July 2, 2012

How to Dehydrate Cherries

My Mom was so nice the other night to run into town and pick up 10# of Bing cherries for me.

We have had a really wet summer so far, and some of the cherry crops in the area are ruined.
I am really hoping I can find more!!
We LOVE them fresh, and if I have enough, I make jam.
Today, I decided to dehydrate them.
Oh, dried cherries are sooo good AND sooo expensive at the store!
Last time I checked, they were around $10 a pound.
Buying them at $1 a pound and dehydrating yourself works great.
I also watch for free deals, too.
Sometimes people have fruit trees in their back yards and are more than willing to let you pick all you want in exchange for a cherry pie:).
To dry cherries {according to the Ball Canning Book}:
Choose sweet or sour varieties.
Wash them thoroughly.
Using a cherry pitter, or your fingers, halve and take the pit out.
Place them in your dehydrator and set the temp at 165 degrees for 2-3 hours.

Then dry at 135 degrees until leathery and slightly sticky.
If you are worried about moisture content, just put a few of the dried cherries in a plastic lunch bag and seal.
If condensation occurs in the bag, then the fruit needs a little more time.
My cherries were dry in about 10 hours.

You can use dried sweet cherries as a snack or in place of raisins in baked goods.
Use sour varieties in baked goods.
Here is a link on how to dry cherries in your oven…if you don’t have a dehydrator.

Have a great day!


September 29, 2011

Freezing Diced Tomatoes and Tomato Sauce

I have been keeping up with my tomatoes this year and have sooo many!
The kids and I eat the Cherry Tomatoes fresh whenever we walk by…
And these Lemon Plums are sooo sweet!
I planted mostly Romas for canning, sauce, and salsa.
They are a dense, meaty variety and are versatile for many recipes.
We picked a whole fruit box the other day, and then I panicked because I knew I didn’t have the time to can them. Why do I do that?
Luckily, I ran into this post by Serena Thompson of The Farm Chicks.
What a simple and delicious way to preserve tomatoes….just wash, blend, and freeze!
She puts a little Olive oil and sautes garlic in a pan before adding the frozen tomatoes and using them in soups or other recipes.
 I can’t wait to try it!
So, to freeze tomatoes {either diced or pureed}:
Wash them really well.
Take off the stems.
Using a food processor or blender, either dice them or puree.
If you don’t want as much liquid, let tomatoes drain in a colander before freezing.
Pack into freezer bags, seal, and label.
I like to put about 2 cups per quart bag because this is a perfect amount for soups and other recipes.
This was a really fast way to preserve tomatoes and I am sure that the nutritional value is better because everything is so fresh and the skins are included.
I totally needed this…some days I feel overwhelmed with the amount of “To Do’s” on my list.
I think it only took me 30 minutes to process about  35 pounds of tomatoes.
Too fun!
Hope you have a GREAT day:).


Joining Amy at Homestead Revival for her Preparedness Challenge:)

September 23, 2011

Freezing Cabbage

I bet you never thought to freeze cabbage!
Cabbage is a great vegetable to include in your diet as it contains more anti-cancer compounds than any other food!
I like to use it in soups through the Winter, so freezing it comes in handy.
 My friend Beth gave me the biggest cabbage I had ever seen a couple of days ago.

I am so thankful to have so much of it in the freezer for later use.

To freeze:
Wash and discard outer leaves.
Cut into wedges or shred in thin cuts.
Blanch wedges for 3 minutes.
If you shred the cabbage, blanch for 1 1/2 minutes.

Cool and drain….I always lay the cabbage out on a clean dish towel on the counter.

When cabbage is fairly dry, pack into quart freezer bags, seal and freeze.

It is that easy!
Have a wonderful day!