Monday, November 2, 2009

Preserving by Drying

Hot red peppers from the Strathcona Farmers' Market drying in our kitchen Or, How to Make Things Uncomfortable for a Microbe.

A simple start: dehydration. All life needs water, so removing the moisture from food makes it inhospitable to microbes. Some items can simply be air-dried. One week in July Lisa bought a whole bag of hot peppers from Doef's, then strung them together with unflavoured dental floss and hung them in our kitchen. The skin has become paper thing and brittle, and when held to the light you can see the shadows of the seeds. It's a simple preserving method that requires almost no work and keeps us in pepper heat all winter long.

You could probably also naturally air-dry fruit, but partway through the summer a family of fruit flies moved into our house, so we had to give our drying method a little boost. We had a couple gallons of saskatoons and tried a batch in the oven and a batch in a food dehydrator that Lisa and Judy found at a garage sale (one of several fantastic finds this summer.) Both turned out great and make a tasty addition to our infinite supply of granola.

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