out of the freezer and grab a piece or two.  It shatters into proper sized basil flakes by pressing the frozen leaves between my hands. I toss the stem.

I still have frozen pesto so I am not going make more of that.

lthenderson

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #23 on: July 17, 2020, 12:57:24 PM »
I harvested all the garlic this morning.  I should have done it a couple of weeks ago.  Some of it was decomposing. 

I have the good bulbs curing in plastic trays with lots of holes balanced on the wheel barrow under a cardboard box in the garage.  I don't really have a place that meets all three criteria:  dry, dark and cool.  the best of the falling apart bulbs will be used as quickly as possible and I have learned my lesson.

Back when I used to grow garlic, I would just braid it and hang it up in my utility room where for the most part, it was cooler and drier. There was a window so it certainly wasn't dark. It would certainly last six to eight months that way and by then, I had generally gone through it all anyway.

Sun Hat

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #24 on: August 01, 2020, 06:17:27 AM »
Have any of you used a pressure cooker to can/jar foods that aren't acidic enough for water-bath canning? The idea of canned vegetables that aren't acidic seems appealing, but I wonder if it's worth the hassle. For any of you who have used a pressure canner, do you know if the texture of the vegetables is any better or different than if they were blanched and frozen?

So far, I've been freezing most of my bounty (kale, cabbage, beet root, beet greens), and drying a few things (peppers and basil), but I'll have to start canning soon. This week I plan to can a batch of mango chutney (with store-bought mango), freeze some mint and cilantro sauce, can a batch of salsa, and freeze more greens.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2020, 09:34:54 AM by Sun Hat »

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #25 on: August 01, 2020, 07:04:27 AM »
Love these posts about gardening! Thanks for sharing.
I save basil by making pesto. Itís pretty easy. Put basil leaves, a bit of olive oil, garlic cloves, toasted pine nuts or walnuts and grated Parmesan cheese into the food processor. If you have extra parsley, that can go in also. Pulse until blended. It should be chunky with just enough oil to coat it. Press into ice cube trays and freeze.
Other than with pasta, itís a great flavor boost to soup or stew recipes and is delicious on baked fish.


Frugal Lizard

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #26 on: August 01, 2020, 07:06:53 PM »
I started making nine day pickles today and bread and butter pickles.  And the best part for me:  I grew all the cucumbers this year.  And the scary part:  the plants are just getting started.  I also have about 20 pounds of larger cukes to donate to the church food bank.  WHAT WAS I THINKING?

lthenderson

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #27 on: August 01, 2020, 07:33:47 PM »
Have any of you used a pressure cooker to can/jar foods that aren't acidic enough for water-bath canning? The idea of canned vegetables that aren't acidic seems appealing, but I wonder if it's worth the hassle. For any of you who have used a pressure canner, do you know if the texture of the vegetables is any better or different than if they were blanched and frozen?

So far, I've been freezing most of my bounty (kale, cabbage, beet root, beet greens), and drying a few things (peppers and basil), but I'll have to start canning soon. This week I plan to can a batch of mango chutney (with store-bought mango), freeze some mint and cilantro sauce, can a batch of salsa, and freeze more greens.

I have done a lot of canning on foods that aren't acidic. We regularly do a variety of dried beans, green beans, corn, and squash.  Although I prefer frozen in most cases, we just simply don't have the room to preserve all of them in our freezer nor want the cost associated with freezing. I also like the speed of pressure canning versus water bath processing so even if the food can be done in a water bath, I usually do it in the pressure canner.  To some extent, you can play around with how you process the food before canning to get the desired texture. For example, with dried beans, most canning recipes call for soaking them anywhere from overnight to cooking them an hour in boiling water before processing them in the canner. I have found that putting the beans in dry, topping with water and canning gives me the best texture. Likewise with green beans and corn, I don't blanch them at all before canning. With squash, I bake it and process in blender before canning but I'm mostly using it as a pie filling so texture isn't really an issue. But I've heard of others cubing it raw and processing in a canner.

lthenderson

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #28 on: August 01, 2020, 07:37:30 PM »
I started making nine day pickles today and bread and butter pickles.  And the best part for me:  I grew all the cucumbers this year.  And the scary part:  the plants are just getting started.  I also have about 20 pounds of larger cukes to donate to the church food bank.  WHAT WAS I THINKING?

For pickles, I usually do about a three or four year supply and then don't raise them for a couple years. Same with a lot of veggies although I vary the amount I preserve depending on how reliably I can raise a good crop and how easy it is to preserve them.

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #29 on: August 02, 2020, 04:22:50 AM »
I have a pressure canner - itís lasted 40 years, so it was a pretty good Christmas present!

I do green beans occasionally and they taste just like any other canned green beans whic I personally like but not everyone does.

I mostly can tomatoes as then I donít have to worry about whether they are acidic enough, and it heats up the kitchen a lot less.

Iíve made a batch of raspberry jam and some pickles so far, but my tomatoes are on the verge of ripening and I feel like Iíll be darned busy. Iíve got 14 Roma plants.

I stuck green bean seeds in random empty spots and have maybe 8 plants which are remarkably productive.

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #30 on: August 02, 2020, 08:56:39 AM »
I started making nine day pickles today and bread and butter pickles.  And the best part for me:  I grew all the cucumbers this year.  And the scary part:  the plants are just getting started.  I also have about 20 pounds of larger cukes to donate to the church food bank.  WHAT WAS I THINKING?

For pickles, I usually do about a three or four year supply and then don't raise them for a couple years. Same with a lot of veggies although I vary the amount I preserve depending on how reliably I can raise a good crop and how easy it is to preserve them.
I hadn't considered that for the garden.  Thanks for the suggestion.   I do that for maple syrup.   I should for other crops.

Sun Hat

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #31 on: August 02, 2020, 09:05:01 AM »
Thanks for the feedback on the pressure canners. I think that I'll pick one up, since my freezer is already starting to fill up.

Yesterday I made two batches of chutney, a mango-peach chutney which I canned, and a mint-cilantro chutney which I froze in an ice-cube tray. Cleaning up afterwards was delicious!

Today I'll freeze some pesto cubes and kale. My tomatoes are starting to ripen, so I'll freeze the first few while I accumulate enough to make a batch of salsa.

lthenderson

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #32 on: August 03, 2020, 07:00:04 AM »
Has anyone here made tomato paste? I tried a couple years ago with excess tomato crop and while it wasn't as thick as store bought, it was quite good I thought. I had problems with scorching which is why I didn't get it as thick. I'm thinking about trying it again this year and reducing the tomatoes down on the stove and then putting it in a crockpot on low to reduce it the rest of the way. Wanted to see if anyone else out there has tried something that works well.

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Re: Preserving your garden bounty: Tips and Tricks
« Reply #33 on: August 05, 2020, 05:25:35 PM »
My dehydrator is small (3 trays) and not powerful (no thermostat, no fan).  I thought that before I bought a better one I should try cooking with what I have already dehydrated.  So tonight is stir-fry with dehydrated zucchini and dehydrated bell peppers strips.  I put them in boiling water while I cut up the onions and chicken and broccoli, so they had about 10 minutes of re-hydrating before the other ingredients were added.  They plumped up just fine.  I'm about to go eat dinner, so unless something went horribly wrong this is my complete report.   ;-)